McKinney v. Fairchild Intern., Inc.

Decision Date14 May 1997
Docket NumberNo. 23467,23467
Citation199 W.Va. 718,487 S.E.2d 913
PartiesCharles McKINNEY and Sandra K. McKinney, Plaintiffs Below, Appellants, v. FAIRCHILD INTERNATIONAL, INC., Defendant Below, Appellee.
CourtWest Virginia Supreme Court

Syllabus by the Court

1. "Where the issue on an appeal from the circuit court is clearly a question of law or involving an interpretation of a statute, we apply a de novo standard of review." Syllabus Point 1, Chrystal R.M. v. Charlie A.L., 194 W.Va. 138, 459 S.E.2d 415 (1995).

2. " W.Va.Code, 55-2A-2 [1959] provides that '[t]he period of limitation applicable to a claim accruing outside of [West Virginia] shall be either that prescribed by the law of the place where the claim accrued or by the law of [West Virginia], whichever bars the claim.' " Syllabus Point 2, Hayes v. Roberts & Schaefer Co., 192 W.Va. 368, 452 S.E.2d 459 (1994).

3. " 'A statute should be so read and applied as to make it accord with the spirit, purposes and objects of the general system of law of which it is intended to form a part; it being presumed that the legislators who drafted and passed it were familiar with all existing law, applicable to the subject matter, whether constitutional, statutory or common, and intended the statute to harmonize completely with the same and aid in the effectuation of the general purpose and design thereof, if its terms are consistent therewith.' Syllabus Point 5, State v. Snyder, 64 W.Va. 659, 63 S.E. 385 (1908). Syl. Pt. 1, State ex rel. Simpkins v. Harvey, W.Va. , 305 S.E.2d 268 (1983). Syl. Pt. 3, Shell v. Bechtold, 175 W.Va. 792, 338 S.E.2d 393 (1985). Syl. pt. 1, State v. White, 188 W.Va. 534, 425 S.E.2d 210 (1992). Syl. pt. 7, State ex rel. Goff v. Merrifield, 191 W.Va. 473, 446 S.E.2d 695 (1994)." Syllabus Point 1, Hayes v. Roberts & Schaefer Co., 192 W.Va. 368, 452 S.E.2d 459 (1994).

4. W.Va.Code, 55-2A-2 [1959] does not require the application of any tolling provisions from the place where the claim accrued when a claim accruing outside West Virginia is filed in this State. The determination of which state's tolling provisions should be applied is to be resolved under conflicts of laws provisions.

5. Where a choice of law question arises about whether the tolling provisions of West Virginia, W.Va.Code, 55-2-18 [1985] or of the place where the claim accrued should be applied, the circuit court should ordinarily apply West Virginia law, unless the place where the claim accrued has a more significant relationship to the transaction and the parties.

6. "In general, this State adheres to the conflicts of law doctrine of lex loci delicti." " Syllabus Point 1, Paul v. National Life, 177 W.Va. 427, 352 S.E.2d 550 (1986).

Jeffery T. Jones, Kessler & Jones, Charleston, for Appellants.

Clem C. Trischler, Pietragallo, Bosick & Gordon, Pittsburgh, PA, for Appellee.

STARCHER, Justice:

The legal question presented in this appeal concerns whether the Kentucky or the West Virginia savings statute applies when a second action is filed in a West Virginia circuit court after the original action, which was timely filed in a federal court located in West Virginia, was dismissed. The Circuit Court of Raleigh County, by summary judgment, dismissed the complaint of Charles and Sandra K. McKinney against Fairchild International, Inc. ("Fairchild") based on its findings that the complaint was filed in the circuit court beyond Kentucky's one-year statute of limitation and that no provision of Kentucky law applied to toll or save the cause of action.

On appeal, the McKinneys argue that the circuit court should have applied West Virginia law to toll or save the cause of action. Although the shorter period of limitation is applicable in this State to the original filing of an action accruing outside this State, we find that West Virginia law should have been applied in this case to determine if a new claim filed in this State after the dismissal of the original claim was commenced within due time. We also find that the circuit court correctly determined that the Kentucky discovery rule was not applicable in these circumstances. Because we hold that the circuit court correctly applied the Kentucky discovery rule but erred in applying the Kentucky tolling provisions, we affirm, in part, and reverse, in part, the decision of the circuit court and remand this case for additional proceedings.

I. Facts and Background

The facts relating to the legal question before this Court are not in dispute. The complaint is based on the injury Mr. McKinney received on April 22, 1993 while he was working at a mining facility in Knott County, Kentucky. The machine that Mr. McKinney was using at the time of his accident was manufactured by Fairchild, a West Virginia corporation. On November 15, 1993, counsel for the McKinneys received an Abstract of Investigation--U.S. Department of Labor, Mine Safety & Health Administration stating, "[t]he accident and injuries were the results of an inadequate deenergization device." Mr. and Mrs. McKinney are residents of Boone County, West Virginia.

Seeking recovery for the injuries suffered in the accident, the McKinneys filed a civil action on April 15, 1994 against Fairchild in the United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia (the "federal court litigation"). The federal court litigation was dismissed by order entered on October 26, 1994 for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

On October 31, 1994, the McKinneys filed the present suit in the Circuit Court of Raleigh County, West Virginia. 1 On July 11, 1995, Fairchild filed a motion for summary judgment alleging that the claims raised by the McKinneys were barred by Kentucky's one-year statute of limitation, which was not tolled under Kentucky law. The McKinneys responded by maintaining that either the West Virginia savings statute, W.Va.Code, 55-2-18 [1985], or the Kentucky discovery rule should be applied to toll or extend the statute of limitation. After a hearing, the circuit court on September 15, 1995 granted Fairchild partial summary judgment dismissing the McKinneys' strict liability and negligence claims. By order entered on November 20, 1995, the circuit court finding that the Kentucky, not the West Virginia, savings statute applied and that the Kentucky discovery rule did not extend the statute of limitation, dismissed the McKinneys' suit.

Thereafter, the McKinneys appealed to this Court alleging: first, that the circuit court erred in not applying the West Virginia savings statute; and second, that the circuit court erred in failing to recognize that the statute of limitation was extended by the application of the Kentucky discovery rule.

II. Discussion
A. Standard of Review

Because this appeal of a summary judgment order presents purely legal questions, we apply a de novo review. Syllabus Point 1 of Chrystal R.M. v. Charlie A.L. 194 W.Va. 138, 459 S.E.2d 415 (1995) states:

Where the issue on an appeal from the circuit court is clearly a question of law or involving an interpretation of a statute, we apply a de novo standard of review.

This same standard applies to a summary judgment. "A circuit court's entry of summary judgment is reviewed de novo." Syllabus Point 1, Painter v. Peavy, 192 W.Va. 189, 451 S.E.2d 755 (1994). We note that Rule 56 of the West Virginia Rules of Civil Procedure is " 'designed to effect a prompt disposition of controversies on their merits without resort to a lengthy trial,' if there essentially 'is not real dispute as to salient facts' or if it only involves a question of law." Williams v. Precision Coil, Inc., 194 W.Va. 52, 58, 459 S.E.2d 329, 335 (1995), quoting, Painter, supra, 192 W.Va. at 192 n. 5, 451 S.E.2d at 758 n. 5, quoting, Oakes v. Monongahela Power Co., 158 W.Va. 18, 22, 207 S.E.2d 191, 194 (1974).

Guided by these principles, we examine the circuit court's grant of summary judgment.

B. Extension of Statute of Limitation

On appeal, the McKinneys maintain that although W.Va.Code, 55-2A-2 [1959] requires the application of the shorter period of limitation to a claim that accrued outside this State when that claim is originally filed in this State, the courts of this State are not required to apply another state's extension or tolling statute to determine timeliness for a second suit asserting the same cause of action after dismissal of the original timely filed action.

W.Va.Code, 55-2A-2 [1959] borrows the shorter period of limitation for a claim accruing outside this State by stating:

The period of limitation applicable to a claim accruing outside of this State shall be either that prescribed by the law of the place where the claim accrued or by the law of this State, whichever bars the claim.

When a claim accruing outside West Virginia is originally filed in West Virginia, W.Va.Code, 55-2A-2 [1959] requires that the shorter period of limitation, either from West Virginia or from the place where the claim accrued, governs such action. Syllabus Point 2 of Hayes v. Roberts & Schaefer Co., 192 W.Va. 368, 452 S.E.2d 459 (1994) ( W.Va.Code, 55-2A-2 [1959] requires the application of Kentucky's one-year statute of limitation to a claim accruing in Kentucky, rather than West Virginia's two-year statute of limitation) states:

W.Va.Code, 55-2A-2 [1959] provides that "[t]he period of limitation applicable to a claim accruing outside of [West Virginia] shall be either that prescribed by the law of the place where the claim accrued or by the law of [West Virginia], whichever bars the claim."

See Nellas v. Loucas, 156 W.Va. 77, 191 S.E.2d 160 (1972).

The parties agree that Kentucky, where the claim accrued in this case, has a one-year statute of limitation and that West Virginia has a two-year statute of limitation for personal injury claims. 2 The parties also agree that under W.Va.Code, 55-2A-2 [1959], the Kentucky or the shorter statute of limitation applies to the original filing...

To continue reading

Request your trial
65 cases
  • Mace v. Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc.
    • United States
    • West Virginia Supreme Court
    • July 22, 2011
    ...findings. It added that [t]he decisions in Bradshaw v. Soulsby, 210 W.Va. 682, 558 S.E.2d 681 (2001) and/or McKinney v. Fairchild, 199 W.Va. 718, 487 S.E.2d 913 (1997) do not require application of West Virginia's statute of limitations discovery rule to a wrongful death case governed by No......
  • State ex rel. Am. Elec. Power Co. v. Swope
    • United States
    • West Virginia Supreme Court
    • June 14, 2017
    ..."the substantive rights between the parties are determined by the law of the place of injury." McKinney v. Fairchild Intern., Inc., 199 W.Va. 718, 727, 487 S.E.2d 913, 922 (1997) (citing Blais v. Allied Exterminating Co., 198 W.Va. 674, 482 S.E.2d 659 (1996) ; Paul v. National Life, 177 W.V......
  • Willey v. Bracken
    • United States
    • West Virginia Supreme Court
    • October 14, 2010
    ...general adoption, and was officially withdrawn in 1978” in part because of “its abrupt harshness.” McKinney v. Fairchild Int'l, Inc., 199 W.Va. 718, 724–25, 487 S.E.2d 913, 919–20 (1997). Although the model act upon which our borrowing statute was based has been withdrawn, no amendments to ......
  • Cal. State Teachers' Ret. Sys. v. Blankenship
    • United States
    • West Virginia Supreme Court
    • May 25, 2018
    ...part, State ex rel. Airsquid Ventures, Inc. v. Hummel , 236 W.Va. 142, 778 S.E.2d 591 (2015) ; accord McKinney v. Fairchild Int'l, Inc. , 199 W.Va. 718, 727, 487 S.E.2d 913, 922 (1997) [quoting the Restatement (Second) of Conflict of Laws § 122 (1971) ("A court usually applies its own local......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT