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Consolidation Cases Summarized By Accident Lawyer

This page within Virginia Tort Case Law is a compilation of cases reported by the Virginia Supreme Court and summarized by Brien Roche dealing with the topic of Consolidation and the related topic of personal injury.

Consolidation-Statutes

Va. Code § 8.01-267.1 for the Multiple Claimant Litigation Act which provides for consolidation in certain instances.
See Va. Code § 8.01-374.1, which grants circuit courts authority to consolidate asbestos cases if forty or more pending and to separate or bifurcate trial of certain claims if convenient and economical, provided the issues of liability and damages are decided by single trier of fact.

Consolidation-Cases

2009 Centra Health, Inc. v. Mullins, 277 Va. 59, 670 S.E.2d 708.
In this medical malpractice action, trial court properly refused to require administrators of estate to elect between wrongful death and survival claim. Election between these remedies is required only at a time when the record sufficiently established that the personal injuries and the death arose from the same cause. In this case, both claims were submitted to the jury. Where there is any doubt as to when compelling an election would be proper, bifurcation is the most practical means to assure that each party receives a fair opportunity to present their case to the jury without prejudice to the other.

2004 Stottlemyer v. Ghramm, 268 Va. 7, 597 S.E.2d 191.
In this medical malpractice action, plaintiff sued surgeon and hospital where he performed surgery. Claim against hospital was based upon improper supervision and improper credentialing of the surgeon. The trial court bifurcated the two cases. On appeal, the supreme court says that in light of its evidentiary holdings in this case, it concludes that the circuit court did not abuse its discretion when it bifurcated the trial.

2003 Allstate Ins. Co. v. Wade, 265 Va. 383, 579 S.E.2d 180.
In this personal injury action, plaintiff sought to bifurcate compensatory damage claims from punitive damage claims on theory that evidence relating to punitive damages would improperly influence jury in regards to compensatory award. Considerations of bifurcation are much the same as consolidation and court must consider whether or not there is prejudice to rights of any party, any resulting unnecessary delay, expense, or use of judicial resources. Such decisions are in the sound discretion of the trial court. No abuse or discretion in this instance. Plaintiff objected during course of trial that court should have given jury clear and explicit instruction regarding which portion of plaintiff’s testimony was to be considered regarding punitive damages only. Such instruction was not necessary and that is not justification for bifurcation.

2002 In re Hopeman Bros., 264 Va. 424, 569 S.E.2d 409.
In this asbestos litigation involving 1,300 plaintiffs and 25 defendants, the trial court consolidated some cases. Both plaintiffs and defendants objected to the method of consolidation by the trial court. Efforts by counsel to have the trial court make findings of commonality of claims and other matters relating to statutory and due process rights were rejected by trial court. Supreme court rejects petition for writ of mandamus on grounds that the right which was sought to be protected was not clearly established and mandamus is never granted in doubtful cases.

1970 Baker v. John Doe, 211 Va. 158, 176 S.E.2d 436.
Until actions have been prosecuted to unsuccessful conclusion, appeal from action of trial court in refusing to consolidate two actions is premature.

1957 Clark v. Kimnach, 198 Va. 737, 96 S.E.2d 780.<
If court is in doubt about advisability of consolidation then it should not be ordered. Trial court has power to order consolidation where actions are of same nature, arise from same act or transaction, involve same or like issues, depend substantially on same evidence and where such trial would not prejudice substantial rights of any party.

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Consolidation Cases Summarized By Accident Lawyer

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