Edwards to get day in court

Published 3:17 pm Wednesday, March 4, 2020

By Diana McFarland


Edwards Virginia Smokehouse’s case against its insurance companies — now in its fourth year —  is scheduled to go before a Surry County jury in February 2021. 

The Virginia Supreme Court last month reversed a decision by the Surry Circuit Court, that in 2017 had dismissed all but two of Edwards’ counts against its insurance carriers, Selective Way Insurance Company, Middle Peninsula Insurance Agency and Manry-Rawls LLC.

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“I feel good that we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. But it’s painstakingly slow,” said owner Sam Edwards of the judicial process. 

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Edwards Virginia Smokehouse burned down in January 2016, and Edwards filed suit against the insurance carriers, alleging that they had failed to adequately insure the facilities. The original case sought $85 million in damages. 

The 90-year old smokehouse, plant and business was one of Surry’s major employers at the time. Since the fire, the company has farmed out its products, including its renowned Surryano ham, to ham makers in other parts of the country. 

“It’s helped us to survive, but it’s not sustainable,” said Edwards. 

Edwards said he still plans to rebuilt, once the suit is settled.

“The fourth generation are in their 30s, they’re ready to go,” said Edwards of the business that began with his grandfather, S. Wallace Edwards. The elder Edwards had sold homemade ham sandwiches on the Jamestown-Scotland ferry while he was captain and it grew from there. {/mprestriction}