Virginia Supreme Court Expands Scope of UM/UIM Coverage

By: Chris Jones.

In an opinion issued on September 17, 2015, Est. of Slone v. Selective Ins. Co. of America, et al., the Virginia Supreme Court effectively expanded the scope of UM/UIM coverage in Virginia. Slone was filed as a declaratory judgment action that stemmed from a wrongful death case. The Roanoke County Circuit Court held that two […]


Virginia Supreme Court Decides Punitive Damages Case

By: Terrence L. Graves.

In the recent case of Cain v. Lee, the Virginia Supreme Court determined that the Circuit Court for the County of Stafford erred when it granted a jury instruction that provided that “punitive damages are generally not favored and should be awarded only in cases involving egregious conduct.”  The instruction that was offered by the […]


Changes to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Effective December 1, 2015

By: Chris Jones.

Numerous amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure will come into effect on December 1, 2015. The amendments are to Rules 1, 4, 16, 26, 30, 31, 33, 34, 37, 55 and 84. These amendments will have a variety of effects on the preparation of cases and the handling of potential claims. The following is a summary of the more […]


Changes to Virginia UM/UIM Law

By: Chris Jones.

Virginia has made changes to its underinsured motorist law that will take effect on July 1, 2015. The changes come with the addition of Va. Code § 8.01-66.1:1, and with amendments to Va. Code § 38.2-2206. The major impact of these changes is that they shift the burden of defending a suit to the underinsured motorist […]


Driverless Cars Have Come to Virginia: Considerations for Automated Vehicles

By: Chris Jones.

How does the law apportion responsibility when someone is injured by an automated machine?  In the past, this question has come before courts only rarely, and in the context of accidents involving elevators or airplane autopilots.  In the near future, however, as automated road vehicles enter the marketplace, this issue will become increasingly prevalent in […]


Early Termination of Annuities Not Permitted

By: Chip Delano.

Since investing can be a risky business with investments dropping in value from time to time, investors seeking steady income with minimal risk are sometimes attracted to an annuity’s guaranteed-income feature.  A recent case from the Western District of Virginia, however, illustrates why an investor should first research whether an annuity is the right choice […]


And the Defense Wins

By: Chip Delano.

In Banner Life Insurance Co. v. Jacqueline L. Noel, 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 1539 (4th Cir. 2013), aff’g 861 F. Supp. 2d 701 (E.D. Va. 2012), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit recently affirmed the district court’s granting of Banner’s motion for summary judgment limiting its obligations to return of the premium […]


SCOVA Refuses to Incorporate Prior Discovery Rulings from Previous Non-suited Action

By: Terrence L. Graves.

In Temple v. Mary Washington Hospital, Inc., et al., Record No. 131754 (Sept. 12, 2014), the Supreme Court of Virginia opined on an obscure, yet significant, issue related to the common practice of incorporating discovery by court order in subsequent actions where the plaintiff nonsuited its original action. Jo Ann Knighten Temple, as Administrator of […]


Harman v. Honeywell International

By: Doug Winegardner.

The Supreme Court of Virginia’s recent opinion in Harman v. Honeywell International, Inc., Case No. 130627 (June 5, 2014) contains a wealth of analysis on a number of evidentiary rules that every trial lawyer will likely encounter in his or her career.  This legal alert summarizes each of the Court’s rulings on those issues and […]


Virginia’s Privity of Contract Defense Continues to Protect Defendants in Economic Loss Cases

By: Will Watkins.

I am often told by clients that they are protected from a lawsuit because they have a corporation.  The advice I usually give them is that while the corporate shield is strong it does not protect them if they are negligent and cause injury or damage, even if it is during working hours.  While that […]