Monday, February 11, 2013

State ex rel. Sivnksty v. Duffield case brief

State ex rel. Sivnksty v. Duffield case brief summary
137 W. Va. 112

SYNOPSIS: Petitioner driver sought a writ of prohibition against respondents, circuit court and victim, to prevent further proceedings in an action of trespass on the case, which was instituted in the circuit court by the victim, through his next friend, against the driver for damages for the victim's personal injuries, which were allegedly caused by the driver's reckless operation of his vehicle.

-The driver was visiting the county for the weekend.
-While he was driving his vehicle, he struck the infant and another child as they were crossing the street.
-He was immediately arrested and charged with reckless driving.
-He was convicted and sentenced.
-While he was incarcerated in the county jail, the infant served the driver with civil process. The driver then sought a writ of prohibition, alleging that he was immune from civil process because he was incarcerated in the county involuntarily.

-The court observed that the general rule was that nonresidents of a county charged with a crime therein were not subject to civil process.
 -The court determined, however, that incarceration in itself did not make a person immune from the service of process.

A person confined in jail on a criminal charge or imprisoned on conviction for such charge is subject to service of civil process, irrespective of the question of residence, at least if he was voluntarily in the jurisdiction at the time of the arrest and confinement

The court concluded that because the driver entered the county voluntarily at the time of his arrest and confinement, he was subject to service of process irrespective of the question of his residence. Thus, the court ruled, the driver was not entitled to a writ of prohibition.

OUTCOME: The court denied the driver's request for a writ of prohibition.

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