Virginia: Medical Malpractice – a Lawyer’s Immunity

Virginia: Medical Malpractice – a Lawyer’s Immunity

On June 2, 2016, the Virginia Supreme Court handed down Pike v. Hagaman, No. 151193, a Richmond medical malpractice case.  By 5-2 split, it upheld the sovereign immunity of a V.C.U. nurse applying the 4-factor test of James v. Jane, 221 Va. 43 (1980).  Id. at 1, 5-9.

 

Notably, gratuitous footnote 2 of Pike suggests that the Virginia Supreme Court is open to – seemingly, invites – additional factors in evaluating a sovereign immunity claim (despite neither party raising any at bar):  “Neither party suggests that we consider any factors beyond the four articulated in James….Accordingly, we confine our analysis to those factors.”  Id. at 5 (emphasis added).  Justice Mims and Justice Goodwyn dissented, disagreeing with the application of James to Pike and opining for reversal of sovereign immunity.  Id. at 9-12.