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Settlement Cases Summarized By Personal Injury Attorney

Fairfax Injury Lawyer Brien Roche Addresses Settlement Cases

Brien Roche

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 Settlement.

Settlement-Statutes

See Va. Code § 8.01-424 as to approval of certain compromises.

See Va. Code § 8.01-424 providing that in suits or actions in which person under disability is party, any settlement agreement providing for future payments is to be approved by court only if all payments due are either secured by authorized insurance company bond or are to be paid by insurance company authorized to do business in this state and which is rated as A+ by Best Insurance Reports.

See Va. Code § 8.01-425.1, which states that claimant who executes release of liability as condition of settlement in claim for personal injury within 30 days of incident giving rise to such claim, such claimant shall have right of rescission until midnight of third day after the release was executed, provided he was not represented by counsel when release was signed, rescission was made in writing to person or persons being released, their representative or insurance carrier and claimant returns to person being released any check or settlement proceeds received by claimant.

See Va. Code § 8.01-606 as to infant settlements.

Settlement-Cases

2012 Murayama 1997 Trust v. NISC Holdings, 284 Va. 234, 727 S.E.2d 80.
Court properly sustained demurrer to complaint filed by trust seeking damages relating to a prior settlement agreement entered into relating to previous litigation between parties. Based upon the allegations of the settlement agreement and the nature of the adversarial relationship between the parties, as a matter of law, the trust did not reasonably rely upon any alleged fraudulent omissions or misrepresentations by the defendant.

2007 Phillips v. Mazyck, 273 Va. 630, 643 S.E.2d 172.
Trial court granted plea in bar as to agreed arbitration of plaintiff’s personal injury claim. In fact, there was a dispute as to whether or not the parties had actually agreed to the proposed arbitration agreement and therefore case is remanded for trial on the merits.

2007 Sullivan v. Robertson Drug Co., 273 Va. 84, 639 S.E.2d 250.
Physician settled medical malpractice claim and then sought contribution from pharmacist and pharmacist’s employer. The trial court erred in giving jury instructions suggesting that the pharmacist could not be found liable for the entire injury caused by the medications he had dispensed. This permitted the jury to apportion damages based on relative degrees of negligence. If separate and independent acts of negligence of two parties directly cause a single injury, then either or both wrongdoers are responsible for the whole injury. In this case, the cumulative effect of the doses of prescription medication given to the patient caused an indivisible injury. As such, if the pharmacist’s action breached the standard of care, he was liable for the whole injury to the patient.

2006 Shutler v. Augusta Health Care for Women, P.L.C., 272 Va. 87, 630 S.E.2d 313.
In this medical malpractice action against a physician and his employer based on vicarious liability, the trial court committed error in granting the employer’s motion for summary judgment based on the prior dismissal of claims against the physician with prejudice where the plain language of that dismissal order permitted plaintiff’s vicarious liability claims to proceed against the employer.

1997 Smith v. Settle, 254 Va. 348, 492 S.E.2d 427.
Plaintiff and defendant entered into high-low agreement indicating the plaintiff would receive $350,000.00 if jury verdict was in favor of defendant. Verdict was in favor of defendant and carrier tendered $350,000.00 to plaintiff’s attorney which was rejected on grounds that jury had not been properly instructed. That was not condition of high-low agreement and therefore plaintiff improperly rejected tender and therefore defendant was allowed to withdraw it.

1995 Lyle, Siegel, Croshaw & Beale, P.C. v. Tidewater Capital Corp., 249 Va. 426, 457 S.E.2d 28.
During course of settlement discussions, plaintiff alleged that defendant admitted liability. Admission during settlement negotiations of independent fact pertinent to question in issue is admissible. Likewise, express admission of liability made during settlement discussions is admissible. In this case there was no such admission and therefore evidence of such should not have been presented to jury.

1995 Snyder-Falkinham v. Stockburger, 249 Va. 376, 457 S.E.2d 36.
In this legal malpractice action, question arose of attorney’s authority to settle case. Attorney’s general authority permits attorney to discontinue pending action by dismissal without prejudice. Attorney has no right to dismiss with prejudice without special authority or acquiescence of client. Ample evidence presented in this instance that attorney had that authority and acquiescence. Even though parties contemplated settlement agreement being reduced to writing, that is not a bar to enforceability where parties are fully agreed upon the terms of settlement.

1988 Gunn v. Richmond Community Hosp., 235 Va. 282, 367 S.E.2d 480.
Medical malpractice action brought on behalf of disabled person. Defendant petitioned court to compel plaintiff to accept compromise offer. Plaintiff refused. Trial court lacks authority to compel settlement.

1985 Agelasto v. Atkinson Real Estate, 229 Va. 59, 327 S.E.2d 84.
Evidence of compromise and settlement is normally inadmissible except where party makes express admission of liability.

1981 Allen v. Aetna Cas. & Sur. Co., 222 Va. 361, 281 S.E.2d 818.
Insurer’s alleged agreement to settle dental malpractice claim was held too vague and indefinite to be enforced. Agreement to make settlement, without more, is simply agreement to negotiate.

1980 Montagna v. Holiday Inn, 221 Va. 336, 269 S.E.2d 838.
Parents wished to recover burial expenses of their son who was killed by intruder in defendant’s motel. Defendant’s insurance company offered $2,500 in settlement of claim. There was no meeting of minds. No settlement.

1976 Midwest Mut. Ins. Co. v. Aetna Cas., 216 Va. 926, 223 S.E.2d 901.
Public policy favors expeditious settlement of claims.

1974 Bangor-Punta v. Atlantic Leasing, 215 Va. 180, 207 S.E.2d 858.
Evidence fails to show accord, meeting of minds between attorneys attempting compromise, and element of completeness.

1969 Piedmont Trust Bank v. The Aetna, 210 Va. 396, 171 S.E.2d 264.
Party to settlement attempted to set it aside on basis of fraud and/or mutual mistake. Mistake was one of law and thus is not basis for nullifying settlement.

1969 Nationwide Mut. Ins. Co. v. Martin, 210 Va. 354, 171 S.E.2d 239.
Settlement reached by parties prior to trial. Defendant reneged on settlement because of alleged fraud on part of plaintiff. Trial court enforced settlement without hearing on merits of settlement. Held: reversed and remanded for hearing.

1960 City of Richmond v. Ewing’s Sons, 201 Va. 862, 114 S.E.2d 608.
Express admission of liability by attorney during negotiations for compromise is admissible.

1943 Walton v. Light, 181 Va. 609, 26 S.E.2d 29.
Offers of compromise are not admissible.

1942 Butler v. Greenwood, 180 Va. 456, 23 S.E.2d 217.
Evidence that claimant made his claim in writing against opposing party prior to suit being filed was admissible.

For more information about the topic of settlement see the pages on relevancy in the book co-authored by Brien Roche

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Settlement Cases Summarized By Personal Injury Attorney

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Contact Us For A Free Consultation