Huber v. Huber

In Huber v. Huber, 200 W.Va. 446, 490 S.E.2d 48 (1997), the Court again recognized the legislative preference for classification as marital property and noted limited exceptions as follows: In spite of the legislative preference for classifying property as marital, this Court has found some exceptions to the preference. One such exception is personal injury awards. This Court articulated in syllabus point 1 of Hardy v. Hardy, 186 W.Va. 496, 413 S.E.2d 151 (1991) that, "to the extent that its purpose is to compensate an individual for pain, suffering, disability, disfigurement, or other debilitation of the mind or body, a personal injury award constitutes the separate nonmarital property of an injured spouse. However, we also held that economic losses, such as past wages and medical expenses, which diminish the marital estate are distributable as marital property when recovered in a personal injury award or settlement." Id., 186 W.Va. at 501, 413 S.E.2d at 156. Additionally we stated in syllabus point 4 of Hardy that "a loss of consortium claim is the separate nonmarital property of the uninjured spouse." (200 W.Va. at 451, 490 S.E.2d at 53.)