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CITY OF MARTINSVILLE v. COMMONWEALTH BOULEVARD ASSOCIATES, LLC

A taxpayer is entitled to relief under Code § 58.1-3984 for real estate taxes erroneously assessed during the interim between general reassessments, and may challenge an annual levy of taxes without showing that the previous general reassessment, upon which the annual levy was based, was erroneous. An order reducing an assessment is affirmed.

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INOVA HEALTH SYSTEM v. GRANDIS

The circuit court erred in adjudicating matters concerning involuntary commitment of a patient to a hospital where the 180-day period of commitment permitted under Code § 37.1-67.3 had expired well before the court's challenged order was entered, and no further involuntary commitment petition had been filed. Under these circumstances, the court no longer had jurisdiction to adjudicate these matters. The judgment of the circuit court imposing certain requirements and an obligation to care for the patient upon the hospital is reversed and the hospital is dismissed from the proceeding.

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MCCLOSKEY v. KANE

The trial court erred in dismissing a wrongful death action against an emergency medical care provider at a state mental hospital based upon the doctrine of sovereign immunity. The Commonwealth's interest and involvement in the defendant doctor's functions was slight and its control limited. Therefore, defendant was not entitled to the protection of the doctrine of sovereign immunity from liability for his alleged negligent acts in treating the decedent, and the trial court erred in sustaining the defendant's plea of sovereign immunity. The judgment is reversed and the case is remanded for further proceedings.

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ALDERWOODS GROUP, INC. v. PARR

Several contemporaneously executed contracts relating to the acquisition of a funeral home business are treated as integrated in determining the enforceability of various provisions in the contracts after one party's default. The noncompetition provisions in a business management agreement and restrictive covenants in a related lease were unenforceable by a party which had defaulted on its payment obligations in the transaction. The judgment is affirmed in part, reversed in part, and final judgment is entered.

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BILLUPS v. CARTER

In two related actions under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging assault and battery by a prison employee who demanded unconsented sexual conduct, the trial court erred in sustaining the defendants? demurrers, pleas and motions to dismiss, dismissing the actions on statute of limitations and exhaustion of administrative remedies grounds, and denying a plaintiff?s motion to add the Commonwealth as a party defendant. The final orders in both cases are reversed and the cases are remanded to the trial court for further proceedings.

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UNION OF NEEDLETRADES v. JONES

In a common law defamation action by a former local union administrator against the union, the trial court erred in failing to grant the defendant union's motion to strike the evidence where the plaintiff failed to establish that an allegedly defamatory statement regarding indications of "financial malpractice" at the local union, made in a resolution adopted by the union's general executive board and sent to the officers of the local union, was false. The judgment of the trial court is reversed and final judgment entered for the defendant.

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SMITH v. IRVING, et al.

In the trial of a medical malpractice action in which the jury returned a verdict for the defendant physician, the circuit court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to permit the plaintiff to cross-examine the defendant regarding ?standard of care? issues not addressed by the defendant's testimony on direct examination. The judgment is affirmed.

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BOARD OF SUPERVISORS OF FAIRFAX COUNTY v. BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS OF FAIRFAX COUNTY, et al.

The circuit court correctly determined that a county board of supervisors had standing under Code § 15.2-2314 as a "person aggrieved" to seek reversal of a variance granted by the county's board of zoning appeals. However, because the applicable zoning restrictions did not interfere with all reasonable beneficial uses of the property at issue, that court erred in concluding that the variance was properly granted. The judgment is affirmed in part, reversed in part, and the case is remanded for entry of an order vacating the variance.

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COWAN v. HOSPICE SUPPORT CARE

The circuit court erred in sustaining a plea of charitable immunity to pleadings alleging gross negligence as well as willful and wanton negligence committed by volunteers of the defendant charity, a residential hospice facility. The public policy rationale shielding a charity from liability for acts of simple negligence does not extend to acts of gross negligence or acts of willful and wanton negligence. The judgment is reversed and the case is remanded.

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LINDEMAN v. LESNICK

In a defamation case, the trial court did not err in refusing to strike the evidence based on a claim that the defamatory statements were made by a workers' compensation award recipient to his counsel, long after the award of benefits was finalized. The judgment for the plaintiff is affirmed.

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COMMONWEALTH v. NORMAN

Sufficient evidence existed supporting a defendant's conviction for operating a motor vehicle after having been declared a habitual offender, second or subsequent offense, in violation of Code § 46.2-357, where a prior order issued by the circuit court restoring the defendant?s privilege to operate a motor vehicle on the condition that he fulfill certain requirements did not terminate his habitual offender status. The judgment of the Court of Appeals invalidating defendant's conviction and dismissing the indictment is reversed, and the defendant's conviction is reinstated.

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AUSTIN v. COMMONWEALTH

The Court of Appeals correctly upheld the circuit court's denial of a juvenile's motion to dismiss parole revocation proceedings because under Code § 16.1-241 the circuit court acquired subject matter jurisdiction over the matter upon the juvenile's appeal from the juvenile and domestic relations court, and the circuit court retained such jurisdiction under Code § 16.1-297 at the time when the parole revocation proceedings were initiated. The Court of Appeals' judgment is affirmed.

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HALIFAX CORPORATION v. WACHOVIA BANK

In a case seeking to impose liability upon a bank relating to embezzlement of an account holder's corporate funds by its own comptroller, the trial court did not err in granting summary judgment for the defendant bank because Code § 8.3A-406 does not create an affirmative cause of action, the plaintiff's common law claim for conversion has been displaced by Code § 8.3A-420(a), and plaintiff failed to allege sufficient facts to state a cause of action for aiding and abetting the embezzler's breach of fiduciary duty, assuming such an action exists. The judgment is affirmed.

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PEYTON v. COMMONWEALTH

The trial court abused its discretion in revoking the suspended sentence of a defendant who had been placed in an alternative sentencing program pursuant to Code § 19.2-316.2 and who was unable to complete that program due to an unforeseen medical condition. Such inability does not satisfy the definition of "intractable behavior" under the statute and in this case cannot reasonably be considered willful behavior on defendant's part. The judgment of the Court of Appeals affirming the trial court's revocation of defendant's suspended sentence is reversed and the case remanded for further proceedings.

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CITY OF CHESAPEAKE v. CUNNINGHAM

In a case concerning a municipality's liability for injuries allegedly caused by consumption of contaminated municipal drinking water, the trial court erred in denying the municipality's sovereign immunity plea. Planning and design decisions regarding upgrading of a water treatment plant and dissemination of information to the public regarding temporary health hazards associated with consuming municipal drinking water during the upgrade process were governmental functions of the municipality. The judgment of the trial court is affirmed in part, reversed in part, and final judgment is entered in the municipality's favor.

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CUNNINGHAM v. CITY OF CHESAPEAKE

In a case concerning a municipality's liability for injuries allegedly caused by consumption of contaminated municipal drinking water, the trial court erred in denying the municipality's sovereign immunity plea. Planning and design decisions regarding upgrading of a water treatment plant and dissemination of information to the public regarding temporary health hazards associated with consuming municipal drinking water during the upgrade process were governmental functions of the municipality. The judgment of the trial court is affirmed in part, reversed in part, and final judgment is entered in the municipality's favor.

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NELSON v. COMMONWEALTH

In a prosecution for sexual offenses against a minor, the Court of Appeals did not err in ruling that the trial court correctly reviewed sensitive medical records of the victim in camera and properly refused to allow examination of the records by the defendant, and the Court of Appeals did not err in ruling that the trial court correctly declined to conduct a hearing regarding allegations of a juror's possible bias. The judgment is affirmed.

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CHANDLER v. GRAFFEO

In a medical malpractice case, the trial court erred in admitting a medical malpractice review panel's opinion favoring the defense and testimony of its members into evidence when that opinion was not timely rendered under Code § 8.01-581.7:1, permitting two panel members to testify as experts for the defense, granting jury instructions on the issue of contributory negligence, and allowing the defendant physician to recite the out-of-court opinion of a non-testifying physician as to the applicable standard of care. The judgment is reversed and the case remanded for further proceedings.

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COVIL v. COMMONWEALTH

The circumstances properly considered by the trial court were sufficient to support defendant's conviction for grand larceny resulting from possession of recently stolen property. The judgment of the Court of Appeals upholding the conviction is affirmed.

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DANIEL v. COMMONWEALTH

The trial court did not err in concluding that an assault and battery charge taken under advisement for one year, and later dismissed, was not ?otherwise dismissed? as contemplated by Code § 19.2-392.2(A)(2), and it properly denied a petition for expungement on that ground. Further, the statute does not contemplate a hearing to permit the petitioner to assert his innocence of the original criminal charge. The judgment is affirmed.

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WINSTON v. COMMONWEALTH

No error is found in review of three counts of capital murder and related felony convictions. Issues concerning appointment of defense experts, seating and removal of jurors, admission of evidence, in-court identification testimony, jury instructions and verdict forms, malice, concerted action/joint participation, depravity of mind, lesser included offenses, as well as sufficiency of the evidence, double jeopardy, and mental retardation issues are considered. Sentence proportionality issues are also addressed. The defendant's convictions and death sentences are affirmed.

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AMSTUTZ v. EVERETT JONES LUMBER CORP.

In two collected suits involving asserted prescriptive easement rights over a roadway on private land, there was not credible evidence to support the circuit court finding that a lumber company and an adjoining landowner had established such an easement under the clear and convincing evidence standard. Use of the roadway was not of sufficient continuity to give notice to the owners of the putative servient tenement that an easement was being exercised for agricultural, forestry, timbering or logging purposes. The judgment of the circuit court granting the prescriptive easement is reversed.

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TUCKER v. COMMONWEALTH

Because under Code § 18.2-102 the crime of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle is committed upon the ?use? of a vehicle without the owner?s consent, regardless of whether initial possession of the vehicle was obtained by a trespassory taking, the Court of Appeals' judgment allowing defendant's conviction for this offense to stand is affirmed.

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PARR v. ALDERWOODS GROUP, INC.

Several contemporaneously executed contracts relating to the acquisition of a funeral home business are treated as integrated in determining the enforceability of various provisions in the contracts after one party's default. The noncompetition provisions in a business management agreement and restrictive covenants in a related lease were unenforceable by a party which had defaulted on its payment obligations in the transaction. The judgment is affirmed in part, reversed in part, and final judgment is entered.

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LOWE v. CUNNINGHAM

The trial court abused its discretion in denying plaintiff's motion for a mistrial in a personal injury case, where, on cross-examination, defense counsel deliberately and improperly posed an inherently prejudicial and irrelevant question to plaintiff regarding his past failure to pay child support. The trial court's judgment is reversed and the case is remanded for a new trial limited to the issues of damages.

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RINER v. COMMONWEALTH

The Court of Appeals did not err in affirming a judgment under which defendant was convicted for the first degree murder of his wife, arson of their marital home, and petit larceny. Issues pertaining to change of venue motions, use of a private attorney to assist a public prosecutor, admissibility of double hearsay evidence consisting of a statement made by the decedent to a co-worker recounting a death threat allegedly made by the defendant, admissibility of pawn shop transaction records, and sufficiency of the evidence supporting an arson conviction are discussed. The Court of Appeals' judgment, and the defendant's convictions, are affirmed.

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DEPT. OF MEDICAL ASSISTANCE SERV. v. BEVERLY HEALTHCARE

The Court of Appeals correctly held that Code § 2.2-4030(A) permits each prevailing party in a consolidated case contesting an agency action to recover up to $25,000 in attorneys? fees, and did not err in affirming the trial court's judgment that five claims brought by four healthcare providers were barred by the regulatory limitations period set by former 12 VAC § 30-90-131. The Court of Appeals' judgment is affirmed and the case remanded to the trial court for a determination of the reasonable attorneys? fees to be awarded each of the individual providers up to a maximum of $25,000.

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AMERICAN SAFETY CASUALTY INSURANCE CO. v. C.G. MITCHELL CONSTRUCTION, INC.

The circuit court did not err in entering judgment in favor of a payment bond claimant and against a surety in an action for recovery on the bond, where the surety had notice of the underlying breach of contract claim against its principal and the right and opportunity to defend its principal against such claim, but permitted a judgment by default to be taken against its principal on the underlying claim. Under these circumstances, the judgment by default was binding upon and conclusive as to the surety. The circuit court?s judgment is affirmed.

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FRIDAY-SPIVEY v. COLLIER

In a personal injury action arising from a collision between plaintiff's vehicle and a fire truck, the truck driver was not entitled to sovereign immunity. The crew was responding to a dispatch involving an infant locked in a vehicle but defendant knew this was a low priority dispatch and knew there was no danger. Defendant acknowledged that he was required to conform to all traffic laws. On these facts, he was not exercising judgment and discretion beyond that necessary in an ordinary driving situation - a ministerial act - and was not entitled to sovereign immunity for claims of alleged negligence. The judgment of the circuit court is reversed.

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LOFTON RIDGE LLC v. NORFOLK SOUTHERN RWY. CO.

The trial court erred in dismissing with prejudice, based on the doctrine of judicial estoppel, plaintiff?s suit for declaratory and injunctive relief concerning an easement across land owned by the defendant, where the parties in plaintiff's separate action against its attorneys and land surveyor were not the same as the parties in the present action. The judgment is reversed and the case is remanded for further proceedings.

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GAMACHE v. ALLEN

In an action for medical negligence, the circuit court erred by refusing to permit defendants to cross-examine plaintiff and his witnesses on certain issues relating to plaintiff's claim for damages. The portion of the judgment confirming the defendants' negligence is affirmed, and the case is remanded for a new trial limited to the issues of proximate causation and damages.

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GREATER RICHMOND TRANSIT CO. v. MASSEY

In a personal injury case arising out of the collision of a passenger vehicle and a city bus, the trial court properly permitted plaintiff to introduce an absent nonparty witness?s deposition into evidence under Rule 4:7(a)(4) where plaintiff was unable to obtain the witness's attendance by subpoena and there was no evidence that plaintiff had procured his absence, and correctly refused proposed instructions on contributory negligence where the record established that in rising from her seat as the bus approached her stop, plaintiff acted merely as an ordinary, reasonable passenger would have acted. The judgment is affirmed.

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POWELL v. COMMONWEALTH

Defendant's convictions for use of a firearm while committing three felonies in violation of Code § 18.2-53.1 were neither plainly wrong, nor without evidence to support them, despite evidence of defendant's actions during a robbery that conflicted with the inference that he had a gun, and evidence that no gun was seen or found. The trier of fact properly considered all the evidence. The judgment of the Court of Appeals affirming the defendant's convictions is affirmed.

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NORTON v. CITY OF DANVILLE

In an appeal from a denial of a certificate of appropriateness required under city architectural review ordinances, the trial court lacked jurisdiction to consider plaintiff?s challenges to the validity of the ordinances and incorrectly held that the city council's refusal to grant the certificate was a fairly debatable action where the council failed to meet its evidentiary burden to demonstrate that its action was reasonable. The judgment of the trial court is reversed.

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BRADDOCK v. BOARD OF SUPERVISORS

In a suit challenging a locality's rezoning decision, the trial court correctly ruled that plaintiff lacked standing to initiate the suit and that this defect could not be cured by adding of parties having standing after the 30-day statutory limitation period for challenging rezoning decisions set by Code § 15.2-2285(F) had expired. The judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

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GENERAL MOTORS CORP. v. COMMONWEALTH

The trial court erred in ruling that the Department of Taxation's interpretation of the term ?cost of performance,? as embodied in 23 VAC § 10-120-250, was not plainly inconsistent with the use of that term in Code § 58.1-418 for purposes of determining the Virginia taxable income of a financial corporation. The judgment of the trial court is reversed and the case remanded for entry of an appropriate order consistent with the views expressed in this opinion and the prior stipulations of the parties.

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ALLFIRST TRUST CO. v. COUNTY OF LOUDOUN

In an annexation case, a special three-judge court erred in ruling that defects in an initial annexation petition filed with the Commission on Local Government could not be cured by subsequent corrective filings, but correctly held that landowners seeking to initiate annexation proceedings under Code § 15.2-3203 concerning non-contiguous territories must, as a jurisdictional requirement, constitute 51% of the "owners of real estate in number and land area" within each separate territory. The special court's order dismissing the landowners' petition for failure to satisfy this requirement is affirmed.

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QUATANNENS v. TYRRELL

In a dispute over a narrow strip of land between adjoining landowners, the trial court erred in concluding that the plaintiffs failed to establish ownership of the disputed land by adverse possession, where the evidence showed that despite not knowing that their property did not in fact include the disputed land, plaintiffs and their predecessors in interest had used and enclosed the land and had constructed and maintained a portion of a room of their residence, a brick archway, and a walkway on it for a period of time satisfying the minimum period set by Code § 8.01-236. The judgment of the trial court is reversed and the case is remanded.

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SHOOSMITH BROS., INC. v. COUNTY OF CHESTERFIELD

In a dispute concerning a county's tax assessment of real property used as a landfill, the trial court did not err in concluding that the taxpayer failed to show either that the county committed manifest error in assessing the property based on the income method or that the county ignored controlling evidence in determining the fair market value of the property. The judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

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