On November 11, 2010, Mr. Waterman settled a vehicle accident claim arising in Newport News, Virginia, involving residents of Newport News and Hampton. Suit had been filed on the two-car accident within the statute of limitation, but the lawsuit did not have to be served due to the deal reached.
On November 15, 2010, Mr. Waterman settled another Virginia vehicle accident. This two-car collision occurred in Albemarle County, involving residents of Norfolk and Afton.
The vehicle accident victim received medical treatment in Charlottesville, Williamsburg,, and Portsmouth, Virginia; Memphis, Tennessee; and Chula Vista, California. Despite all of the remote locales involved, Mr. Waterman was able to resolve the case favorably without filing suit.
On November 9, 2010, Circuit Court for Gloucester County, Virginia, heard the brain injury case of Gagnon v. Burns, No. CL08-572. The judge tentatively refrained from entering a Judgment Order to await hearing of Plaintiff’s pending motions for relief from automatic stays enjoyed by the pro se Defendants, James S. Newsome, Jr. and Christine D. Newsome, filing for Bankruptcy protection. If the stays are lifted as expected in December, Ms. Newsome will have to post a bond of $750,000.00 to appeal, while Mr. Newsome faces an appeal bond of $4,000,000.00.
Meanwhile the Court approved a $1,700,000.00 cash bond being posted by Virginia Municipal Liability Pool, which insures Assistant Principal Travis Burns for $6,000,000.00. The Court also entered Orders from hearing in the brain injury suit on June 22, July 15, and August 12, 2010.
On November 8, 2010, The Daily Press and dailypress.com headlined “Woman’s death sparks lawsuit against Gloucester surgeon”. That media coverage is of Mr. Waterman’s $4,350,000.00 wrongful death suit Martha Sue Norville, Executor of the Estate of Ethelone M. Chamber, Deceased v. Melvin Wayne Ressler, M.D., et al., No. CL10000470-00 filed in Circuit Court for Gloucester County, Virginia, on October 4, 2010.
Among other things, the Norville lawsuit alleges medical malpractice at Riverside Walter Reed Hospital. The suit alleges further that the deceased suffered massive blood loss and other complications after her intestine and a blood vessel were cut by her surgeon.
Virginia law protects successful wrongful death, brain injury, and other personal injury litigants by requiring defendants to file “an appeal bond or irrevocable letter or credit in the penalty of $500, or such sum as the trial court may require”. Va. Code. Ann. §8.01-676.1 (emphasis added). Significantly, the Virginia Supreme Court has pronounced that the “statutory language does not give the trial court discretion to set an appeal bond in an amount less than the judgment.” Tauber v. Commonwealth, 263 Va. 520, 545 (2002). Indeed, the Court of Appeals of Virginia repeatedly has held that there was “no legal basis on which to complain of the bond amount” and “no abuse of discretion” where the appeal bond was set higher than the amount awarded at trial, e.g., O’Connor v. O’Connor, 2003 Va. App. LEXIS 629 (2003)(“The trial court set the bond at $10,000, even though the attorneys’ fees award was $8,193.54.”); and even when the appeal bond was doubled subsequently. E.g., Jones v. Jones, 2004 Va. App. LEXIS 455 * 11-12 (2004)(“The trial court initially set the bond at $30,000 and later advised that because the proposed security for the appeal bond was real property, the property much have a value of $60,000”.).
Further, the Virginia Supreme Court consistently has held, “Bonds given on appeal to this court must be with approved surety.” E.g., Clinch Valley Lumber Corp. v. Hagan Estates, Inc., 167 Va. 1, 3-4 (1936); Brooks v. Epperson, 164 Va. 37, 41 (1935). Otherwise, a defendant’s appeal of wrongful death, brain injury or other personal injury award is subject to dismissal. 167 Va. at 4-5, 164 Va. at 41-31. Virginia Supreme Court Rules 5A:3(b), 5A:17(b) and 5:24 are not curative for a bond defect. Burns v. C.W. Wright Constr. Co., Inc., 1 Va. App. 256, 258 (1985).
Va. Code Ann. 46.2-1156.1 promotes the safety of certain children in vehicle accidents involving pickup trucks. It forbids the transportation of minors under 16 years of age in the rear cargo area of any pickup truck on a Virginia highway. However, some organized parades and forming operations are exempted.
Bicyclists frequently are victims of vehicle accidents, so should wear bicycle helmets to minimize wrongful death and brain injuries. Although Virginia does not have a statewide law, the following Hampton Roads and other localities have ordinances mandating bike helmets based on age: Albemarle County, City of Alexandria, Amherst County, Arlington County, Clarke County, City of Falls Church, Floyd County, City of Hampton, James City County, Town of Luray, City of Manassas, City of Manassas Park, City of Norfolk, Orange County, City of Petersburg, Prince William County, Stafford County, City of Vienna, Town of Wise, and York County.
Virginia law does require a bicycle light and reflector statewide to avoid vehicle accidents. A bike must have a white headlight visible 500 feet away when ridden from sunset to sunrise. Also, a bike must have a red reflector visible 600 feet away at all times.
Maintaining visibility at all times remains critical since being struck by motorists is by far the leading cause of wrongful death to bicyclists in Virginia and elsewhere. Hundreds of bicyclists are killed and injured every year by cars, trucks, and other vehicles across the United States.