161 S.E.2d 722 (Va. 1968), Walke v. Dallas, Inc.

Citation:161 S.E.2d 722, 209 Va. 32
Opinion Judge:[10] Buchanan
Party Name:Rochell W. WALKE v. DALLAS, INC.
Attorney:[7] Palmer S. Rutherford, Jr. (Rixey and Rixey, on brief), for plaintiff in error.
Case Date:June 10, 1968
Court:Supreme Court of Virginia
 
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Page 722

161 S.E.2d 722 (Va. 1968)

209 Va. 32

Rochell W. WALKE

v.

DALLAS, INC.

Supreme Court of Virginia.

June 10, 1968.

Palmer S. Rutherford, Jr., Norfolk (Rixey & Rixey, Norfolk, on brief), for plaintiff in error.

Edward L. Breeden, III, Norfolk (Freeden, Howard & MacMillan, Norfolk, on brief), for defendant in error.

Before BUCHANAN, SNEAD, I'ANSON, CARRICO, GORDON and HARRISON, JJ.

BUCHANAN, Justice.

The only question presented in this case is whether §§ 8--81.1 through 8--81.5, Title 8, Chapter 4.1 of the Code of Virginia, 1966 Cum.Supp., sometimes referred to as 'the long arm statutes,' may be applied retroactively.

On October 1, 1965, Rochell W. Walke, plaintiff, filed in the court below a motion for judgment against Dallas, Inc., of High Point, North Carolina, a foreign corporation, and Southern Railway Company, for damages for personal injury.

The motion alleged that on or about November 4, 1963, the plaintiff was engaged in unloading from a boxcar in Norfolk cartons of burniture which had been loaded therein by Dallas, Inc., so negligently [209 Va. 33] that upon the opening of the doors the cartons of furniture fell from the boxcar and struck and injured the plaintiff. On demurrer the Railway Company was dismissed and it is not a party to this appeal.

Process against Dallas, Inc., was served on the clerk of the State Corporation Commission under § 8--60 of the Code, but the service was quashed by order entered March 3, 1966, reciting that no facts were shown to make it a valid service and leave was granted plaintiff to have alias process issued.

Plaintiff then attempted to serve process against Dallas under the provisions of the long arm statutes, but service again was quashed by order of August 5, 1966, as not being on the proper statutory agent, but under leave granted process was again issued and served on August 10, 1966. By order entered November 25, 1966, the court quashed this service, on the ground that the provisions of the long arm statutes could not be applied retroactively. The effect of this ruling was that the plaintiff could not maintain his action in Virginia because of inability to serve process on the defendant. The validity of that ruling is the only question now before us on this writ of error.

Page 723

Plaintiff's cause of action, as stated, was alleged to have occurred in November, 1963. His motion for judgment was filed October 1, 1965. Chapter 4.1 of Title 8 of the Code, containing the long arm statutes, was enacted at the 1964 session of the General Assembly and became effective June 26, 1964, nearly eight months...

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