Williams v. West Virginia Dep't of Motor Vehicles

In Williams v. West Virginia Dep't of Motor Vehicles, 187 W. Va. 406, 419 S.E.2d 474 (1992) (per curiam), the Court was called upon to determine the reach of W. Va. Code 17D-2A-7(a), which provides, in part, as follows: "Any owner of a motor vehicle . . . who fails to have the required security in effect at the time such vehicle is being operated upon the roads or highways of this State, shall have his operator's or chauffeur's license suspended by the commissioner . . . ." The question was whether suspensions could be imposed upon more than one co-owner of an automobile. This Court answered that question in the negative, finding that in the context of W. Va. Code, 17D-2A-7(a), "any" must mean "one" or "either." It is clear from the authorities cited herein that "any" may be used in either a singular or plural form. In this instance, the legislature used "any" in a singular context. All references to when the statute is applicable are in the singular. Furthermore, the legislature could easily have chosen the word "all," which much more clearly stresses a plural form than "any," when wording a statute. (187 W. Va. at 409-10, 419 S.E.2d at 477-78.)