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Judge Randall D. Smith

Aug 24, 2018

Man took business partner’s life insurance proceeds – $1,161,482 Verdict

Two business owners had purchased life insurance through their corporation to provide funds for stock redemption in the event of death of a partner, as well as life insurance for estate. Originally, each partner was the owner and beneficiary of the policy insuring the life of the other partner. Shortly after policies were acquired, the […]

Oct 6, 2015

‘Dangling Object’ Statute Not Vague

On appeal by the commonwealth, a Chesapeake Circuit Court holds that Va. Code § 46.2-1054, which prohibits dangling objects in a vehicle that obstruct the driver’s clear view of the highway, is not facially void for vagueness nor unconstitutionally void as applied to defendant driver, who was stopped by a police officer; the court remands […]

Sep 10, 2015

A ‘dangling’ conversation

Walk through the parking lot of any shopping center and you will see them. Walk up to the counter of any convenience store and you will see them. Little pine-tree air fresheners. They are designed to hang from the rear-view mirror of a car or truck, and presumably, to improve the smell of the vehicle’s […]

Dec 8, 2014

UIM carrier offered only $25K for head-on crash – $400,000 Verdict

The plaintiff was a passenger in a car being driven by one of his friends. They were going to the Walmart in Chesapeake off Battlefield Boulevard. As they were circling into the Walmart parking lot on Walmart Way, another car coming in the other direction drifted into their lane of travel and hit them head-on. […]

Mar 7, 2014

Divorce Proceeds for Common Law Marriage

Despite a 1986 Florida divorce decree, a couple has a valid common law marriage under Georgia law where they lived together after a 1990 “renewal” of their marriage vows in a religious ceremony, and the Chesapeake Circuit Court says husband’s divorce action will proceed forward as any divorce action in Virginia. A marriage’s validity is […]

Sep 30, 2013

Woman attacked by dog in neighbor’s home – $125,000 Verdict

Plaintiff was bitten in the face and hand by a 130-pound Akita while petting the dog in the defendants’ home. Plaintiff and defendants were at a neighborhood gathering when plaintiff and a witness accompanied one of the defendants to her home to get a bottle of liquor. While in the home, defendant excused herself to […]

Aug 23, 2013

Veterinarian records provide key to dog-bite win

A woman’s offer to retrieve extra refreshments from her home for a neighborhood party left her liable for a $125,000 jury award when her dog bit the neighbor who accompanied her to her home. Veterinarian records had flagged the defendants’ 130-pound Akita as displaying a high level of aggression, according to Norfolk lawyer John R. […]

Aug 16, 2013

Intoxication Evidence Comes In

A woman suing defendants whose male Akita dog bit her on the arm and face will have to face her post-incident statement to animal control that she was “very intoxicated and did not remember a lot” about the incident; but the Chesapeake Circuit Court defers a decision on admitting possible expert testimony about alcohol being […]

Jun 11, 2012

Newspaper defamed school principal and his son, jury finds – $3,000,000 Verdict

On Dec. 18, 2009, The Virginian-Pilot published a news article, authored by Louis Hansen, about Phillip Webb, a public school assistant principal, and his son, a student in the same school system. Plaintiff alleged the defendant newspaper falsely implied that he had improperly used his position to obtain preferential treatment for his student son. In […]

Jan 11, 2012

Recount Petition Came Too Late

A Goochland County Circuit Court dismisses a petition for recount as petitioner did not cause the petition to be served on respondent within 10 days after certification of the election results as required by Va. Code § 24.2-801. The court grants the Special Appearance Motion to Dismiss. It is ordered that the petition filed herein […]

Feb 21, 2011

Student says paper defamed him with bullying allegation – $5,000,000 Verdict

A newspaper article about an assault case falsely stated that a high school athlete routinely bullied another student at Great Bridge High School. The article reported accurately that the plaintiff had been convicted of assaulting the father of the student who said he had been bullied, and that the plaintiff’s brother had been convicted of […]

Feb 16, 2011

Student scores $5M verdict against The Virginian-Pilot

Patrick Bristol, a student at Chesapeake’s Great Bridge High School, told a reporter for The Virginian-Pilot that fellow student Kevin Webb routinely shoved and taunted him at school. The Pilot reported that allegation as fact, an assertion that Webb denied before a Chesapeake Circuit Court jury. The jury believed Webb and returned a $5 million […]

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