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Acceptance of check moots suit

By accepting a $2,000 check from the defendant to cover medical bills, the plaintiff is not entitled to the $800,000 he later sought in a personal injury lawsuit.

A Rockingham County Circuit Court jury returned a defense verdict in the case of Shifflett v. Shifflett, based on accord and satisfaction.

The suit stemmed from injuries received at a party attended by both Shiffletts (relation undetermined). While swinging a beer bottle, the defendant accidentally struck the plaintiff in the face and broke his tooth.

In an out-of-court meeting shortly after the incident, the defendant, along with his ex-wife, issued a $2,000 check to cover the estimated cost of a tooth implant. “Dentist bill” was noted in the memo line. The plaintiff took the money, then went on to file suit, alleging $3,970 in dental bills in addition to disfigurement and pain and suffering.

Liability was not contested at trial. However, the defense successfully argued that the plaintiff had already settled the dispute by accepting his payment.

Jason J. Ham and Jason A. Botkins of Harrisonburg served as counsel for the defendant.

Look for details of this case and others in the Verdicts & Settlements section of the upcoming June 11 edition.

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