Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

The SCoVA Blog

Jan 2, 2020

High court agrees school’s fee requirement was unconscionable

A private school requirement that parents pay legal costs for both sides in court disputes was an “unconscionable” contract provision, the Supreme Court of Virginia has agreed. The court on Jan. 2 affirmed the ruling of a Fairfax County judge that the Flint Hill School in Oakton was overreaching in its demand that parents agree […]

Sep 8, 2019

Chafin is sworn in to Supreme Court

Southwest Virginia’s newest voice on the Virginia Supreme Court bench took the oath of office Sept. 6 in Abingdon. Teresa M. Chafin, of Russell County, moved from the state Court of Appeals to the Supreme Court, taking the place of just-retired Justice Elizabeth A. McClanahan, a Grundy native, who spoke at the investiture ceremony at […]

Aug 30, 2019

Court ends month with torrent of opinions

The impending retirement of Virginia Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth A. McClanahan prompted a stream of opinions in the week preceding her last day on Sept. 1. From Aug. 22 to Aug. 30, the court issued 14 decisions. There were nine opinions, three published orders and two unpublished orders. The unprecedented daily release of new appellate […]

Jul 18, 2019

Supreme Court upholds Morrissey disbarment

In a unanimous order, the Supreme Court of Virginia has upheld the second disbarment of former state delegate Joseph D. Morrissey. A three-judge Richmond Circuit Court panel revoked Morrissey’s law license last year, and the Supreme Court affirmed that decision July 18. The court said Morrissey’s “extensive disciplinary record” in part justified the sanction of […]

Jul 8, 2019

Court launches statewide criminal records search

As promised in January, the Supreme Court of Virginia has unveiled an online search engine to look up criminal and traffic cases in all general district courts and nearly all circuit courts. Without any accompanying announcement, search links appeared on the website of the Virginia court system on pages with information about circuit and general […]

Jun 27, 2019

Criminal jury instructions now free, without annotations

The Supreme Court of Virginia is moving to allow free access to unannotated versions of its model jury instructions. The court announced June 26 that the criminal Virginia Model Jury Instructions are now available in an unannotated format on the Virginia Judicial System website. The court said the unannotated version is being made available “as […]

Jun 25, 2019

High court to consider insanity issues in home invasion case

The Supreme Court of Virginia has agreed to consider whether an involuntary intoxication defense is equivalent to an insanity defense in the case of a man who tortured a McLean lawyer and his wife in their home. Andrew Schmuhl contended he was in a “medication induced delirium” when he tormented attorney Leo Fisher and his […]

Jun 3, 2019

Court authorizes assessment for Wellness Fund

The Supreme Court of Virginia has authorized the collection of up to $30 a year from each active lawyer in Virginia to fund wellness initiatives. In a May 31 order, the court directed the Virginia State Bar to collect the Attorney Wellness Fund fees, effective July 1. “The Attorney Wellness Fund fee is to be […]

May 30, 2019

Supreme Court affirms lawyer’s reprimand

The Supreme Court of Virginia has upheld a bar reprimand of a Virginia Beach lawyer accused of misleading a judge about terms of a federal regulation. Attorney Judith M. Cofield fought the bar discipline all the way to the high court, insisting that the judge hearing her medical malpractice case was not misled. In that […]

May 8, 2019

Court to consider on-call judges for long weekends

Concerns about delays of up to five days for accused offenders waiting for bond hearings may lead to a plan to make judges available even when courthouses are closed for long periods. Virginia Supreme Court Chief Justice Donald W. Lemons said he would assemble a group to consider on-call judges for time-sensitive hearings. The issue […]

May 3, 2019

Court backs judges in pot prosecution dispute

A panel of the Supreme Court of Virginia says Norfolk circuit judges did not exceed their authority when they refused a prosecutor’s request to drop charges in marijuana possession cases. The court’s ruling in a six-page order May 2 appears to block an effort by Norfolk Commonwealth’s Attorney Greg Underwood to routinely dismiss misdemeanor marijuana cases. […]

Apr 25, 2019

Lemons urges participation in pro bono reporting

For the first time, Virginia lawyers are being asked this year to voluntarily report their pro bono contributions, and the chief justice is encouraging participation. In a letter going to all Virginia lawyers in the mid-June license renewal statement, Virginia Supreme Court Chief Justice Donald W. Lemons asks lawyers to both engage in pro bono service […]

Verdicts & Settlements

See All Verdicts & Settlements

Opinion Digests

See All Digests