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‘Spear’ stands alone

Denounced by plaintiffs’ lawyers, the groundbreaking decision in Spear v. Washington Metropolitan Airports Authority has found few friends in the Virginia judiciary. The latest judge to reject the “once-and-for-all ad damnum” rule of Spear is Franklin County Circuit Judge William Alexander.

Roanoke lawyer Pete Katt reports Alexander on Monday rejected a defense motion to dismiss his automobile personal injury suit because it was refiled after a nonsuit with a higher demand for damages. The original action was for $100,000. The refiled suit demanded $200,000.

Alexander’s ruling approving the refiled action came in a hearing in open court, Katt said, so there is no written opinion.

As we reported in January, defense lawyers have attempted without success to duplicate the August holding in Spear. The Spear rationale has been rejected by Rockingham County Circuit Judge James Lane and Richmond U.S. District Judge Robert Payne.

The Spear decision itself is on appeal to the Supreme Court of Virginia.

By Peter Vieth

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