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The SCoVA Blog

Sep 15, 2016

Driver felled by tree can sue state

A driver can sue the state for injuries he suffered when a tree on private property fell onto his car traveling a public highway in Charlottesville. In a Sept. 8 unpublished order in Cline v. Commonwealth, the Supreme Court of Virginia said a Charlottesville Circuit Court erred in dismissing plaintiff Matthew W. Cline’s suit against […]

Sep 12, 2016

Punitives reversed in worker safety case

An employee who says he was fired within an hour after his employer discovered that he reported the company for safety violations cannot collect punitive damages, the Supreme Court of Virginia said on Sept. 8. Punitive damages are not allowed as “appropriate relief” under Va. Code § 40.1-51.2:1, the whistleblower statute under which the employee […]

Jul 19, 2016

Justices question standing for challenge to rights restoration

A Republican legal challenge to Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s politically charged blanket rights restoration for convicted felons could be decided on how the case reached the doors of the state Supreme Court. The justices conducted oral arguments in the voting rights case Tuesday. It was one of two constitutional clashes heard at a special summer […]

Jun 2, 2016

Lawyer liability for botched will upheld

A Richmond lawyer and his firm are liable for a $603,409.90 bequest that should have gone to the Richmond Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, as a divided Supreme Court of Virginia has upheld a trial court’s decision in a legal malpractice case. Chesterfield County resident Alice Dumville asked Richmond lawyer James Thorsen […]

Jun 2, 2016

‘You’re fired’ will work in Virginia

An employer in Virginia can fire you on the spot. If that wasn’t clear pre­viously, the Supreme Court of Vir­ginia made it clear on June 2. No advance notice is necessary, as “reasonable notice” for an at-will employee does not include a “tem­poral component,” the court said. Brenda Johnston had worked 17 years for William […]

May 5, 2016

Hang-tag hang-up ends in high court

A parking pass hanging from a rear-view mirror left lawyers hanging for several months, as the Supreme Court of Virginia weighed whether the “dangling object” was enough to support a traffic stop. In a 5-2 split, the high court upheld a decision approving the stop for a suspected violation of Va. Code § 46.2-1054, which […]

Apr 28, 2016

Same-sex cohabitation can cut off support

An ex-spouse who enters a committed relationship with someone of the same sex can lose support payments under Virginia law, the Supreme Court of Virginia has decided. The ruling overturns a contrary decision by the Court of Appeals last year as it interpreted a state statute allowing support cutoff for cohabitation. The decision means a […]

Apr 14, 2016

Court: Med-mal plaintiff should have sued through guardians

An incapacitated medical malpractice plaintiff whose parents had been appointed as co-guardians lost her chance to sue her doctor because her suit was filed in her name and not that of the guardians. The April 14 ruling by the Supreme Court of Virginia turned on words used in the order appointing the guardians. The court […]

Apr 14, 2016

Lawyer sanction reversed for jury instruction error

Two trial lawyers who inadvertently submitted an erroneous jury instruction should not have been sanctioned $200 each, the Supreme Court of Virginia said on April 14. It reversed sanctions against the lawyers who defended a riding instructor in a wrongful death case tried in Fairfax Circuit Court. Attorneys Gerald F. Ragland Jr. and Andrew J. […]

Apr 12, 2016

Court to weigh job protection law for service members

The Supreme Court of Virginia will consider whether a federal law designed to protect civilian jobs for part-time military service members applies to state employees. The court has agreed to review the decision by a Chesterfield County judge who denied job protection benefits for a Virginia State Police sergeant. VSP Sgt. Jonathan R. Clark complained […]

Apr 8, 2016

No punitives against driver who was drinking

A driver who admitted he was drinking prior to rear-ending a van, hitting a tree and seriously injuring his passenger, is not liable for punitive damages, the Supreme Court of Virginia said on March 31. The high court found the appellant’s statement of facts too abbreviated to support her claim on appeal. In an appeal […]

Mar 30, 2016

Boat buyers win new trial on fraud

A couple who bought a yacht in Wisconsin and sailed it to Virginia can go back to court on their claims for fraud under the Virginia Consumer Protection Act, the Virginia Supreme Court said on March 24. Buyers Richard and Margaret Suslick  alleged that sellers William and Samantha Schnittker violated the VCPA by not disclosing […]

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