Supreme Court says Morgantown can’t deny large trucks downtown

By Kyla Asbury | Apr 11, 2016

CHARLESTON – The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals has ruled that Morgantown City Council cannot deny large trucks from the city’s downtown area.

The city tried to deny the large trucks from downtown and multiple trucking companies filed a lawsuit

The appeal involves an attempt by Morgantown to regulate, by municipal ordinance, the weight and size of certain vehicles using a portion of W.Va. 7 that passes through Morgantown, according to the April 7 opinion.

Justice Robin Jean Davis authored the majority opinion.

The instant proceeding was initiated in Kanawha Circuit Court to challenge Morgantown’s ordinance.

Morgantown appealed an order issued by the circuit court that granted the plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment on the issue of state preemption, which had been filed by the respondents.

“In addition to granting the Trucking Plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment, the circuit court contemporaneously denied Morgantown’s cross-motion for summary judgment,” the opinion states. “Because we find no error in the circuit court’s rulings, we affirm.”

Nuzum Trucking Co., Greer Industries and Preston Contractors Inc. filed the original suit after Morgantown City Council voted in a 5-2 to prohibit “heavy trucks” from traveling through downtown along W.Va. 7.

The attempted ban identified heavy trucks as those exceeding 26,000 pounds gross weight with three or more axles.

In the decision, Davis wrote that local authorities have the power to prohibit the operation of trucks or to impose limitations on the size or weight thereof only “with respect to highways under their jurisdiction.”

“As we noted above, the only authority granted to a municipality over connecting parts of the state road system is the regulation of traffic, and that authority does not include regulating the size or weight of vehicles traveling thereon,” the opinion states.

Morgantown was represented by Robert M. Bastress Jr.

The West Virginia Department of Transportation-Division of Highways was represented by Michael J. Folio, Jonathan T. Storage and Francis M. Curnutte III.

Nuzum and Preston were represented by Paul R. Cranston and James B. Shockley of Cranston & Edwards.

Greer Industries was represented by Frank E. Simmerman Jr., Chad L. Taylor and Frank E. Simmerman III of Simmerman Law Office.

W.Va. Supreme Court of Appeals case number: 15-0127

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Organizations in this Story

Cranston & Edwards, PLLC Morgantown, Wv Nuzum Trucking Company Preston Contractors, Inc. West Virginia Department of Transportation, Division of Highways West Virginia Division of Highways West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals

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