Present: Hassell, C.J., Keenan, Koontz, Kinser, Lemons, and
Millette, JJ., and Carrico, S.J.
WILLIAM P. RASCHER
v. Record No. 090193
JUSTICE LAWRENCE L. KOONTZ, JR.
February 25, 2010
FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY
Herman A. Whisenant, Jr., Judge Designate
In this appeal, we consider whether the circuit court
erred in striking the plaintiff’s evidence in a personal
injury case arising from a motor vehicle accident on the
ground that the plaintiff was contributorily negligent as a
matter of law. The plaintiff contends that the issue of his
contributory negligence should have been submitted to the
jury. Additionally, the plaintiff contends that, even if his
actions were negligent, the jury could have found that his
negligence was not a proximate case of the accident that
resulted in his injuries.
The well established standard under which a circuit court
should review the evidence in a jury trial before granting a
defendant’s motion to strike based on the assertion that the
plaintiff was contributorily negligent as a matter of law
requires the court to accept as true all the evidence
favorable to the plaintiff as well as any reasonable inference
the jury might draw from the evidence which would sustain the
plaintiff’s cause of action. McGowan v. Lewis, 233 Va. 386,
387, 355 S.E.2d 334, 334 (1987); see also Austin v. Shoney’s,
Inc., 254 Va. 134, 138, 486 S.E.2d 285, 287 (1997).
Similarly, “[o]n appeal, we review a trial court’s judgment
striking the evidence, considering the facts in the light most
favorable to the plaintiff and drawing all fair inferences
from those facts.” Green v. Ingram, 269 Va. 281, 290, 608
S.E.2d 917, 922 (2005).
When so viewed, the evidence presented at trial
established that around noon on September 2, 2006, William P.
Rascher was traveling on his bicycle south on Antietam Road in
Prince William County, a two-lane road running through a
primarily residential area wit