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Immoral Or Unlawful Act Cases Summarized By Personal Injury Attorney

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 Immoral or Unlawful Act and the related topic of personal injury. For more information about immoral acts see the pages on Wikipedia.

Immoral or Unlawful Act-Cases

2005 Martin v. Ziherl, 269 Va. 35, 607 S.E.2d 367.

Plaintiff alleged that she obtained herpes as a result of sexual activity with defendant. The sexual activity was between consenting adults. Plaintiff sued on theory of negligence and battery. Virginia statute forbidding fornication is declared unconstitutional but supreme court reaffirms adherence to rule that immoral or unlawful act may bar recovery. In this case, since the statute is declared unconstitutional, the act is not illegal or immoral.

2001 Molchon v. Tyler, 262 Va. 175, 546 S.E.2d 691.

Immoral or unlawful act.Medical malpractice action against a psychiatrist. Patient may not recover for injury received as result of another’s negligence if plaintiff was voluntarily involved in illegal act at the time the injury occurred. In this instance, even if psychiatric patient’s voluntary intoxication was not defense to his illegal act of suicide, defense of illegality did not bar recovery in wrongful death action against psychiatrist since there was considerable evidence supporting conclusion that for reasons unrelated to his intoxication, patient was of unsound mind at the time of his suicide, including psychiatrist’s own diagnosis of patient. Defense of illegality will not bar recovery in negligence act if the illegal act in question is the victim’s suicide and suicide was result of the victim being of unsound mind at the time of his death. Evidence in this case showed that psychiatrist was acutely aware of patient’s suicidal tendencies and the likelihood that he would suffer a relapse if he was not properly supervised upon his discharge.

1999 Johnson v. Campbell, 258 Va. 453, 521 S.E.2d 764.

When illegality defense is asserted, consent or participation in the immoral or unlawful act by plaintiff precludes recovery for injuries sustained as result of that act. In this case, it was alleged that adults contributed to delinquency of minors by allowing or making alcohol accessible to them. Factual questions presented as to whether or not that conduct was the cause of injury and therefore, it was error for trial court to decide issue as a matter of law.

1998 Lee v. Nationwide Mut. Ins. Co., 255 Va. 279, 497 S.E.2d 328

Three young people were riding in stolen car late at night when they were involved in motor vehicle accident. Trial court correctly determined that defense of illegality barred claim for damages by thirteen-year-old boy. Issue of consent by thirteen-year-old to illegal act was not submitted to jury. This defense will be applied to bar recovery if evidence shows that plaintiff freely and voluntarily consented to participation in illegal act without duress or coercion. In this case the record shows that Lee freely and voluntarily consented to illegal act.

1995 Godbolt v. Brawley, 250 Va. 467, 463 S.E.2d 657.

Plaintiff was ejected from nightclub and thereafter became involved in brawl with off-duty sheriff working as security guard. Deputy sheriff discharged firearm striking plaintiff. Plaintiff brought this personal injury action. Plaintiff had been convicted of assault on deputy. Issue was whether that conviction was admissible in this civil proceeding. Where plaintiff is willing participant in intentional criminal act that causes injury, then claim may be barred. In this instance, plaintiff’s intentional criminal act was not direct cause of his injury and therefore prior conviction should not have been admissible.

1994 Trotter v. Okawa, 248 Va. 212, 445 S.E.2d 121.

Plaintiff was being treated by Arlington County Mental Health Center where he alleged he received individual psychotherapy from Okawa who initiated and induced him to have sexual relations. Plaintiff alleged fraud and duress on the part of Okawa. This was sufficient to preclude dismissal as a matter of law due to immoral or unlawful act.

1992 Wackwitz v. Roy, 244 Va. 60, 418 S.E.2d 861.

Immoral or unlawful act.Plaintiff’s decedent committed suicide. This is not bar to medical malpractice claim since decedent not competent and therefore not guilty of common law crime of suicide.

1990 Zysk v. Zysk, 239 Va. 32, 387 S.E.2d 466.

Immoral or unlawful act.Negligence claim. Plaintiff became infected with herpes from defendant to whom she was not married during sexual intercourse. The sexual act violated Va. Code § 18-2-344. Claim barred. This is not an assumption-of-the-risk defense.

1981 Peterson v. Neme, 222 Va. 477, 281 S.E.2d 869.

Nonimmigrant alien, excluded by federal law from job market in United States, can recover wage losses as element of damages ex delicto, even though she is working illegally.

1949 Miller v. Bennett, 190 Va. 162, 56 S.E.2d 217.

Consent or participation in an immoral or unlawful act by plaintiff precludes recovery for injuries sustained as result of that act.

1947 Rudlin v. Parker, 186 Va. 647, 43 S.E.2d 918.

To sustain defense of fraud or other unlawful act more evidence is required to create preponderance than in ordinary civil case.

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Immoral Or Unlawful Act Cases Summarized By Personal Injury Attorney

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