Defense Verdict Obtained for Concrete Pumping Company and Driver

Trial attorney James Snyder and his team obtained a defense verdict on behalf of a concrete pumping company and its driver in a Virginia Circuit Court jury trial. The plaintiff, a passenger in a vehicle her husband was driving, filed a $1,000,000 lawsuit against the defendants, alleging the concrete pump truck operator failed to keep a proper lookout and, by doing so, caused a T-bone accident. The defendants, however, asserted the plaintiff’s host vehicle failed to yield to the oncoming concrete pump truck and pulled in front of the truck, leaving the driver with no time to avoid the accident, despite his best efforts.

The injuries to the plaintiff were significant and not contested at trial. The plaintiff

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Virginia Venue: Not as Easy as it Used to Be

Virginia code amendments since 2004 limit Plaintiff “venue-shopping” as they align venue options with the common sense view that a lawsuit should be filed where the underlying action occurred.

By: Jim Snyder

If you ask a non-lawyer where the common sense venue would be for bringing a lawsuit, most would tell you the court in the city or county where the action occurred. But in Virginia, there have long been other options. Historically, one focuses on the business activities of a defendant.

Plaintiff attorneys frequently file in traditionally plaintiff-friendly verdicts, regardless of the appropriateness of the forum. If the accident did not happen in the chosen forum and the defendant does not live in the chosen forum, the fall back for plaintiffs is the defendant’s alleged “substantial business activity.” By attacking, what is often, a tenuous link between a case and the forum and the lack of substantial business activity, we can transfer the case into a more conservative venue, immediately driving down the value of the claim.

Until 2004, Virginia Code §8.01-262 provided that a permissible venue in which to file suit was where the defendant regularly conducted affairs or business activity. In addition to where a defendant worked, the most obvious choice here, this led to such inquiries of a defendant as to where they shopped, went to church, visited friends, passed through on the interstate, volunteered or socialized. As a practical matter, the choice a plaintiff had available for forums in which to file suit were greatly expanded through unrelated, often inconsequential, activities.

In 2004, the Code was amended, to change “regularly conducts affairs or business activity” to “regularly conducts substantial business activity.” The signal from the General Assembly was clear – require a greater connection between the defendant and the forum where suit

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McCandlish Holton Attorneys Successfully Defended Traumatic Brain Injury Case 

McCandlish Holton attorneys D. Cameron Beck Jr. and Audra Dickens recently defended a national trucking company in a five-day federal jury trial in the Western District of Virginia, Harrisonburg Division.  The Defendants admitted liability, but contested the plaintiff’s damages. This case involved complicated medical issues, including pre-and post-accident traumatic brain injuries, as well as claims of PTSD.  The Plaintiff called seven doctors to testify in addition to a life care planner and economist.  The Plaintiff claimed $813,000 in medical damages, including lifelong treatment for her brain injury.  Plaintiff’s counsel requested $8.8 million in closing.  After only two hours, the jury awarded the plaintiff $850,000 with no pre-judgment interest.

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