"Gary Hershner has a well-earned reputation for aggressive representation and for using creative ways to obtain maximum results for his clients.  That is why I asked Gary to represent my father in a serious car accident case."

-- Joesephy D. Morrissey, former VA State Delegate, Commonwealth's Attorney and Law Professor

Virginia Lawyers Weekly
November 16, 1998 / Page A-1

Publisher & Editor In Chief

Failure to meet statute won't doom claim

Even though an auto-accident plaintiff failed to prove a statutory claim for punitive damages against a drunken driver, he still can try a common-law punitives claim, the Supreme Court of Virginia has ruled.

The trial judge had struck both claims in a case where the defendant ran a red light at 90mph in a 25mph zone.  The defendant had a blood alcohol content of .21 percent, and he did not know where he was or what time it was when he caused tha accident.

Experts said the case serves as a huge practice tip to lawyers representing victims of drunken drivers:  Be sure to plead both statutory and common-law claims for punitives, they said.

The case is Webb v. Rivers (VLW 098-6-135).  Justice Leroy R. Hassell Sr. wrote the unanimous opinion.