If any of our regular readers received the Virginia Lawyer’s Weekly, they would have spotted a familiar name in a recent notable case. Mark Esposito, one of our esteemed Guest Bloggers, featured prominently in the case — showing that he is as talented in the legal sphere as he is in the blogosphere. He won in the clever use of the doctrine of quod approbo non reprobo. It might be easier in the future for court to just call it “a Mespo” claim. The case is Womack v. Yeoman (VLW 011-8-207)
Mark is counsel for Sheila Womack, 29, is an office assistant who claimed she suffered a head injury when Jerrene Yeoman made an improper left turn and their cars collided. The case involved the notable twist that Yeoman “torpedoed her own personal injury defense with her bankruptcy filings” and now faces a $4 million judgment secured by Mark and his co-counsel.
Richmond Circuit Judge Margaret P. Spencer found Yeoman took an inconsistent position when she found that Yeoman signed bankruptcy forms, listing the personal injury claim as an undisputed debt. With the bankruptcy court, she included the $5 million claim in three separate listings as undisputed. Mark noted that the filings were made under oath and thus were inconsistent legal positions — a clever and ultimately successful tact. This was a reaffirmation of the approbating and reprobating doctrine.
The doctrine comes from the maxim quod approbo non reprobo “that which I approve, I cannot disapprove,” often used in will cases. For example, in a will a person cannot “approbate” by accepting a benefit while at the same time “reprobate” by denying the effect of its other terms. This principle is also known as the equitable doctrine of election.
Congratulations to Mark and his law firm in the case. We have also begun a review of all of our blog entries to identify any inconsistent statements that Mark could cite in the future.
Source: Va Lawyer’s Weekly