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The Weekly Recap: Week of Nov. 2

Lots of news was committed this week, with the statewide GOP sweep on Election Day and an interesting batch of opinions from the Supreme Court of Virginia on Thursday. Here’s the weekly recap:

Expungement

There’s a word you don’t hear very often in a political campaign. But in a Northern Virginia House of Delegates race, the incumbent Dem, Paul Nichols, was hopping mad that his GOP challenger, Richard Anderson, ran ads that Nichols had been arrested for, among other things, assaulting a cop. Nichols hit back that a judge had dismissed all charges and that he had had the records expunged. A special prosecutor is investigating whether Anderson’s campaign broke the law. (News & Messenger). By the way, Anderson prevailed on Tuesday night, by a 200-vote margin.

Hamilton goes down

Del. Phil Hamilton, R-Newport News, has been in the headlines for several months, and not in a favorable light. He became the subject of a House ethics investigation after it became public that he sought a job at Old Dominion University while he was seeking the appropriation that funded the position. After 21 years, voters told him to sit down and sent a political rookie, consumer lawyer Robin Abbott to Richmond. (The Virginian-Pilot)

High court highlights

The Supremes dropped 20 opinions on Nov. 5, one of which was a mulligan on a case from Henrico County involving a teen’s death and the duty owed by one set of parents to another for the girl’s safety. In Kellerman v. McDonough, the high court reheard the case then reached essentially the same result. The matter now will proceed to trial. (The VLW Blog)

The high court also censured Virginia Beach J&DR Judge Ramona Taylor for thwarting a juvenile’s right to appeal a bond ruling. (The VLW Blog)

And although former Norfolk Circuit Judge Chuck Griffith isn’t on the bench anymore, the Supreme Court still has him to kick around. In two cases in which Griffith found lawyers in contempt, the court reversed. (The VLW Blog)

Sign o’ the times

Trend Alert: We’ve been hearing anecdotally all year long that large law firms have been staffing their cases more leanly to cut costs to clients. Where before there might be four lawyers on a big case (a lead partner, a junior partner, a senior associate and a briefcase toter), now you’ll find maybe two lawyers instead. Then along comes a report that some firms are sending younger, less experienced associates to court to save money for clients. (NPR)

Miller tapped

The judges in the Eastern District have selected Newport News lawyer Douglas E. Miller to be the new federal magistrate judge based in Newport News and Norfolk. He succeeds U.S. Magistrate Judge James E. Bradberry, who is retiring. (The Virginian-Pilot)

County takes a $9 million hit

The owners of a mobile home park in Campbell County were awarded a $9 million verdict by a jury; the park owners claimed that chemicals from a county landfill next door had polluted the drinking water of park residents. A claim for attorneys’ fees is pending. (The News & Advance)

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