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Judge rejects legal malpractice argument

A Richmond judge has found that McGuireWoods LLP cannot be held liable for legal malpractice because it failed to file the transcript in an appeal of an $8.3 million jury verdict against the Wintergreen ski resort.

Wintergreen and its insurers had to show as a matter of law that the appeal would have resulted in a reversal of the judgment for the young woman who suffered a serious brain injury when she crashed into a snow grooming machine, Circuit Judge Melvin R. Hughes Jr. ruled on Friday.

Wintergreen based its case on what it said were inconsistent verdicts by the jury in finding that Wintergreen, but not two employees who were operating the equipment, was liable for the woman’s injuries.

Hughes concluded, however, that an instruction that the resort had a duty to provide premises that were in a reasonably safe condition created an independent basis of liability.

Patrick M. Regan, a Washington attorney who represented the resort and its insurers, had contended that there was no evidence on which to base the instruction.

Regan said he will recommend that his clients appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court of Virginia.

By Alan Cooper

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