John A. Merrick     |     Partner     |    

John started working as a trial lawyer at Harman Claytor after law school. He has experience involving products liability, premises liability, consumer law, contract law, construction law, local government, property (cases involving homeowner’s associations, easements, trespass, logging), and personal injury cases. He has tried dozens of trials in the Courts throughout the Commonwealth and also handled cases in Federal Court (Eastern District of Virginia and the District Court for South Carolina) through summary judgment. He is licensed to practice in Virginia and South Carolina. Prior to law school, John worked as a professional mate on sport-fishing boats in the United States and abroad, including Mexico, Panama, and Costa Rica.


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SECRETARY   |   Kelly Allen     804.622.1114
PARALEGAL   |   Julie Clayton     804.762.8010
OFFICE   |   Richmond
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Education
  • The University of the South (Sewanee), B.A.
    • Order of Gownsmen (academic honor society)
    • Studied throughout China and at St. John’s College in Oxford, England
    • Division III golf and tennis
  • University of Richmond, J.D., cum laude 
    • Moot Court Board
Professional Honors & Activities
  • Young Lawyer of the Year Award – Richmond Bar Association – 2014
  • Virginia Business Legal Elite – Young Lawyer (under 40) – 2015 & 2016
  • Virginia Super Lawyers – Rising Stars – Personal Injury Defense: General – 2013 – 2017
  • International Association of Defense Counsel (IADC) – Member
  • Richmond Bar Association
    • Membership Committee – past chair
    • Bench Bar Conference Committee – past chair
    • Young Lawyers Section Executive Committee – past chair
  • Virginia State Bar
    • Virginia State Bar Orientation and Admission Ceremony – past chair
  • Virginia Association of Defense Attorney
    • Vice-Chair for Products Liability Section – current
    • Auto & Transportation Liability – past chair
  • Lewis F. Powell, Jr., American Inn of Court, Member
  • Defense Research Institute
  • Local Government Attorneys Association
  • Henrico County Bar Association
Bar & Court Admissions
  • Virginia State Bar
  • South Carolina State Bar
  • United States District Court for the Eastern & Western Districts of Virginia
  • United States District Court for the District of South Carolina
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
Reported Cases
  • Kocen v. Piccadilly Restaurants, LLC, Civil Action No. 3:10CV921-HEH (E.D. Va., 2011) (summary judgment granted in premises liability case)
Community Activities
  • City of Richmond Ducks Unlimited• Committee Member (2007 – 2011)• Sponsor Chairman (2009 – 2010)
  • Model Judiciary Attorney Advisor (2010 – 2011)• Collegiate School• Benedictine High School
  • Lunch Buddies Program
    • Fairfield Elementary School (2011 – 2012)

Representative Experience
  • Defense verdict in $100,000 personal injury case tried to a jury (Defendant admitted liability) (Culpeper Co.)
  • Defense verdict in $50,000 premises liability case tried to a jury. (City of Petersburg)
  • Defense verdict in $150,000 premises liability case tried to a jury. (Chesterfield Co.)
  • Defense verdict in $500,000 premises liability case tried to a jury. (City of Richmond)
  • Defense verdict in $25,000 pedestrian vs. auto case tried to a jury. (Lee Co.)
  • The Court granted Defendant’s Motion to Strike at the close of plaintiff’s evidence during jury trial. Case dismissed. Plaintiff sued for $250,000 in premises liability case. (Spotsylvania Co.)
  • Jury verdict held to $300. Plaintiff sued for $250,000. Plaintiff’s last demand before trial was $25,000. (City of Richmond)
  • Jury verdict held to $568. Plaintiff sued for $100,000. Plaintiff’s last demand before trial was $26,000. (Loudon Co.)
  • Jury verdict held to $1,270. Plaintiff sued for $100,000. Plaintiff’s last demand before trial was $22,000. (Loudon Co.)
  • Jury verdict held to $2,074. Plaintiff sued for $100,000. Plaintiff’s last demand before trial was $26,000. (Loudon Co.)
  • Jury verdict held to $23,031. Plaintiff sued for $200,000. Plaintiff’s last demand before trial was $70,000. (City of Charlottesville)
  • Jury verdict held to $25,000. Plaintiff sued for $100,000. Plaintiff’s last demand before trial was $40,000. (Henrico Co.)
  • Jury verdict held to $25,866.87. Plaintiff sued for $125,000. Plaintiff’s last demand before trial was $65,000. (Powhatan Co.)
  • Jury verdict held to $27,500. Plaintiff sued for $175,000. Plaintiff’s last demand before trial was $175,000. (City of Richmond.)
  • Jury verdict held to $60,000. Plaintiff sued for $250,000. Plaintiff’s last demand before trial was $250,000. (Nottoway Co.)
  • Successful defense of nursing home facility in case tried to a jury. Details omitted at client’s request. (City of Lynchburg)
  • Successfully defended distributor of firearm accessory in product liability action where plaintiff alleged that a defective product caused severe injury to left hand from shotgun blast.
  • Successfully defended skilled nursing home in negligence action where plaintiff allegedly sustained injuries due to negligent care.
  • Successfully defended skilled nursing home in negligence action where plaintiff’s decedent died as a result of alleged negligence during transport using a lift mechanism.
  • Successfully defended local and historic restaurant in premises liability action where plaintiff alleged that code violations and lighting conditions caused him to fall and sustain significant injuries.
  • Successfully defended several local businesses in premises liability actions where plaintiffs alleged hazardous conditions caused them to fall and sustain significant injuries.
  • Successfully defended national restaurant chain in premises liability action where plaintiff alleged that a hazardous condition caused her to fall and sustain significant injuries.
  • Successfully defended beer distributor in suit by bicyclist who alleged severe personal injuries caused by collision with delivery truck.
  • Successfully defended national pizza chain in suit by bicyclist who alleged personal injuries caused by collision with delivery truck.
  • Successfully defended real estate agent in claim by buyers arising from alleged concealment of problems with septic tank.
  • Successfully defended Home Owner’s Association in suit by member over an alleged easement (Williamsburg).
  • Successfully defended Property Owner’s Association in suit by property owner over an alleged easement (Charlottesville).
  • Successfully defended hundreds of auto liability cases.
  • Successfully defended franchise of national food-chain restaurant in premises liability action involving a slip and fall accident.
  • Successfully represented logging company in suit by property owner alleging damages from trespass.
  • Successfully represented personal home care service provider in action where plaintiff’s decedent died in a fire as a result of alleged negligence.
  • Successfully represented sub-contractor in suit by developer alleging negligence and breach of contract.
  • Successfully represented land surveyor in suit by  excavation company alleging negligence.
  • Successfully represented local transportation provider in suit by customer who allegedly sustained injuries at  bus station after falling over a luggage scale.
  • Successfully represented clients in pursuit of property damage claims.
  • Successfully represented clients in personal injury claims.
  • Successfully represented homeowners in suits against contractors in cases involving fraud, negligence and/or breach of contract.

The cases referenced above do not represent the lawyer’s entire record.  Each case must be evaluated on its own facts.  The outcome of a particular case cannot be based on past results.

Presentations
  • Ins & Outs of Jury Instructions for Auto & Premises Liability Cases (VADA Spring Meeting 2017)
  • Panelist: Cases in the 21st Century – Impact of Generational Differences (VADA Annual Meeting 2016)
  • Panelist: Not Just Posters Anymore: Effective Use of Exhibits, Videos, & Charts at Trial (VADA Spring Meeting 2016)