BMHJ Blog: Legal Information, Resources, & News: Business/Commercial Litigation

Survival of a Tort Claim which Seemingly Arises out of Breach of Contract

Heather K. Bardot, Esquire
March 11th, 2011
By: Heather K. Bardot, Esquire

On March 4, 2011, the Supreme Court of Virginia issued an opinion in Kaltman v. All American Pest Control, Inc., Record No. 092541, reversing the trial court’s sustaining of a demurrer. The demurrer had challenged the plaintiffs’ ability to file suit in tort against the defendant-pest control company and its employee on the basis that, since the defendants’ allegedly negligent conduct arose out of a contract to apply pesticide, the only available cause of action was breach of contract.

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Innocent Victim of Horseplay Rule Affirmed by Virginia Supreme Court

Dawn E. Boyce, Esquire
February 14th, 2011
By: Dawn E. Boyce, Esquire

In Simms v. Ruby Tuesday, Inc., 2011 Va. LEXIS 17 (2011), the Virginia Supreme Court addressed whether an innocent victim of horseplay was eligible for compensation under the Workers’ Compensation Act. Although it had long been held that injuries suffered by innocent bystanders as a result of horseplay at the workplace were compensable, this precedent was called into doubt by the court in Hilton v. Martin, 275 Va. 176, 654 S.E.2d 572 (2008). The issue in Simms was whether the actual risk test analysis articulated in Hilton had materially changed the juris prudence related to innocent victims of horseplay at work. In Hilton, the Commission found that injuries did not arise out of the employment where a co-worker turned on the power of a manual cardiac defibrillator, adjusted its energy to 150 joules, and touched the defibrillator paddles to an innocent victim. The denial of compensation sent a ripple through the workers’ compensation community and led the Commission and Court of Appeals to start denying horseplay claims.

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Construction Law and the Statute of Limitations

Steven W. Bancroft, Esquire
Nicholas J. Lawrence, Esquire
June 8th, 2010
By: Steven W. Bancroft, Esquire and Nicholas J. Lawrence, Esquire

Contract documents do not always create a written contract for purposes of the statute of limitations:

In a recent case for breach of contract and negligent destruction of property arising from a fire during a construction project, the Circuit Court for Fairfax County dismissed a $3 million claim because of the statute of limitations. Plaintiffs filed suit almost five years after the cause of action accrued, relying on about fifty pages of letters, written proposals, change orders, and invoices to establish the existence of a “written contract” and avoid the three year statute of limitations for an oral contract. Defendant argued that none of the proposals constituted a final agreement and, while not denying the existence of a contract, argued that the contract had been an oral agreement loosely based on the last written proposal.

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Photographs Can Prove a Case

January 27th, 2010
By: Amy A. Lombardo, Esquire

In a Fairfax General District Court case where the plaintiff was alleging injury as a result of being sideswiped in a grocery store parking lot while in a loading zone, Judge Cassidy found, based upon photographs presented at trial, that the plaintiff did not meet her burden of proof. The defendant had taken pictures of the position of the vehicles before they were moved and additional photographs of the accident scene were taken by defense counsel.

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Directed Verdict in D.C. Construction Litigation Case

January 23rd, 2010
By: Bancroft McGavin Horvath & Judkins

Judgment for the Defense in Construction Litigation

In a case between two subcontractors, D.C. Superior Court Judge Odessa Vincent granted judgment for the defense in a breach of contract case. The plaintiff, a waterproofing subcontractor, sued a concrete subcontractor to recover for payments made to its employee for injuries sustained as a result of an alleged breach in safety protocols.

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Disclaimer

This blog and the information provided has been prepared by Bancroft, McGavin, Horvath & Judkins, P.C. (“BMHJ”) for information purposes only and is not intended nor to be construed as legal advice. This blog may contain the opinions of the members and associates of this firm on various legal issues and is not legal advice. Read More