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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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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.

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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.

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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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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.

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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.

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Walker v. American Ass'n of Prof. Eye Care Specialists

The trial court erred in concluding that an attorney, by delivering to the trial court clerk's office a pleading signed by a pro se plaintiff, became "counsel of record." The court erred in dismissing the motion for judgment with prejudice for being improperly signed by the individual party. The judgment is reversed and the motion for judgment is reinstated on the trial court's docket. The case is remanded.

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Gray v. Rhoads

In a case arising from the fatal shooting of plaintiff's decedent by a police officer, the circuit court erred by refusing to allow plaintiff to introduce into evidence the transcripts of audio-recorded statements by certain police officers as party admissions in the plaintiff?s case-in-chief. The judgment is reversed and the case is remanded for a new trial.

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Commonwealth v. Sanchez

The Court of Appeals erred in finding that a hit-and-run defendant's conclusory proffer in support of a request for additional funds to secure trial testimony from a DNA expert showed the required ?particularized need.? The trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying the defendant's request. The judgment of the Court of Appeals is reversed and defendant?s conviction is reinstated.

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Barrett v. Commonwealth

The evidence was sufficient to sustain the defendant's conviction under Code § 18.2-371.1(A) of a Class 4 felony for criminal neglect of her ten-month-old son, resulting in his death, and her conviction pursuant to Code § 18.2-371.1(B) of a Class 6 felony for criminal neglect of her daughter, aged two years and ten months. Changes in the charges after a prior reversal of her convictions were not shown to be vindictive, and the trial court correctly refused to quash the additional indictment. The convictions are affirmed.

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Johnson v. Windsor Insurance Company

The trial court erred in ruling under Code § 38.2-2204 that an insurer was not required to provide automobile liability coverage for a named insured alleged to have negligently entrusted the insured vehicle to a permissive user where the insurer had already paid the "per person" policy limit in settlement of a negligence claim against the permissive user. The judgment is reversed and the case remanded.

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Shilling v. Jimenez

The trial court did not err in sustaining a demurrer to an action by two landowners, aggrieved by the local governing body's approval of a subdivision of neighboring property, attacking that approval indirectly by suit against the subdividers and their successors in title. The judgment is affirmed.

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Christian v. Surgical Specialists of Richmond

The trial court erred in refusing to qualify as an expert witness a physician called by a medical malpractice plaintiff, after hearing evidence about his familiarity with the standard of care in Virginia. The judgment is reversed and the case is remanded.

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Waikoloa Ltd. Partnership v. Arkwright

In a case involving four limited partnerships, the chancellor correctly held that dissolution occurred when a managing partner's physical condition amounted to effective retirement, and that under express terms of the parties' agreements it was the remaining general partner's duty to sell or liquidate the assets of the partnerships. However, the chancellor erred in ruling that a successor partnership was required to make payments to limited partners in the original four partnerships based on a particular appraisal. The judgment is affirmed in part, reversed in part, and final judgment is entered.

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Barris v. Keswick Homes, L.L.C.

The trial court erred in ruling that a lot in a residential subdivision is no longer subject to a restrictive covenant prohibiting resubdivision without prior written consent of three-fourths of the current lot owners. The judgment is reversed and the case remanded for further proceedings.

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McGehee v. Edwards

The trial court erred in concluding that the term "direct lineal descendants" used in certain inter vivos trusts created prior to 1978 includes adopted persons. The decree is reversed and final judgment is entered.

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Brake v. Payne

After a plaintiff who lacked standing to bring an action took a nonsuit, the circuit court ruled correctly in a second action ? by a proper plaintiff ? in allowing a nonsuit as a matter of right because the plaintiff without standing and the proper plaintiff in the second action were not suing in the same right. However, the court erred by entering that nonsuit order nunc pro tunc to a date 18 months earlier when the motion for nonsuit was filed. The judgment is affirmed in part, reversed in part, and the case is remanded.

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Turner v. Caplan

In a case concerning whether the pasturing of a horse within a residential subdivision either violated certain restrictive covenants and exceptions thereto set out in a recorded declaration, or constituted an enjoinable nuisance, the trial court erred in its interpretation of the legal effect of the covenants and exceptions. While it did not err in finding that a nuisance existed, the court erred in the scope of the remedy it prescribed on that basis. The case reversed in part and affirmed in part, and remanded to the trial court.

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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.

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