Despite its widespread and long-standing recognition as a valuable docket-control device, the bifurcation of issues in civil trials has generated considerable debate among legal scholars and judges. The state and federal courts both utilize bifurcation, andthe Supreme Court of Appeals in Virginia recognized the advantages of the procedural device as early as 1915. Nonetheless, authority for the bifurcation of issues in civil trials in Virginia has remained clouded. The Supreme Court of Virginia lifted at least some of the clouds when it decided Allstate Insurance Co. v. Wade, thereby rejecting the position taken in an amicus curiae brief filed by the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association that bifurcation is not authorized under Virginia law. The court further clarified the law of bifurcation when it issued its January 16, 2009 opinion in Centra Health, Inc. v. Mullins. Nevertheless, some doubts remain about the availability of the procedure in Virginia.
John P. Rowley III & Richard G. Moore,
Bifurcation of Civil Trials,
U. Rich. L. Rev.
Available at: https://scholarship.richmond.edu/lawreview/vol45/iss1/3