Dodson v. Potomac Mack Sales & Service, Inc., Nos. 900299

Docket NºNos. 900299
Citation400 S.E.2d 178, 241 Va. 89
Case DateJanuary 11, 1991
CourtSupreme Court of Virginia

Page 178

400 S.E.2d 178
241 Va. 89
Patricia A. DODSON, Administratrix of the Estate of Elmer W. Dodson, Jr., Deceased
v.
POTOMAC MACK SALES & SERVICE, INC., et al.
Patricia WOOD, Administratrix of the Estate of William Wood
v.
Donald L. MacNAY, M.D., et al.
Record Nos. 900299, 900721.
Supreme Court of Virginia.
Jan. 11, 1991.

Page 179

[241 Va. 91] Warner F. Young, III (Hall, Markle, Sickels & Fudala, on brief), for appellant Patricia Wood.

Fred C. Alexander, Jr. (McGuire, Woods, Battle & Boothe, on brief), for appellee Beverly J. Donner.

Gary A. Godard, Vicki Layman-Jasper (Godard, West & Adelman, on brief), for appellees Donald L. MacNay and Donald L. MacNay, M.D., Associates, Ltd.

Cynthia Vancil Santoni (Pledger & Santoni, on brief), for appellee Prince William Hosp. Corp.

[241 Va. 90] John A. Blazer (Crews & Hancock, on brief), for appellant Patricia A. dodson.

John H. Johnston (Slenker, Brandt, Jennings & Johnston, on brief), for appellee R/S Truck Body Co.

[241 Va. 91] Robert Guntharp, Deborah A. Farson (John E. Fricker, Lewis, Wilson, Lewis and Jones, on brief), for appellee Potomac Mack Sales & Service, Inc.

No brief or argument for appellee Mack Trucks, Inc.

[241 Va. 89] Present: CARRICO, C.J., COMPTON, STEPHENSON, RUSSELL, WHITING, and LACY, JJ., and COCHRAN, Retired Justice.

[241 Va. 91] WHITING, Justice.

In these wrongful death actions, we decide whether the plaintiffs, who nonsuited their original actions, had the additional six-month period provided by Code § 8.01-229(E)(3) in which to file subsequent wrongful death actions. In both these subsequent actions, all parties agree that if this code section does not apply, the plaintiffs' claims must fail.

DODSON ACTION--RECORD NO. 900299

On May 18, 1984, Elmer W. Dodson, Jr. was killed when his employer's dump truck backed over him at a job site. On May 19, 1986, a Monday, after qualifying as administratrix of his estate, Dodson's widow, Patricia A. Dodson (Dodson), filed a wrongful death action against Mack Trucks, Inc. (Mack), the manufacturer of the truck chassis; R/S Truck Body Company, Inc. (R/S), the installer of the dump box and lift mechanism; Potomac Mack Sales and Service, Inc. (Potomac), the truck's vendor; and two of the decedent's fellow employees. Dodson nonsuited that case on October 24, 1987.

On April 15, 1988, Dodson filed this second action against Mack, R/S, and Potomac. In this action, she repeated the same allegations of products liability contained in the first action. On December 8, 1989, the trial court sustained the defendants' pleas of the statute of limitations. Dodson appeals.

241 Va. 92

WOOD ACTION--RECORD NO. 900721

On March 6, 1984, Dr. Donald L. MacNay, acting for Donald L. MacNay, M.D. & Associates, Ltd., operated on William Wood at the Prince William Hospital. Dr. Gabriel Gluck, acting for the Piedmont Orthopedic Clinic, and Beverly Donner, CRNA, acting for G. Doe Corp., participated in Wood's operation and post-operative treatment. Wood's condition deteriorated after the operation, and he died three days later.

On June 23, 1986, after qualifying as administratrix of Wood's estate and after proceeding under the medical malpractice statute, his widow, Patricia Wood (Wood), filed a wrongful death action against the six health care providers, claiming damages for the decedent's wrongful death, as well as damages for any nonfatal injuries that the decedent suffered. Wood nonsuited this action on May 31, 1988.

On November 28, 1988, Wood filed this second action against the same health care providers. She re-alleged the same allegations of liability as in the first action. On March 27, 1990, the trial court sustained

Page 180

the defendants' pleas of the statute of limitations. Wood appeals.
DISCUSSION

Actions for wrongful death did not exist at common law, Anderson v. Hygeia Hotel Co., 92 Va. 687, 689, 24 S.E. 269, 270 (1896), and the cause of action as well as the right to enforce it were created by statute. Horn v. Abernathy, 231 Va. 228, 237, 343 S.E.2d 318...

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39 practice notes
  • Washington v. Com., Record No. 1734-03-4.
    • United States
    • Virginia Supreme Court of Virginia
    • August 9, 2005
    ...with Virginia case law when the legislature enacts a statute which might impact upon that law." Dodson v. Potomac Mack Sales & Serv., Inc., 241 Va. 89, 94, 400 S.E.2d 178, 180 (1991); see also Waterman v. Halverson, 261 Va. 203, 207, 540 S.E.2d 867, 869 (2001) ("The General Assembly is pres......
  • Seaton v. Com., Record No. 2273-02-3.
    • United States
    • Virginia Court of Appeals of Virginia
    • April 13, 2004
    ...accord County of Fairfax v. Century Concrete Servs., 254 Va. 423, 427, 492 S.E.2d 648, 650 (1997); Dodson v. Potomac Mack Sales & Serv., 241 Va. 89, 94-95, 400 S.E.2d 178, 181 (1991); Tharpe v. Commonwealth, 18 Va.App. 37, 43-44, 441 S.E.2d 228, 232...
  • Overstreet v. Kentucky Cent. Life Ins. Co., No. 90-2217
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (4th Circuit)
    • December 4, 1991
    ...aff'd on other grounds, 602 F.2d 657 (4th Cir.1979). Kentucky Central mistakenly relies on Dodson v. Potomac Mack Sales & Service, Inc., 241 Va. 89, 400 S.E.2d 178 (1991), for the proposition that the wrongful death limitation cannot be tolled. Dodson dealt with the conflict between the gen......
  • Marblex Design Intern., Inc. v. Stevens, Record No. 1545-08-4.
    • United States
    • Virginia Court of Appeals of Virginia
    • June 30, 2009
    ...Assembly is presumed to be aware of the decisions of this Court when enacting legislation. Dodson v. Potomac Mack Sales & Serv., Inc., 241 Va. 89, 94, 400 S.E.2d 178, 180 (1991)." And "[a]s a general rule, there is a presumption that a substantive change in law was intended by an amendment ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
39 cases
  • Washington v. Com., Record No. 1734-03-4.
    • United States
    • Virginia Supreme Court of Virginia
    • August 9, 2005
    ...with Virginia case law when the legislature enacts a statute which might impact upon that law." Dodson v. Potomac Mack Sales & Serv., Inc., 241 Va. 89, 94, 400 S.E.2d 178, 180 (1991); see also Waterman v. Halverson, 261 Va. 203, 207, 540 S.E.2d 867, 869 (2001) ("The General Assembly is pres......
  • Seaton v. Com., Record No. 2273-02-3.
    • United States
    • Virginia Court of Appeals of Virginia
    • April 13, 2004
    ...accord County of Fairfax v. Century Concrete Servs., 254 Va. 423, 427, 492 S.E.2d 648, 650 (1997); Dodson v. Potomac Mack Sales & Serv., 241 Va. 89, 94-95, 400 S.E.2d 178, 181 (1991); Tharpe v. Commonwealth, 18 Va.App. 37, 43-44, 441 S.E.2d 228, 232...
  • Overstreet v. Kentucky Cent. Life Ins. Co., No. 90-2217
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (4th Circuit)
    • December 4, 1991
    ...aff'd on other grounds, 602 F.2d 657 (4th Cir.1979). Kentucky Central mistakenly relies on Dodson v. Potomac Mack Sales & Service, Inc., 241 Va. 89, 400 S.E.2d 178 (1991), for the proposition that the wrongful death limitation cannot be tolled. Dodson dealt with the conflict between the gen......
  • Marblex Design Intern., Inc. v. Stevens, Record No. 1545-08-4.
    • United States
    • Virginia Court of Appeals of Virginia
    • June 30, 2009
    ...Assembly is presumed to be aware of the decisions of this Court when enacting legislation. Dodson v. Potomac Mack Sales & Serv., Inc., 241 Va. 89, 94, 400 S.E.2d 178, 180 (1991)." And "[a]s a general rule, there is a presumption that a substantive change in law was intended by an amendment ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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