Tort Law

Third Party Beneficiary

Information on Third Party Beneficiary provided by Brien Roche, Northern Virginia and D.C. area personal injury attorney.

See Va. Code § 38.2-2200 indicating that if judgment against insured is unsatisfied then plaintiff may pursue action against insurance company.

See Va. Code § 55-22 setting forth rights of third-party beneficiary.

2007 Ogunde v. Prison Health Servs., 274 Va. 55, 645 S.E.2d 520.

Prisoner sued Prison Health Services on theory that he was an intended third-party beneficiary of the contract between this defendant and the prison. In fact, the contract expressly identifies the prisoners as being the ones who will be benefitted from the Health Services contract. It was error for the trial court to dismiss the third-party beneficiary claim on the grounds that the prison was simply an incidental beneficiary.

1998 M.N.C. Credit Corp. v. Sickels, 255 Va. 314, 497 S.E.2d 331.

Plaintiff alleged that it was third-party beneficiary of contract for legal services between attorney and client. In order to proceed on third-party beneficiary contract party claiming benefit must show that parties to contract clearly and definitely intended to confer benefit upon him. Virginia Code § 55-22 has no application unless party against whom liability is asserted has assumed obligation for the benefit of third party. Without allegation that attorneys executed contract with client with intent of conferring direct benefit upon M.N.C. Credit then claim is properly demurrable.

1995 Levine v. Selective Ins. Co., 250 Va. 282, 462 S.E.2d 81.

Plaintiff signed contract with Elmore for construction of home, and Elmore obtained insurance contract to provide coverage for loss of materials and personal injuries on jobsite. It was agreed that plaintiffs were beneficiaries of such policy. Carrier delayed in payment of claim. Plaintiff presented jury issue as to breach of contractual duty of good faith and fair dealing.

1995 Aetna Cas. & Sur. Co. v. Fireguard Corp., 249 Va. 209, 455 S.E.2d 229.

Owner of project was deemed to be third-party beneficiary of the contract and owner’s insurer was subrogated to such rights. Ambiguity existed in contract as to who actual owner was. Parol evidence should have been allowed as to that issue.

1989 Cobert v. Home Owners Warranty Corp., 239 Va. 460, 391 S.E.2d 263.

Homeowners’ warranty insurance program. Insurance policy is actually issued to builder, but purchaser is intended beneficiary under contract.

1979 Richmond Shopping Center, Inc. v. Jackson Co., 220 Va. 135, 255 S.E.2d 518.

Property owner sought recovery for property damage on theory that he was third-party beneficiary of contract between contractors and state. Only intended beneficiary may recover. Plaintiff was purely incidental beneficiary.

1978 United Servs. v. Nationwide Mut., 218 Va. 861, 241 S.E.2d 784.

Injured party is beneficiary under tortfeasor’s liability policy from time of injury if vehicle was operated with permission of insured owner. Injured person must reduce his claim to judgment before bringing action against tortfeasor’s liability insurer.

1977 Valley Landscape Co. v. Rolland, 218 Va. 257, 237 S.E.2d 120.

In standard owner/architect contract, undertaking by architect is not designed to protect contractor, and any benefit to him is incidental.

1973 Sydnor & Hundley v. Wilson Trucking, 213 Va. 704, 194 S.E.2d 733.

Suit for nondelivery of goods by carrier. Purchaser was third-party beneficiary entitled to bring suit. Nine-month notice requirement as to claims was reasonable.

1967 Richmond, F. & P.R.R. v. Hughes-Keegan, Inc., 207 Va. 765, 152 S.E.2d 28.

Insurance policy intended to cover defendant’s performance of its undertaking with railroad as set forth in indemnity clause. Railroad was thus third-party beneficiary under Va. Code § 55-22 and could sue insurance company on this theory. This, however, was not direct action on tort theory.

1958 Ampy v. Metropolitan Cas. Ins. Co., 200 Va. 396, 105 S.E.2d 839.

Judgment creditor who sues insurance company on third-party beneficiary theory has rights under policy that are no greater than those of insured. If policy cancelled then third party has no rights.

1947 Lumbermen’s Mut. Cas. v. Indemnity Ins. Co., 186 Va. 204, 42 S.E.2d 298.

In auto liability claim, if judgment is entered against insured and execution is returned unsatisfied, injured party may maintain independent action on policy.

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Third Party Beneficiary

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