Griffith v. Wood
In Griffith v. Wood, 150 W.Va. 678, 149 S.E.2d 205 (1966), the plaintiff, Lakie Griffith, was riding with the defendant, Pauline Wood, in her husband's 1955 Ford pick-up when the door on the right side came open.
Griffith fell or was thrown from the vehicle. She sustained injuries and filed a lawsuit contending, inter alia, that the door of the truck was defective.
The circuit court directed a verdict in favor of the Woods and the Griffiths appealed.
The Court affirmed stating,
There is no showing that the door was in any wise defective. The statement that the truck was "kinda tricky" and that the door sometimes rattled on former occasions does not establish a defect in the door; and the evidence that the door came open on previous occasions, the times and conditions of which are not disclosed, without more, also does not show that the door was defective or that the defendants knew or had reason to believe that it was defective at the time of the injury. Id., 150 W.Va. at 684, 149 S.E.2d at 210.
The Griffith Court reasoned:
Negligence to be actionable must be the proximate cause of the injury complained of and must be such as might have been reasonably expected to produce an injury. . . . The driver of the truck in the case at bar had no reason to expect or foresee that, in making the turn at and upon the intersection, the door would come open while she was engaged in making such turn. Id., 150 W.Va. at 686, 149 S.E.2d at 211. The Court subsequently held in Syllabus Point 1 of Griffith that ordinarily the mere occurrence of an accident does not give rise to the presumption of negligence."