Graves v. ShoemakerAnnotate this Case
In this personal injury case, the Supreme Court vacated the judgment of the circuit court in favor of Plaintiff in the amount of $3,000, plus interest, holding that the circuit court abused its discretion in denying Plaintiff's motion in limine seeking to introduce evidence regarding the defense's expert witness's financial relationship with State Farm.
Plaintiff was injured when she was hit from behind by Defendant. Plaintiff brought this suit seeking $150,000 in damages. State Farm insured Defendant at the time of the accident. Dr. William Andres, an orthopedic surgeon, was engaged as the defense's expert witness. Before trial, Plaintiff filed a motion in limine seeking to introduce evidence of Dr. Andrews' previous relationship with State Farm. The court denied the motion. After trial, Plaintiff appealed, arguing that the circuit court's exclusion of evidence of Dr. Andrews' relationship with State Farm violated the Supreme Court's ruling in Lombard v. Rohrbaugh, 262 Va. 484 (2001). The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the circuit court misinterpreted Lombard as holding that a party must demonstrate a "direct relationship" between an expert and an insurance company before cross-examining the expert on previous payments from the insurance company.