John Merrick

John Merrick

John Merrick always wanted to be a trial lawyer.

Well, let’s back up: He originally wanted to be a charter-fishing boat captain. But early in life, he discovered that a legal profession, and litigation in particular, provided an opportunity to help others — while also satisfying his competitive spirit.

John has tried dozens of cases in courts throughout the Commonwealth, handled multiple appeals, and argued successfully before the Virginia Supreme Court. John enjoys getting out of his comfort zone and seeking new challenges.

Prior to founding Merrick Brock, he spent more than a decade as a lawyer defending insurance companies. Over time he grew weary of witnessing firsthand the games they play, the holes they try to poke, and the tactics they use to defeat individuals and settle for far less than a case is worth. John decided to take that industry insight and use it to help his clients fight back against those tactics. Today, he represents people throughout Virginia who have been injured by harmful products, neglect, or negligence.

John’s experience includes a variety of personal injury cases, including products liability, premises liability, nursing home neglect, dog bites, and trucking and auto accidents. In addition to personal injury cases, he has experience with commercial disputes involving consumer fraud, defamation, breach of contract, construction disputes and property issues. After graduating from Sewanee – The University of the South, and prior to law school at the University of Richmond, he worked as a professional mate on sport-fishing boats in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and in the Gulf of Mexico. When he wasn’t fishing offshore, he was working in restaurants in Idaho to support his pursuit of trout and waterfowl.

John considers being an attorney part of his identity and lifelong development. He also considers his love of the outdoors, hunting and fishing in particular, part of that identity. John still holds on to that lifelong dream to have his own charter boat someday, but until then, is more than content taking his young son out on the water to catch blue crabs and small fish.

University of Richmond, J.D., cum laude 

  • Moot Court Board

The University of the South (Sewanee), B.A.

  • Order of Gownsmen (academic honor society)
  • Studied throughout China and at St. John’s College in Oxford, England
  • Division III golf and tennis teams

Virginia Business Legal Elite – Young Lawyer (under 40)

Virginia Super Lawyers – Rising Stars – Personal Injury Defense (General)

Young Lawyer of the Year Award – Richmond Bar Association:  2014

Lewis F. Powell, Jr., American Inns of Court, Executive Committee Member; Treasurer & Secretary

Richmond Bar Association

  • Finance Committee – Current Member
  • Judiciary Committee – Past Chair
  • Membership Committee – Past Chair
  • Bench Bar Conference Committee – Past Co-Chair
  • Young Lawyers Section Executive Committee – Past Chair

Virginia State Bar

  • Conference of Local and Specialty Bar Associations – Current Committee Member
  • Virginia State Bar Orientation and Admission Ceremony – Past Chair

Virginia Association of Defense Attorney

  • Chair for Products Liability Section – Past Chair
  • Auto & Transportation Liability Section – Past Chair
  • Executive Committee – Past Member

International Association of Defense Attorneys (IADC) – Past Member

Virginia State Bar

South Carolina State Bar

United States District Court for the Eastern & Western Districts of Virginia

United States District Court for the District of South Carolina

United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

Terry v. Irish Fleet, Inc., 296 Va. 129, 818 S.E.2d 788 (2018) (prevailed on issue of first impression involving the assumption of duty doctrine).

Kocen v. Piccadilly Restaurants, LLC, Civil Action No. 3:10CV921-HEH (E.D. Va., 2011) (summary judgment granted in premises liability case)

Obtained a favorable outcome for an individual who was injured from cargo flying off a tractor trailer on Interstate 95, shattering her windshield and causing significant injuries and inconvenience.

Obtained a favorable outcome for an individual who suffered nasal bone fractures after a tripping over a dangerous condition in a restaurant parking lot.

Obtained a favorable outcome through mediation for a victim of predatory lending practices.

Successfully mediated a products liability case involving a plaintiff who sustained a severe injury to his left hand from a shotgun blast.

Successfully mediated cases involving nursing homes sued for abuse and neglect.

Represented businesses and injured individuals in cases involving food poisoning or foreign items in food.

Represented a nursing home in case involving a resident who fell while being transported by a mechanical lift who later died from his injuries.

Represented a nursing home in cases involving residents who sustained injuries from falls due to negligent care.

Represented local and historic properties in premises liability actions involving building code violations, dangerous lighting conditions and/or construction defects that caused guests to fall and sustain significant injuries.

Obtained favorable outcomes in suits involving malicious prosecution.

Represented homeowners in cases involving fraud, negligence and/or breach of contract by contractors.

Represented real estate agents in various claims by buyers arising from alleged concealment of defects during and after sale.

Represented Homeowner’s Associations in suits by members over easement disputes.

Represented a sub-contractor in suit by developer alleging negligence and breach of contract.

Represented land surveyor in suit by excavation company alleging negligence.

Successfully mediated multiple personal injury suits involving cars, tractor trailers, bicycles, pedestrians and boats in addition to nursing home abuse and neglect, dog bites, and premises liability.

Resident of nursing home died as a result of neck injuries sustained from a fall during transfer. (Rockingham Co.)

Resident of nursing home fell due to negligence of the nursing home, causing significant injuries. (City of Lynchburg)

Pedestrian struck by automobile in grocery store parking lot, causing leg injuries. (Lee Co.)

Bicyclist (going full speed down a hill near UVA) struck a trailer pulled by a work truck after the truck pulled in front of the bicyclist’s path and stopped, causing a wreck and significant neck and back injuries. (City of Charlottesville)

Bicyclist struck by beer distribution truck after the driver opened his door into the path of the bicycle causing shoulder injuries and a permanent deformity. (City of Charlottesville)

Visitor fell over a hazardous single step that resulted in a broken wrist that required surgery. (City of Richmond)

Tractor trailer pulled out in front of a small auto, causing a wreck and a significant ankle injury to the driver. (King George Co.)

Plaintiff fell in a deep pit in an auto repair shop causing significant leg injuries. (Chesterfield Co.)

Restaurant visitor fell over a step in dimly lit restaurant causing severe hamstring injury and leg injury that required surgery. (City of Richmond)

Guest at apartment complex fell over a damaged brick step that caused a broken ankle that required surgery. (City of Norfolk)

Plaintiff fell in a car wash and sustained a severe knee injury that required surgery.  (Spotsylvania Co.)

Plaintiff fell in hole created by a missing water meter cover causing severe ankle injury. (City of Petersburg)

Auto accident causing shoulder injury that required surgery. (Nottoway Co.)

Auto accident causing severe neck and back injuries. (Powhatan Co.)

Auto accident causing soft tissue injuries. (Henrico Co.)

Auto accident causing soft tissue injuries. (City of Richmond)

Three personal injury cases arising from a single accident, consolidated and tried together. (Loudon Co.)

Auto accident causing soft tissue injuries. (Culpeper Co.)

Auto accident causing hip, neck and back injuries. (Chesterfield Co.)

The cases referenced above do not represent the lawyer’s entire record.  Each case must be evaluated on its own facts.  The outcome of a particular case cannot be based on past results.

Panelist: Not Just Posters Anymore: Effective Use of Exhibits, Videos, & Charts at Trial (VADA Spring Meeting 2016)

Panelist: Cases in the 21st Century – Impact of Generational Differences (VADA Annual Meeting 2016)

Ins & Outs of Jury Instructions for Auto & Premises Liability Cases (VADA Spring Meeting 2017)

Terry v. Irish Fleet, Inc. Marks a New Development in The Assumption of Duty Doctrine, While Serving as a Reminder About the Viability of a Demurrer (VADA Journal of Civil Litigation, Vol. XXX, No. 4)

Meet John

Big Lebowski and Raising Arizona.

Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follet. A Land Remembered, by Patrick D. Smith.

I am most often on the water with family and friends. From sitting on the beach, to offshore fishing, to hunting in muddy creeks and everything in between.

Working as a charter boat captain, preferably where the fishing is great and the seas are calm.

In grade school I played Benjamin Franklin in a musical called 1776, which is about the events surrounding the signing of the Declaration of Independence. I looked around and noticed that many of the key characters were lawyers. Knowing nothing about the practice of law, I thought “there must be something good about this profession.” In middle school I read the book, To Kill a Mockingbird, and decided that I wanted to be like the lead character, Atticus Finch, in order to help others.

(1) I spent over ten years of my career defending insurance companies and their insured, which gives me a unique insight into their perspective; (2) I have a strong desire to take cases to trial, because I truly enjoy it and want to win; (3) I have walked in many shoes, and with that life experience I am able to connect with a variety of people.

I am fiercely competitive, and my desire to win translates into a commitment to prepare. Preparing is neither easy nor glamorous, but I think it is the most important component of any trial.