Noone v. Price, 298 S.E.2d 218 (W. Va. 1982)

Case Name: Noone v. Price
Plaintiffs/Appellants: Mr. and Mrs. William H. Noone
Defendant/Appellee: Mrs. Marion T. Price
Citation: 298 S.E.2d 218 (W. Va. 1982)

Key Facts:
Part of the Noones’ house was subsiding. The Noones believed this was caused by Price’s negligence in maintaining her retaining wall. Price’s home was located directly below the Noones at the foot of the hill. Price’s home was built in 1912 and the stone wall was built sometime between 1912 and 1919 while the Noones’ home was built after that in 1928. Price purchased her home in 1955 and the Noones purchased their home in 1960.

Price denied that the wall on her property provided support to the slope or that the condition of her wall caused the slipping and damage to the Noones’ property.

Issue: Whether the defendant is strictly liable or negligent when the plaintiffs’ home subsided because the defendant did not maintain a retaining wall on her property which was built before the plaintiffs’ home.

Procedural History: The circuit court awarded summary judgment to the defendant.

General Rule: A landowner is entitled to lateral support in the adjacent land for his soil.

Rule: A landowner may be negligent in failing to provide against the risk of harm to his neighbor’s structures even if he does not realize that any harm will occur.

Holding: Because the retaining wall was built before the plaintiffs’ home; it is only responsible for supporting the land in its natural condition.

Judgment: If the plaintiffs can recover, they must do so by proving that the disrepair of the retaining wall would have led to the subsidence of their land in its natural condition.

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