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Judge M. Hannah Lauck

Nov 6, 2023

Court allows service on overseas defendants via email

After a party made a reasonable attempt to serve overseas defendants, the court granted its motion to authorize service via an email address previously used to communicate with one of the defendants during the parties’ business interactions and during this lawsuit. Background CarMax Enterprise Services LLC brings this case seeking damages for breach of contract […]

Sep 25, 2023

Federal government defeats former employee’s claims

Where claims brought by a former Defense Logistics Agency employee were barred by sovereign immunity or failed to state a claim, they were dismissed. Background William David Jones, proceeding pro se, has filed suit against his former employer, the Defense Logistics Agency, or DLA, and 12 individual federal employees for violations that he alleges occurred […]

Aug 20, 2023

VHRA can’t serve as predicate for ‘Bowman’ claim

Where a former City of Richmond employee relied on the public policy against disability discrimination articulated in the Virginia Human Rights Act as a basis for a common law Bowman claim, that claim was dismissed with prejudice. Numerous Virginia courts have found that statutes containing their own remedy cannot also support a Bowman claim. Background […]

Aug 16, 2023

Parents get insurance proceeds in interpleader action

Where an interpleader was filed over life insurance proceeds, and the decedent’s husband (who was charged with her death) failed to answer the complaint, judgment was entered in favor of the decedent’s parent. Background Life Insurance Company of North America, or LINA, filed this interpleader action seeking to ascertain the appropriate beneficiary of life insurance […]

Jul 4, 2023

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers prevails in FOIA suit

Where a man maintained that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, or USACE, insufficiently searched for documents responsive to his request under the Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA, request, but the agency provided an affidavit establishing how its searches were reasonably calculated to uncover any responsive documents, and why it did not conduct further […]

May 23, 2023

Husband sues ex-wife for malicious prosecution

Where the husband alleged his ex-wife reported to law enforcement that he sexually abused their minor daughter while knowing the allegations were false, and that he was arrested before the charges were dismissed, his malicious prosecution claim survived the ex-wife’s motion to dismiss. Background Kevin Plantan brings this action against his former wife, Kelly Smith, […]

May 2, 2023

Sheriff granted immunity in sexual abuse lawsuit

Where a man sued the sheriff after he was arrested, because his developmentally challenged minor daughter allegedly used “facilitated communication” to make claims of sexual abuse, the sheriff was entitled to immunity against the man’s constitutional claims. No controlling authority establishes the constitutional right not to be arrested solely on accusations via facilitated communication. B[...]

Apr 25, 2023

Deputy alleges sheriff didn’t accommodate his disability

Where a deputy sheriff plausibly alleged that he could perform the essential functions of his position, his failure to accommodate claim survived the defendants’ motion to dismiss. Because sovereign immunity barred any claim for monetary damages and back pay, however, he was limited to seeking reinstatement. Background Richard James Shannon, proceeding pro se, filed this […]

Apr 24, 2023

Patent dispute transferred to Illinois federal court

Where companies alleged that Ace Hardware infringed the companies’ patents by importing infringing products into the United States, but the non-party witnesses, party witnesses and relevant documents were in Illinois, where Ace Hardware is based, and there was an insubstantial connection with this court, the suit was transferred to the Northern District of Illinois. Background […]

Apr 11, 2023

Investment fund hit with $20M penalty by FERC

Where the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, demonstrated a private investment fund committed fraud, with the requisite scienter in connection with the purchase or sale of electric energy within FERC’s jurisdiction, its civil penalty of $16,800,000 and profit disgorgement payments of $3,465,108 was affirmed. Background Powhatan Energy Fund LLC, a private investment fund, conducted [&[...]

Apr 3, 2023

Constructive discharge claim doomed by own allegations

Where a bank employee asserted a claim for constructive discharge, but elsewhere alleged that she had been terminated, her claim failed because she did not state she resigned her employment. Moreover, she did not allege facts showing objectively intolerable working conditions, as required for a constructive discharge. Background In her amended complaint, Jenny M. High […]

Mar 20, 2023

Personal injury suit returned to circuit court

Where a woman alleged a case of wooden blinds fell from a shelf and struck her in the head and shoulders while she was shopping at Wal-Mart, and that the store manager herself improperly stacked and stocked the box of wooden blinds, she plausibly alleged a claim against the store manager. Because that store manager […]

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