Virginia Auto Accidents: Plea in Bar – a Lawyer’s Pleading

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Virginia defense attorneys can interpose a wide variety of potentially dispositive issues on Special Plea in Bar in vehicle accident, brain injury, wrongful death, and all other personal injury cases. On Plea, the asserting party bears the burden of proof on the issue raised. E.g., Geographic Network Affiliates-Int’l, Inc. v. Enterprise for Empowerment Fund at Norfolk St. Univ., 68 Va. Cir. 185, 187 (Norfolk Jan. 27, 2005); Robinson v. McLeod & Co., 59 Va. Cir. 154 (Roanoke Jun. 4, 2002).

“Upon agreement of the parties, [the plea] issue may be submitted, with an identified body of facts, for the trial court’s determination.” The Kroger Co. v. Appalachian Power Co., 244 Va. 560, 562 (1992). Where the Plea is decided on the pleadings, “we state as true the facts alleged in the motions for judgment and all reasonable inferences to be drawn therefrom.” Adkins v. Dixon, 253 Va. 275, 277 (1997). Geographic Network; Robinson.

Of course, the Constitution of Virginia guarantees a party that “a jury will resolve disputed facts”. Bethel Investment Co. v. City of Hampton, 272 Va. 765, 769 (2006). Hence a trial judge errs if he decides disputed facts on Plea when plaintiff demands a jury.Id. at 770 (reserving and remanding a plea sustained).