Type of action: Defamation
Injuries alleged: Injuries to reputation
Name of case: Wadnola v. City of Norfolk
Court: Norfolk Circuit Court
Case no.: CL22-8500
Tried before: Jury
Name of judge or mediator: Judge Everett A. Martin Jr.
Date resolved: 4/25/2023
Verdict or settlement: Verdict
Attorney for plaintiff: W. Barry Montgomery, Richmond
Description of case: Plaintiff owned a commercial building in downtown Norfolk and leased her building to a local restaurant owner. Norfolk issued criminal zoning violation notices to both plaintiff Stephanie Wadnola and her commercial tenant. Both charges failed and were voluntarily dismissed by Norfolk. After dismissing the criminal charge against the plaintiff’s commercial tenant, while walking out of the court, an attorney with the Norfolk City’s Attorney’s office pulled the tenant aside and told them that the tenant had been charged with a crime because the plaintiff had been operating her business illegally. Norfolk denied ever making the statement. Plaintiff presented evidence that she had not operated the building illegally and presented a former city of Norfolk assistant fire marshal to testify as to her good reputation as a business owner.
Norfolk moved the court to dismiss the case based on sovereign immunity. The court denied the motion and the case proceeded to trial. The jury deliberated for about two hours and returned the verdict in favor of the plaintiff.
Plaintiff’s counsel W. Barry Montgomery provided case information.