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In vehicle accident cases, Virginia permits proof of vehicle property damages by affidavit. That is an exception to the general hearsay rule against affidavits. “[E]vidence to [recover motor vehicle] damages may be presented by an itemized estimate or appraisal sworn to by a person who also makes oath...

On April 18, 2008, the Virginia Supreme Court addressed the admissibility of “reliable authority” under Va. Code Ann. §8.01-401.1. The medical malpractice case is Bostic v. About Women OB/GYN, P.C., 275 Va. 567 (2008). In Bostic, defense counsel read article quotes and questioned his client about the same while on the...

On June 6, 2008, the Virginia Supreme Court upheld a medical malpractice verdict for roughly $100,000.00 unsupported by a medical expert. The case is Webb v. Smith, 276 Va. 305 (2008). The Virginia Supreme Court in Webb reiterated that “in medical malpractice cases, ‘expert testimony is ordinarily necessary to establish the appropriate standard...

On October 31, 2008, the Virginia Supreme Court decided issues of physician-patient relationship and damages proximate causation. The “wrongful birth” medical malpractice case is Fruiterman v. Granata, 276 Va. 629 (2008). In Fruiterman, the plaintiff mother claimed medical malpractice for her Ob/Gyn failing to inform her about first trimester testing for genetic...

On January 16, 2009, the Virginia Supreme Court handed down an opinion on qualification of out-of-state experts pursuant to Va. Code Ann. §8.01-581.20. The medical malpractice case of wrongful death is Jackson v. Qureshi, 277 Va. 114 (2009). Jackson addressed the statutory presumption, “knowledge” requirement, and “active clinical practice” requirement for medical...

House Bill 1799 passed the Virginia General Assembly in 2009. Effective July 1, 2009, it amends Va. Code Ann. §2.2-3705.3. The amendment adds the Virginia Fraud and Abuse Whistle Blower Protection Act. A “whistle blower” is a state employee who reports or testifies about fraud or abuse. The act prohibits employers...

Senate Bill 843 failed to pass the 2009 Virginia General Assembly. It was defeated by the wealthy powerful healthcare industry, including the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association (“VHHA”), which represents the one hundred leading hospitals and other healthcare institutions in Virginia. Va. Code Ann. §8.01-581.15, the so-called...

Today the University of Virginia (“UVA”) School of Law in Charlottesville, Virginia, conducts First-Year Oral Arguments in its traditional Moot Court Competition. Avery T. “Sandy” Waterman, Jr., Esq. has been invited and is participating as a Judge. Competition ever is stiff and winning always an honor. Senator Edward...

House Bill 2035 passed the 2009 Virginia General Assembly. Effective July 1, 2009, it amends Va. Code Ann. §8.01-419. That statute routinely is introduced unto evidence in cases of vehicle accidents, nursing home abuse, other medical malpractice, product liability, premises liability and other cases involving wrongful death, brain injury...

Senate Bill 1275 passed the 2009 Virginia General Assembly. Effective July 1, 2009, it amends Va. Code Ann. §8.01-399. That statute codifies the so-called “physician-patient” privilege. That privilege renders confidential from disclosure communications between patients and physicians in the course of treatment for brain injuries and other personal injuries. Before the...

On March 24, 2009, Gloucester Circuit Court denied an Amended Motion to Dismiss, which asserted that an Amended Complaint seeking installment and other payments was time-barred upon the statues of limitation for breach of contract and fraud. The case is Altizer v. Altizer, No. CL08-584. The Gloucester Circuit...

In Virginia, the statute of limitation for a fraud is two years from the time when a reasonable person should have discovered it. But when exactly the statute begins to run depends on whether there were multiple occurrences. “A cause of action for breach of a contract or...

In Virginia, the statute of limitation for a breach of written contract is five years and of oral contract is three years. But when exactly the statute starts to run depends on whether there are multiple breaches. Over half a century ago, the Supreme Court of...

Senate Bill 39 passed the Virginia General Assembly in 2009. Effective July 1, 2009, it amends Va. Code Ann. §46.2-373. The new amendment increases the threshold at which motor vehicle accidents are subject to written reports by the police. The vehicle damage threshold moves from $1,000.00 to $1,500.00 to be...

Pre-trial mediation has enjoyed such success and popularity that increasingly Virginia circuit courts are requiring litigants to submit to it shortly before trial. In Newport News, Hampton, York County and other venues in Hampton Roads, parties must mediate vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, and many other cases. The...

Mediation is a dispute resolution process as an alternative to trial. It is similar to arbitration, but significantly is voluntary and non-binding. Over the past decade in Virginia, mediation has gained in popularity. Competing private companies comprised principally by many retired judges and secondarily by some...

In 1986, Virginia codified the Uniform Arbitration Act. Va. Code Ann. §8.01-581.01, et seq. The 16-section Act presumptively governs arbitration agreements in Virginia absent clear contractual provisions to the contrary. Arbitration is a binding dispute resolution procedure whereby a “judge” agreed upon by the parties decides a...

Lawsuits for wrongful death, brain injury, and other personal injuries contain an ad damnum, i.e., the dollar amount of damages sought by the plaintiff victim. Unlike some other states, Virginia allows a plaintiff’s lawyer to mention the ad damnum to jurors during trial. By statute, a plaintiff’s lawyer in state...

Virginia Supreme Court Rules 4:8 and 4:9 specify time deadlines – usually 21 but sometimes 28 days – for a party to object or to answer and produce. Thus, a failure to object on time maybe deemed a waiver of the objection, particularly in medical malpractice cases where counsel...