Jun 11, 2018

EDVA: Officers face trial over eviction confusion

After taking a homebuyer’s account of foreclosure purchase at face value, a sheriff and his subordinates may go to trial for events that transpired when they accompanied her to the home to remove the previous owners. Background Plaintiffs James and Tamara Epperson and their children resided at their home in Patrick County, Virginia for over […]

Jun 10, 2018

CAV: Terry stop resistance supported probable cause

The trial court erred in granting the defendant’s motion to suppress evidence. His resistance to the efforts to handcuff him provided probable cause to arrest for obstruction of justice, thereby legitimizing the search of his person and the bundle he was carrying. Background In June 2017, Richmond Police Officer Kelly was dispatched in response to […]

Jun 10, 2018

CAV: Exigent circumstances justified gun seizure

Even though the defendant had fled the scene of his car crash, a gathering crowd around the vehicle – with its driver’s door open to reveal a firearm in plain view – presented exigent circumstances for the lone officer at the scene to seize the firearm and secure it. Background In November 2014, Officers Smith […]

Jun 10, 2018

SCV: No error in rejected district “compactness” analysis

The circuit court did not err in confirming the constitutional validity of Virginia General Assembly legislative districts, which the plaintiffs alleged were drawn in violation of Virginia’s constitutional compactness requirement. Background The plaintiffs seek a declaratory judgment that the “State House of Delegates and Senate districting plans, and specifically House of Delegates districts [...]

Jun 10, 2018

EDVA: Medical personnel face trial for inmate death

A man who was pronounced dead after a seizure he suffered while awaiting trial at the Richmond City Justice Center has, through his estate, presented sufficient evidence of medical staff’s deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs, as well as negligent treatment. A paramedic thought staff acted suspiciously when EMS arrived, and she found four […]

Jun 10, 2018

4th Cir.: PETA can challenge N.C. employee access law

Animal rights groups sufficiently alleged an injury-in-fact to support their standing to challenge a recent North Carolina statute allowing employers to hold their employees civilly liable for damage caused by unauthorized access to nonpublic areas. Background The North Carolina Property Protection Act provides a private right of action against any person who “exceed[s] the scope […]

Jun 6, 2018

CAV: Contempt upheld for “junk” storage in backyard

A court order requiring a property owner to cure residential zoning violations gave him sufficient notice that he must remove “junk” not only from his front and side yards but also from his back yard. Background In April 2005, Henrico County received a complaint that Appellant Alan Weber was storing junk and had an overweight […]

Jun 4, 2018

4th Cir.: Fired officers’ due process claims can proceed

Under clearly established law, publication of public safety officers’ allegedly defamatory termination letters to the media before holding a name-clearing hearing supported the officers’ claims of due process violations. Background During the summer of 2014, Officers with the Bald Head Department of Public Safety engaged in a group text-message chain discussing topics including the Dep[...]

Jun 3, 2018

WDVA: No sovereign immunity in tax-lien discharge suit

A bank’s suit seeking a determination that tax liens against a foreclosed property must be discharged was a quiet title action for which the United States has waived sovereign immunity. Background The Knapps, who owned real property in Richlands, Virginia, executed a credit line deed of trust for the benefit of Plaintiff First Sentinel Bank, […]

Jun 3, 2018

WDVA: State defendants not liable for “Unite the Right” inaction

A Charlottesville counter-protester who claimed law enforcement stood by and watched white nationalist protesters assault him and others had no constitutional right to have officers intervene in the third-party misconduct. Background In response to Charlottesville’s renaming of Lee Park, Jason Kessler organized the “Unite the Right” rally. He was granted a permit for the rally, […]

Jun 3, 2018

4th Cir.: Faulty permit filings foreclosed property interest

When a BMW store applied for a renovation permit but then performed a demolition instead, the City of Rockville, Maryland, revoked the previously-granted permit. The company’s initial permit applications contained material misrepresentations, so it had no property interest that could give rise to due process claims related to the resulting permit. Background Appellant Rockville Cars […]

Jun 3, 2018

SCOTUS: Warrantless vehicle searches limited within curtilage

The automobile exception to the Fourth Amendment does not permit a police officer, uninvited and without a warrant, to enter the curtilage of a home in order to search a vehicle parked therein. Background Albemarle Police Officer McCall saw the driver of an orange and black motorcycle with an extended frame commit a traffic infraction. […]

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