Rippetoe v. O'Dell

In Rippetoe v. O'Dell, 166 W.Va. 639, 276 S.E.2d 793 (1981), a dispute arose between property owners concerning the use of a road dividing the parties' respective parcels. Specifically, the appellants asserted that, by moving a gas line under the road to another section of the road, the appellees violated the appellants' right to use the road for ingress and egress to the appellants' property. The Court, in Rippetoe, held that, although the appellants could sue for damages brought about by the construction work attendant to the moving of the gas line, the appellants, who had no ownership interest in the road, lacked standing to assert that the appellees' right to maintain a gas line beneath the road had been exceeded. As stated in the Rippetoe opinion: "The record of this case does not disclose the present fee owner of the roadway, but it is only that fee owner who has standing to raise an objection to the alleged violation by the appellees of the terms of their easement. The disposition of this case is controlled by the absence of any legal right of the appellants to challenge the appellees' actions, and not by the nature of the appellees' rights ." (166 W.Va. at 642-43, 276 S.E.2d at 796-97.)