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Opinion Digests

Va. Cir.: Qualified immunity doesn’t bar gross negligence (access required)

A Norfolk police officer was immune from negligence claims arising from his operation of a marine vessel that capsized, but claims against him asserting gross negligence could go to trial. Background In January 2014, the City of Norfolk contracted with ...

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EDVA: Solitary confinement was cruel and unusual (access required)

The Eastern District enjoined the Department of Corrections from reverting back to solitary-confinement conditions for Virginia death-row inmates prior to 2015, as such conditions violate the Eighth Amendment. Background Plaintiffs Thomas Porter, Anthony Juniper, and Mark Lawlor have been convicted ...

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4th Cir.: Intervenor’s claim to seized cash not plausible (access required)

A man alleging that $200,000 found in a storage unit was his life savings did not have standing to claim it in a civil-forfeiture proceeding, as his financial difficulties contradicted his ability to save such a sum. Background In 2014, ...

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WDVA: Law firm’s time-barred debt action is triable FDCPA violation (access required)

A law firm that initiated a lawsuit to collect a debt owed to its client could be found liable for a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, since the action was time-barred. The law firm’s assertion of the ...

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SCV: Expert testimony didn’t show causation in med-mal suit (access required)

The plaintiff’s medical expert, who was preferred only to opine on the standard of care in performing a hysterectomy, could not present testimony on whether and how the patient’s outcome would have been different had the defendant called for a ...

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CAV: No interlocutory review in Tesla litigation (access required)

The court of appeals lacked jurisdiction to review the order of a circuit court, acting in its appellate capacity, finding that the appellant had standing to litigate the action. Background Appellant Tesla Inc. sought to open a manufacturer-owned dealership in ...

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Va. Cir.: Qualified immunity doesn’t bar gross negligence (access required)

A Norfolk police officer was immune from negligence claims arising from his operation of a marine vessel that capsized, but claims against him asserting gross negligence could go to trial. Background In January 2014, the City of Norfolk contracted with ...

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4th Cir.: Officer’s history of excessive force admissible (access required)

An officer’s conviction for injuring an arrestee was affirmed, in part because the officer’s past conduct toward individuals he perceived as disrespecting law enforcement was probative of his state of mind during the events giving rise to the crime. Background ...

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4th Cir.: Travel ban’s third iteration likely unconstitutional (access required)

The appellate court affirmed a nationwide preliminary injunction on the Trump administration’s travel ban, which the district court held was a likely violation of the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious freedoms. Background Seven days after taking office, President Donald Trump ...

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4th Cir.: NC voluntary manslaughter requires volition (access required)

Federal law permitted harsher sentencing for a defendant’s drug crimes because his prior conviction for voluntary manslaughter in North Carolina qualified as a “violent felony” under the applicable statute. In sentencing Appellant Antoine Smith for drug-possession convictions, the district court ...

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