May the Administrator Appeal pro se?
The third of the Virginia Supreme Court's recent opinions in our four-part installment also turned on standing or, more accurately, lack of standing. In Hawthorne v. VanMarter, the decedent’s administrator was represented as a plaintiff by licensed counsel in the trial court on a claim of negligence for personal injuries. After the jury trial resulted in a defense verdict, the administrator of the estate appealed “pro se.” The Virginia Supreme Court considered the appellee’s objection to the estate’s appeal, holding that, under Virginia law, the administrator could not mount an appeal pro se but must be represented by licensed counsel. The cause of action at issue belonged to the beneficiaries of the estate, which the administrator only served in a representative capacity. The court dismissed the administrator’s pro se appeal.