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Judge Joel Hoppe

Apr 6, 2020

New party, claim won’t be added to pending suit

Where the deadline for adding parties or amending pleadings was July 31, 2019, in a case alleging negligent construction and repair of a property, a January 2020 motion by defendants to add a new party and assert a new claim was untimely and did not evidence good cause. Background Plaintiffs filed suit in March 2018 […]

Feb 16, 2020

Binding agreement over insurance claim reached at mediation

Where the parties involved in a claim for insurance coverage arising from a fire that destroyed a garage and personal property agreed to all material terms at a mediation before a magistrate judge, the plaintiff’s subsequent dissatisfaction with that settlement did not prevent the agreement from being enforced. Background This case involves a claim for […]

Dec 4, 2019

Law firm claims portion of settlement as attorneys’ fees

Where one of the parties in a settlement action previously agreed to pay its law firm a portion of settlement proceeds as attorneys’ fees, the firm cannot assert claims under state statutory or federal common law liens, but it can assert a valid claim under quantum meruit for services rendered, and the court could exercise […]

Nov 20, 2019

Jail did not violate prisoner’s religious rights

Although the single-vendor policy of the Virginia Department of Corrections substantially burdened the prisoner’s exercise of his religion by restricting the vendors from whom he could buy prayer oils, the policy served compelling interests in maintaining prison security and efficiency, and because it is the least restrictive means, the inmate’s rights were not violated under […]

Jun 30, 2019

Page County must produce documents sought by ex-employee

A former county employee asserting claims for employment discrimination and retaliation is entitled to various categories of documents from the defendant, including material in the personnel files of other employees. Background Lynda Minke sued her former employer, Page County, alleging her termination was impermissibly based on gender discrimination and retaliation. Before the court are three [&h[...]

Jun 2, 2019

Unexplained delay barred assertion of new infringement claims

A patent owner who brought a large number of infringement claims against a manufacturer was not permitted to amend its complaint to assert new claims after the manufacturer successfully challenged the claims before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, or PTAB, because the new claims could have been asserted earlier in the proceeding and the […]

May 28, 2019

Complexity of discovery justified continuance

Where the discovery in plaintiff’s lawsuit was voluminous, disorganized and contentious, and a significant amount of discovery could still be outstanding, there was good cause to delay the start of trial and allow plaintiff to amend its complaint to add defendant’s affiliates as parties based on recently discovered information. Background This action concerns RLI Insurance […]

May 28, 2019

Court rejects stay of trademark suit

Although there is already a dispute between the same parties and involving the same issue pending before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB), that proceeding has been stayed. Because this case is likely to proceed at a faster pace, judicial economy is best served by permitting the forum that will conclude more quickly to […]

May 13, 2019

Company’s property maintenance policies were discoverable

A plaintiff in a premises liability action was entitled to discover the policies and procedures used by the defendant to maintain the safety of its premises at the time of plaintiff’s injury because even though the policies and procedures could not be used by the plaintiff to establish the defendant’s standard of care at trial, […]

May 13, 2019

State law claims improperly removed to federal court

Where a plaintiff whose original claims were based on state law used a mechanism created by state law to aid in its enforcement of a state court judgment of less than $10,000, the defendant, who was a citizen of the same state as the plaintiff when the action was commenced, could not remove the action […]

Feb 5, 2019

County must provide info in termination suit

The court rejected the county board of supervisors’ reliance on the Virginia Freedom of Information Act to resist disclosure of closed-session discussions about the plaintiff’s termination, finding that federal law, not state law, governed. Addressing the board’s claims of attorney-client privilege, the court ordered a privilege log of communications seeking legal advice, as opposed to [&hel[...]

Aug 24, 2018

WDVA: Threatening collection calls lead to award over $15k

A plaintiff is entitled to actual and statutory damages, attorneys’ fees, and litigation costs arising from debt-collection calls she allegedly received from the defendant, who did not respond. Background Plaintiff Betty West’s lawsuit arises out of a series of interactions with employees of Defendant Americas Processing Center Inc. The employees variously referenced felony charges against [&h[...]

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