Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 8.01. Civil Remedies and Procedure
Chapter 2. Parties

Article 2. Special Provisions.

§ 8.01-8. How minors may sue.

Any minor entitled to sue may do so by his next friend. Either or both parents may sue on behalf of a minor as his next friend.

Code 1950, § 8-87; 1977, c. 617; 1998, c. 402.

§ 8.01-9. Guardian ad litem for persons under disability; when guardian ad litem need not be appointed for person under disability.

A. A suit wherein a person under a disability is a party defendant shall not be stayed because of such disability, but the court in which the suit is pending, or the clerk thereof, shall appoint a discreet and competent attorney-at-law as guardian ad litem to such defendant, whether the defendant has been served with process or not. If no such attorney is found willing to act, the court shall appoint some other discreet and proper person as guardian ad litem. Any guardian ad litem so appointed shall not be liable for costs. Every guardian ad litem shall faithfully represent the estate or other interest of the person under a disability for whom he is appointed, and it shall be the duty of the court to see that the interest of the defendant is so represented and protected. Whenever the court is of the opinion that the interest of the defendant so requires, it shall remove any guardian ad litem and appoint another in his stead. When, in any case, the court is satisfied that the guardian ad litem has rendered substantial service in representing the interest of the person under a disability, it may allow the guardian reasonable compensation therefor, and his actual expenses, if any, to be paid out of the estate of the defendant. However, if the defendant's estate is inadequate for the purpose of paying compensation and expenses, all, or any part thereof, may be taxed as costs in the proceeding. In a civil action against an incarcerated felon for damages arising out of a criminal act, the compensation and expenses of the guardian ad litem shall be paid by the Commonwealth out of the state treasury from the appropriation for criminal charges. If judgment is against the incarcerated felon, the amount allowed by the court to the guardian ad litem shall be taxed against the incarcerated felon as part of the costs of the proceeding, and if collected, the same shall be paid to the Commonwealth. By order of the court, in a civil action for divorce from an incarcerated felon, the compensation and expenses of the guardian ad litem shall be paid by the Commonwealth out of the state treasury from the appropriation for criminal charges if the crime (i) for which the felon is incarcerated occurred after the date of the marriage for which the divorce is sought, (ii) for which the felon is incarcerated was committed against the felon's spouse, child, or stepchild and involved physical injury, sexual assault, or sexual abuse, and (iii) resulted in incarceration subsequent to conviction and the felon was sentenced to confinement for more than one year. The amount allowed by the court to the guardian ad litem shall be taxed against the incarcerated felon as part of the costs of the proceeding, and if collected, the same shall be paid to the Commonwealth.

B. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection A or the provisions of any other law to the contrary, in any suit wherein a person under a disability is a party and is represented by an attorney-at-law duly licensed to practice in this Commonwealth, who shall have entered of record an appearance for such person, no guardian ad litem need be appointed for such person unless the court determines that the interests of justice require such appointment; or unless a statute applicable to such suit expressly requires that the person under a disability be represented by a guardian ad litem. The court may, in its discretion, appoint the attorney of record for the person under a disability as his guardian ad litem, in which event the attorney shall perform all the duties and functions of guardian ad litem.

Any judgment or decree rendered by any court against a person under a disability without a guardian ad litem, but in compliance with the provisions of this subsection, shall be as valid as if the guardian ad litem had been appointed.

Code 1950, §§ 8-88, 8-88.1; 1972, c. 720; 1977, c. 617; 1996, c. 887; 1999, cc. 945, 955, 987; 2001, c. 127; 2003, c. 563; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 463.

§ 8.01-10. Joinder of tenants in common.

Tenants in common may join or be joined as plaintiffs or defendants.

Code 1950, § 8-90; 1977, c. 617.

§ 8.01-11. Proceedings on writing binding deceased person.

A. A bond, note, or other written obligation to a person or persons who, or some of whom, are dead at the time of its execution may be proceeded on in the name of the personal representative of such person, or the survivors or survivor, or of the representative of the last survivor of such persons.

B. If one person bound either jointly or as a partner with another by a judgment, bond, note, or otherwise for the payment of a debt, or the performance or forbearance of an act, or for any other thing, die in the lifetime of such other, the representative of the decedent may be charged in the same manner as the decedent might have been charged, if those bound jointly or as partners, had been bound severally as well as jointly, otherwise than as partners.

Code 1950, §§ 8-92, 8-93; 1977, c. 617.

§ 8.01-12. Suit by beneficial owner when legal title in another.

When the legal title to any claim or chose in action, for the enforcement of the collection of which a court of equity has jurisdiction, is in one person and the beneficial equitable title thereto is in another, the latter may either maintain a suit in the name of the holder of the legal title for his use and benefit or in his own name to enforce collection of the same. In either case the beneficial equitable owner shall be deemed the real plaintiff and shall be liable for costs.

Code 1950, § 8-93.1; 1977, c. 617.

§ 8.01-13. Assignee or beneficial owner may sue in own name; certain discounts allowed.

The assignee or beneficial owner of any bond, note, writing or other chose in action, not negotiable may maintain thereon in his own name any action which the original obligee, payee, or contracting party might have brought, but, except as provided in § 8.9A-403, shall allow all just discounts, not only against himself, but against such obligee, payee, or contracting party, before the defendant had notice of the assignment or transfer by such obligee, payee, or contracting party, and shall also allow all such discounts against any intermediate assignor or transferor, the right to which was acquired on the faith of the assignment or transfer to him and before the defendant had notice of the assignment or transfer by such assignor or transferor to another.

Code 1950, § 8-94; 1964, c. 219; 1966, c. 396; 1977, c. 617.

§ 8.01-14. Suit against assignor.

Any assignee or beneficial owner may recover from any assignor of a writing; but only joint assignors shall be joined as defendants in one action. A remote assignor shall have the benefit of the same defense as if the suit had been instituted by his immediate assignee.

Code 1950, § 8-95; 1977, c. 617.

§ 8.01-15. Suits by and against unincorporated associations or orders.

All unincorporated associations or orders may sue and be sued under the name by which they are commonly known and called, or under which they do business, and judgments and executions against any such association or order shall bind its real and personal property in like manner as if it were incorporated.

Code 1950, § 8-66; 1962, c. 250; 1977, c. 617.

§ 8.01-15.1. Anonymous plaintiff; motion for identification; factors to be considered by court.

A. In any legal proceeding commenced anonymously, any party may move for an order concerning the propriety of anonymous participation in the proceeding. The trial court may allow maintenance of the proceeding under a pseudonym if the anonymous litigant discharges the burden of showing special circumstances such that the need for anonymity outweighs the public's interest in knowing the party's identity and outweighs any prejudice to any other party. The court may consider whether the requested anonymity is intended merely to avoid the annoyance and criticism that may attend any litigation or is to preserve privacy in a sensitive and highly personal matter; whether identification poses a risk of retaliatory physical or mental harm to the requesting party or to innocent nonparties; the ages of the persons whose privacy interests are sought to be protected; whether the action is against a governmental or private party; and the risk of unfairness to other parties if anonymity is maintained.

B. If the court initially permits a party to proceed anonymously, the issue of the propriety of continued anonymous participation in the proceedings may be raised at any stage of the litigation when circumstances warrant a reconsideration of the issue. In all cases, all parties have the right to know the true identities of all other parties under such provisions of confidentiality as the court may deem appropriate.

C. If the court orders that the anonymous litigant be identified, the pleadings and any relevant dockets shall be reformed to reflect the party's true name, and the identification shall be deemed to relate back to the date of filing of the proceeding by the anonymous party.

D. In any legal proceeding in which a party is proceeding anonymously, the court shall enter appropriate orders to afford all parties the rights, procedures and discovery to which they are otherwise entitled.

2003, c. 572.

§ 8.01-15.2. Servicemembers Civil Relief Act; default judgment; appointment of counsel.

A. Notwithstanding the provisions of § 8.01-428, in any civil action or proceeding in which the defendant does not make an appearance, the court shall not enter a judgment by default until the plaintiff files with the court an affidavit (i) stating whether or not the defendant is in military service and showing necessary facts to support the affidavit; or (ii) if the plaintiff is unable to determine whether or not the defendant is in military service, stating that the plaintiff is unable to determine whether or not the defendant is in military service. Subject to the provisions of § 8.01-3, the Supreme Court shall prescribe the form of such affidavit, or the requirement for an affidavit may be satisfied by a written statement, declaration, verification or certificate, subscribed and certified or declared to be true under penalty of perjury. Any judgment by default entered by any court in any civil action or proceeding in violation of subchapter II of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (50 U.S.C. § 3901 et seq.) may be set aside as provided by the Act. Failure to file an affidavit shall not constitute grounds to set aside an otherwise valid default judgment against a defendant who was not, at the time of service of process or entry of default judgment, a servicemember as defined in 50 U.S.C. § 3911.

B. Where appointment of counsel is required pursuant to 50 U.S.C. § 3931 or 3932 or another section of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, the court may assess reasonable attorney fees and costs against any party as the court deems appropriate, including a party aggrieved by a violation of the Act, and shall direct in its order which of the parties to the case shall pay such fees and costs. Such fees and costs shall not be assessed against the Commonwealth unless it is the party that obtains the judgment. Any attorney fees assessed pursuant to this subsection shall not exceed $125, unless the court deems a higher amount appropriate.

C. The appointed counsel may issue a subpoena duces tecum for all discoverable electronic and print files, records, documents, and memoranda regarding the transactional basis for the suit. If requested in the subpoena, the plaintiff shall also deliver all documents or information concerning the location of the servicemember.

D. Counsel appointed pursuant to the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act shall not be selected by the plaintiff or have any affiliation with the plaintiff. However, counsel for the plaintiff may provide a list of attorneys familiar with the provisions of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act upon the request of the court.

2004, c. 381; 2005, c. 909; 2016, c. 643; 2019, c. 454.