The 1979 Virginia General Assembly turned the last shovel of earth onto the grave of the common law "release rule"' by adopting the covenant not to sue as a viable settlement device in joint tortfeasor actions. By this statutory adoption, Virginia became the last state to recognize, either by statute or judicial mandate, that a properly drawn covenant not to sue can act to release one or more tortfeasors without automatically releasing all those tortfeasors liable for the same injury or wrongful death. Judicial interpretations of the covenant not to sue, particularly those of California, Michigan and North Carolina, will be examined here in order to present salient factors for the Virginia practitioner to consider when drafting a covenant not to sue.
Linda F. Rigsby,
The Covenant Not to Sue: Virginia's Effort to Bury the Common Law Rule Regarding the Release of Joint Tortfeasors,
U. Rich. L. Rev.
Available at: http://scholarship.richmond.edu/lawreview/vol14/iss4/8