Skip to content
MBBTK Law Logo
McGavin, Boyce, Bardot, Thorsen, & Katz, PC Tel: 703.385.1000
Fax: 703.385.1555
9990 Fairfax Boulevard, Suite 400
Fairfax, Virginia 22030

Court of Appeals Upholds Sustention of Plea in Bar Without Hearing Motion to Substitute

Vivek Subramanyam photo

On Tuesday, March 12, 2024, the Virginia Court of Appeals, in an unpublished opinion, upheld the sustention of a Plea in Bar where the wrong corporate entities were sued for personal injury.

The plaintiff fell in a bar and restaurant in Loudoun County. Shortly before the expiration of the statute of limitations, he filed suit against two corporate entities. Unbeknownst to him, these were the wrong defendants. They did not own or manage the restaurant where the incident took place. However, the entities share a common principal owner/member and registered agent.

The defendants filed a plea in bar against the Complaint explaining that they are the wrong defendants. Shortly before the Court heard evidence as to the Pleas in Bar, the plaintiff discovered the correct entity and attempted to move to substitute the defendants. However, he was not able to schedule the substitution motion’s hearing before the Plea in Bar evidentiary hearing. So at that hearing, he argued that the Court should first hear his Motion to Substitute before ruling on the Pleas in Bar. The Loudoun Circuit Court declined to do so.

After the Pleas in Bar were sustained on the evidence, the Plaintiff appealed to the Court of Appeals, arguing that it was procedurally improper for the Court to do so when his Motion to Substitute offered a more expedient dispensation of the issues in the case. The Court of Appeals held that what the Loudoun Circuit Court had done was not an abuse of discretion, and affirmed the sustention.