Va. justices rule lawyer had no duty to warn investigator who was slain while serving papers

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RICHMOND, Virginia — The Virginia Supreme Court says a lawyer who hired a private investigator to serve divorce papers had no duty to warn him that the defendant might be armed and dangerous.

Thursday's unanimous ruling upholds a judge's decision to dismiss a wrongful death claim against attorney Sherwin John Jacobs in Rockingham County.

Debara D. Brown filed the complaint after her husband, Greg Brown, was shot to death in 2011 while trying to serve divorce papers on Ali Abid of Weyers Cave. The justices ruled that the attorney and the investigator did not have a "special relationship" that required Jacobs to warn Brown about the potential danger.

The investigator's widow also sued Abid and won a $3 million judgment. Police have said Abid left the country the same day Brown disappeared.

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