Virginia: Car Accident – a Lawyer’s Adhesion

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In PHC – Martinsville, Inc. d/b/a Memorial Hospital of Martinsville and Henry County v. Dennis, No. 161019, on appeal from Henry County Circuit Court, the Virginia Supreme Court reversed the judge’s finding of no mutual assent to contract for payment of emergency hospital services, but remanded for findings on Plaintiff’s affirmative defenses, including unconscionability, without taking any further evidence. Id. at 4. “Duress” potentially was an affirmative defense, but Plaintiff failed to plead or argue it. Id. at 3 n.5.

PHC declared: “Whatever [Plaintiff’s] unexpressed intentions may have been, his signature on the Contract was clearly a manifestation of his intent to agree to its terms.” Id. at 3. “While a court may take into consideration that a contract is one of adhesion [i.e., ‘a standard-form contract prepared by one party, to be signed by another party in a weaker position,’] in determining whether a contractual provision is unconscionable, such contracts are not unconscionable per se.Id. at 3 n.4.