Home / Fulltext Opinions / Supreme Court of Virginia (page 60)

Supreme Court of Virginia

Feed Subscription

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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

FRAZIER v. COMMONWEALTH

The Court of Appeals did not err in upholding the defendant's conviction for aiding and abetting her boyfriend's failure to appear in court for his drug/weapons trial, or in ruling that defendant's own testimony, given at her boyfriend's trial for failure to appear, was admissible in her own case under Code § 19.2-270 because it was given in her own behalf as well as in her boyfriend's behalf. The judgment of the Court of Appeals upholding the defendant's conviction is affirmed.

Read More »

MICROSTRATEGY INC. v. LI

The chancellor did not err in holding that a corporate plaintiff failed to meet its burden of proving that the defendants, two former employees and one of plaintiff's indirect competitors, misappropriated certain alleged trade secrets within the meaning of the Virginia Uniform Trade Secrets Act. The chancellor's judgment is affirmed.

Read More »

JONES v. STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTO. INS. CO.

The trial court correctly held that territorial limitations of the defendants' automobile insurance policies pertaining to coverage for medical expenses are clear, unambiguous and reasonable and do not violate Code § 38.2-2201. The judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

INDIANA INSURANCE GUARANTY ASS'N V. GROSS

Defendant's motion to dismiss appeals from two orders entered by the State Corporation Commission is appropriate because the orders appealed from are not final. The motion is granted and the appeals are dismissed without prejudice.

Read More »

Stottlemyer v. Ghramm

In a medical negligence action, the circuit court did not err in refusing to permit the plaintiff to cross-examine the defendant physician regarding alleged prior acts of negligence and misconduct. The judgment is affirmed.

Read More »

Rose v. Jaques

In a personal injury action, the trial court did not err in granting the parties the right to file, pursuant to Code § 8.01-428(C), a notice of appeal from an earlier order entering judgment, and therefore defendant's notice of appeal was timely filed. Issues concerning plaintiff's contributory negligence, the trial court's questioning of a witness, availability of damages for deposition-related stress, exclusion of evidence, propriety of closing argument, and excessiveness of the verdict are addressed. The judgment is affirmed.

Read More »

Friendly Ice Cream Corp. v. Beckner

In a suit to rescind a commercial lease amendment, the lessor was not entitled to a presumption of undue influence, and the chancellor erred in granting rescission based on such a presumption, where the record was insufficient to support either the finding that the lessor had a confidential relationship with the lessee's representative or that the amendment was either given in exchange for grossly inadequate consideration or was obtained under suspicious circumstances. The decree rescinding the lease amendment is reversed and final judgment is entered in favor of the lessee.

Read More »

Atkinson v. Penske Logistics, LLC

The trial court did not err in concluding that a waiver of uninsured motorist insurance coverage higher than the statutory minimum by a single named insured on a business vehicle insurance policy is binding upon all other named insureds on the policy under Code § 38.2-2206. The judgment is affirmed.

Read More »
Scroll To Top