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Author Archives: Peter Vieth

The cost of smoking (access required)

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A Norfolk Circuit Court jury returned a $5 million asbestos verdict for the family of a deceased railroad employee, but cut the verdict to $1 million based on the employee’s smoking habit. The reduction was possible under rules for railroad ...

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Novak is Trump choice for federal court (access required)

President Donald Trump has announced his intent to nominate U.S. Magistrate Judge David J. Novak to serve as a district judge for the Eastern District of Virginia. Novak, who sits in Richmond, was widely recommended for the seat of U.S. ...

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Ex-prosecutor accepts reprimand over courtroom fracas (access required)

A heated dispute about a collection of case summaries has led to an agreed public reprimand against a former commonwealth’s attorney. Ladysmith attorney Anthony G. “Tony” Spencer, the former Caroline County commonwealth’s attorney, acknowledged that his behavior in the 2015 ...

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Assembly expands sanctions for spoliation (access required)

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Penalties for missing evidence could become more common in Virginia courts. Legislation now awaiting approval by Gov. Ralph Northam would allow juries to infer that missing evidence is unfavorable if a party handled the evidence in a “reckless” manner. In ...

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Skip that handwritten order – there’s an app for that now (access required)

Litigation lawyers throughout Virginia can benefit from the idea of a Fairfax County judge who conceived a digital solution to those hastily scrawled hearing orders. A smart phone application now allows practitioners to craft custom printed orders reflecting a judge’s ...

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Expert barred on defendant’s mental state (access required)

Short of an insanity plea, criminal defendants may not bring experts into court to testify about their mental state, the Court of Appeals has reaffirmed. In a March 5 published opinion, the court underscored its ruling last year in a ...

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Probation officer could not modify judge’s specific terms (access required)

An offender barred from unsupervised contact with children by the terms of his criminal sentence was not subject to revocation of his suspended sentence on the basis of a stricter requirement imposed by a probation officer, the Court of Appeals ...

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Bill closes ‘malpractice trap’ in contract actions (access required)

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Legislation approved by the General Assembly should close a little-noticed gap in the statutes that set out Virginia’s limitations periods for contract actions. The well-understood general rule for Virginia contract actions is that the deadline is five years for a ...

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