BMHJ Blog: Legal Information, Resources, & News

Virginia Supreme Court Struggles with Contributory Negligence as a Matter of Law and Illustrates the Importance of Some Support for a Jury’s Decision

Martin Schubert, Esquire
November 18th, 2014
By: Martin Schubert, Esquire

As is customary, the jury rendered a verdict in this wrongful death action arising out of a railroad crossing collision. A dump truck was struck by a train. The jury found for the estate of the driver and the trial court entered an order in conformance with that verdict. It is the subsequent history that becomes interesting. On June 5, 2014, the Virginia Supreme Court reversed, finding contributory negligence on the part of the decedent, as a matter of law. RGR, LLC v. Settle, 288 Va. 1, 758 S.E.2d 215 (2014) (RGR I). That opinion was subsequently withdrawn and a new opinion reversing that first opinion was entered on Oct. 31, 2014. RGR, LLC v. Settle, 2014 Va. LEXIS 161 (2014) (RGR II). Both majority opinions were written by the same justice and both opinions had dissents.

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If you Think Law of the Case Applies in a Case Filed after a Non-Suited Case, Think Again

Heather K. Bardot, Esquire
September 30th, 2014
By: Heather K. Bardot, Esquire

Many cases in Virginia are non-suited and refiled before they are ever tried. When a litigant receives an unfavorable discovery ruling in the initial case, the litigant generally accepts the ruling as “law of the case,” and does not attempt to re-litigate the issue in the subsequently filed case. Based on a recent case out of the Supreme Court of Virginia, this is likely a mistake. In the case of Temple v. Mary Washington Hospital, Inc., et al.¸Record No. 131754 (Sept. 12, 2014), the Virginia Supreme Court was tasked with deciding whether discovery rulings made by the trial court in a case which was non-suited and subsequently refiled were reviewable on appeal of the refiled case where the trial court entered an order stating that all discovery in the prior action “is hereby incorporated into the instant action”?

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Congratulations to John D. McGavin named Lawyer of the Year!

August 20th, 2014
By: Bancroft McGavin Horvath & Judkins

Congratulations to John D. McGavin, Esquire who has been selected by his peers for inclusion in the 21st Edition of The Best Lawyers in America in the practice areas of: Appellate Practice, Commercial Litigation, Medical Malpractice Law – Defendants, Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants and Product Liability Litigation – Defendants and who has been named the Best Lawyers’ 2014-15 Washington DC Product Liability Litigation – Defendants "Lawyer of the Year." Only a single lawyer in each practice area, in each community is being honored as a "Lawyer of the Year."

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A thorough pretrial investigation is usually worth the expense.

Nicholas J. Lawrence, Esquire
July 28th, 2014
By: Nicholas J. Lawrence, Esquire

In this day and age insurance companies, businesses, and claims professionals are all understandably looking for every way possible to minimize legal expenses. However, limiting the pretrial investigation is often a false economy. Two recent cases in northern Virginia illustrate the importance of thorough investigation and case preparation, even in “routine” or minor personal injury cases in general district court. The following summary is of two recent cases involving rear-end collisions with no liability defenses, and no dispute as to the authenticity or reasonableness of the medical bills claimed. The only issue was whether the plaintiffs were truly injured.

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Geloo v. John Doe – The First Amendment and Modern Technology

Steven W. Bancroft, Esquire
Nicholas J. Lawrence, Esquire
July 1st, 2014
By: Steven W. Bancroft, Esquire and Nicholas J. Lawrence, Esquire

The courts are continuing to sort out how best to apply traditional legal rules and remedies to modern technologies like internet message boards. This week saw a first amendment issue in the Circuit Court for Fairfax County in Geloo v. John Doe et al, 2013-9646, and a fourth amendment decision by the United States Supreme Court in the case of Riley v. California, 573 U.S. _____ (2014). Riley required the Supreme Court to determine the extent to which the fourth amendment’s warrant requirement, which was drafted over two hundred years before the invention of the modern smart phone and internet, will apply to such modern technologies. The Supreme Court’s decision treats the vast amount of information on a modern smart phone like the “papers” known to the drafters of the Constitution, and according to the opinion, the search of the data on a modern cellular phone or smart phone will generally require a search warrant, just as a search of a person’s desk would have required a search warrant in the time of the founding fathers.

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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