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Monthly Archives: September 2006

JONATHAN SCOTT TOWNER v. PAULETTE MOORE TOWNER

Trial court did not err in finding money received by appellee from her parents were loans and not gifts and in awarding attorney?s fees to appellee; trial court erred in ruling the evidence was sufficient to retrace appellee?s separate property; that part of the judgment pertaining to the equitable distribution award is reversed and this matter is remanded to the trial court

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PAMELA COX v. WISE COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES

Trial court did not err by granting the department of social services full custody of appellant?s child at the same time it terminated appellant?s parental rights; this Court cannot consider appellant?s argument that the trial court failed to determine whether the department of social services had followed proper procedures as appellant failed to preserve this issue for appeal

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GERMAINE DELANO ADAMS v. COMMONWEALTH

Trial court did not err in admitting the items seized from appellant?s residence under the good faith exception to the exclusionary rule; trial court?s admission of evidence from a gun manufacturer?s catalog was harmless error

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BARRETT v. VIRGINIA STATE BAR (121818)

Concerning charges of attorney misconduct, that part of a judgment of a three-judge court holding that certain actions taken by an attorney during his divorce proceeding violated Rules 4.4, 8.4(b), 3.1 and 3.4 of the Rules of Professional Conduct is affirmed, but that part holding that his actions regarding representation of a personal injury client and an ensuing legal malpractice action violated Rules 1.1 and 1.3 is reversed. The sanction imposed is vacated and the case remanded for consideration of an appropriate sanction for the affirmed violations.

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MILES v. COMMONWEALTH (121817)

When strictly construed, the provisions of Code § 37.2-903(C), a part of the Civil Commitment of Sexually Violent Predators Act, Code §§ 37.2-900 through -919, require that an inmate evaluated with a designated testing instrument receive, as a condition precedent, a particular numerical score in order for the Commonwealth to initiate proceedings to have him declared a sexually violent predator under the Act. The judgment is reversed and the Commonwealth's petition is dismissed with prejudice.

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TODAY HOMES, INC. v. WILLIAMS (121816)

In a case involving alleged arrogation of a corporate opportunity by two officers of the plaintiff corporation, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed in part, and reversed in part, and the case is remanded. Issues involving the corporate opportunity doctrine and the fiduciary duties of officers of a corporation are discussed.

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DREHER v. BUDGET RENT-A-CAR SYSTEM, INC. (121815)

A New York Vehicle and Traffic Law provision imposing vicarious liability on a vehicle owner for injuries caused by a permissive operator's negligence concerns a matter of contract. Comity principles and Virginia's choice of law rules thus require its application in Virginia litigation arising out of an accident occurring in Virginia involving a vehicle rented under a contract entered in New York. As a result, the circuit court?s judgment applying Virginia law to hold that two vehicle rental companies would have no vicarious liability based on their ownership of the vehicle is reversed. The case is remanded for further proceedings.

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HOFFMAN FAMILY, L.L.C. v. CITY OF ALEXANDRIA (121814)

The circuit court correctly concluded that a city's condemnation of land to relocate a box culvert for its storm water management system, deemed necessary by the city to permit private development of an adjoining parcel in a manner consistent with the city's comprehensive plan, was for a public use contemplated under Code § 15.2-2109. The fact that such condemnation benefits an adjoining property owner is irrelevant, since the condemned property will be used exclusively as part of a public utility system built and controlled by the city. The judgment is affirmed.

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WHITE DOG PUBLISHING v. CULPEPER BD. OF SUP. (121813)

In considering certain newspaper publishers' application for a writ of mandamus, the circuit court erred in finding that a county board of supervisors did not violate the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by going into a closed session at a particular meeting and erred in failing to award reasonable costs and attorney's fees under the Act. Because the purpose of the closed session was not the formation or modifications of a procurement contract, it did not fall within FOIA's statutory public contract exemption under Code § 2.2-3711(A)(30), and special circumstances did not make an award of fees and costs unjust. The judgment is reversed and the case is remanded.

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BIO-MEDICAL APPLICATIONS OF VA v. COSTON (121812)

In a medical malpractice case, after briefing and oral argument of defendant's motion for summary judgment concerning the absence of any expert witness supporting plaintiff's claims, the trial judge announced a ruling for the defendant and invited further comments of counsel. Plaintiff's attempt to take a nonsuit at that time came too late. The trial court's ruling allowing a nonsuit is reversed and the case is remanded for further proceedings.

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DAVIS v. COMMONWEALTH (121811)

The judgment of the Court of Appeals of Virginia, which denied the defendant's petition for appeal from his conviction in a bench trial for object sexual penetration pursuant to Code § 18.2-67.2(A) over his contention that the evidence was insufficient to establish the necessary element of penetration owing to the fact that the victim, a law enforcement officer, was wearing pants and underwear at the time of the contact, is affirmed.

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GOWIN v. GRANITE DEPOT (121810)

In a derivative suit brought by a member of a limited liability company whose membership was terminated due to nonpayment of a promissory note, the trial court correctly held that the manager's waiver of payment did not bind the company and that amendment of the articles of organization to permit such termination did not breach any fiduciary duty. However, since the note was a demand note and no demand for payment had been made, the membership at issue could not be terminated for nonpayment, and plaintiff therefore remains a member of the company. The judgment is affirmed in part and reversed in part, and the case is remanded for further proceedings.

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