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On March 21, 2019, Governor Northam signed Senate Bill 1619 into law, changing what remedies are available to a court faced with a potential litigant or a party who has recklessly deprived another party of evidence. The new statute provides: A party or potential litigant has a duty to preserve evidence that…

HCCW partner Tom Garrett recently prevailed on an appeal before the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.  Higby Crane Serv., LLC, et al. v.  National Helium, LLC, et al., Case Nos. 16-3271 and 16-3279 (10th Cir. Aug. 14, 2017).  Higby Crane involved a subrogation action to recover amounts paid…

A broad overhaul of Virginia Code § 38.2-2206 (Virginia’s Underinsured Motorist Statute) will result in new rights and responsibilities for claimants, tortfeasors, liability carriers and underinsured motorist carriers in settling claims. The most significant of these changes is that a liability insurer and a plaintiff may settle a claim and release the…

In Travelers Indemnity Company of America v. Portal Healthcare Solutions, LLC, the Fourth Circuit recently affirmed a federal district court’s determination that a class action lawsuit arising out of a medical records safekeeping firm’s alleged failure to safeguard confidential medical records triggered an insurer’s duty to defend under a policy that afforded coverage…

Be Careful What You Ask For!


The Supreme Court of Virginia recently affirmed a Circuit Court’s Order denying plaintiff’s motion to set aside the default judgment she obtained against the defendant, even though the defendant was never properly served with the summons and complaint. Sauder v. Ferguson arose out of an October 2009 motor vehicle accident.  Susan Sauder…

The Eastern District of Virginia (Richmond Division) recently permitted  a counterclaim for bad faith to proceed in an insurer’s declaratory judgment action, despite the fact that the insurer had not formally denied coverage.  Great American Ins. Co. v. GRM Management LLC, No. 3:14cv295 (Nov. 24, 2014), arises out of a first-party insurance…

A recent case from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Richmond Division, held that an insurer’s underinsured motorist coverage limit totaled $500,000, effectively raising the total available coverage in connection to a motorcycle accident by $250,000.  The UIM carrier had argued that its UM/UIM limit totaled only…