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Judge Richard Y. AtLee Jr.

Jul 31, 2023

‘Beloved property’: Recovery not limited to injured pet’s fair market value

A dog owner may present evidence of treatment expenses that exceed the fair market value of her injured dog for a jury to determine whether they are reasonable and necessarily incurred in her negligence case against a veterinary office, the Court of Appeals of Virginia has held in a matter of first impression.

Jul 27, 2023

Owner can recover vet expenses for allegedly negligent treatment

Where a dog was injured by a veterinary’s alleged negligent treatment, the trial court correctly denied the veterinary’s motion to limit damages to the dog’s fair market value. Background Appellee Anderson alleged in her complaint that her dog was injured while receiving care from Blue Pearl Veterinary Partners. “Anderson averred that a veterinarian technician recklessly, […]

Jul 27, 2023

Sufficient evidence for sex crime convictions

Appellant’s convictions of two counts of rape, three counts of forcible sodomy, one count of abduction with intent to defile, and one count of conspiracy to commit rape are affirmed. Appellant argues “that the evidence was insufficient to prove he was the perpetrator of the offenses rather than a victim of the crimes. … [W]e […]

Jun 22, 2023

Equitable distribution rulings affirmed

The trial court’s rulings on classifying the parties’ assets and debts, and a property valuation are affirmed. No misapplication “Husband … argues that the trial court applied the incorrect burden of proof by requiring him to prove that the credit card debt was marital debt when Code § 20-107.3 creates a statutory presumption that debt […]

Car windshield shattered from accident
Jun 12, 2023

$7M verdict tossed for lack of evidence of proximate cause

A $7 million jury verdict was reversed after the Court of Appeals of Virginia found that the passenger in an auto accident didn’t introduce any evidence of proximate causation and therefore failed to establish her prima facie case of negligence. The jury found the oncoming driver liable for not avoiding the collision. But the plaintiff’s […]

May 31, 2023

No evidence for prima facie negligence case

Where no evidence was presented to establish a prima facie case of negligence in this car collision case, a $7 million jury verdict for appellee is reversed. There were three possible theories of causation: appellant caused the accident, appellant and the other driver caused the accident, or appellant was not a proximate cause despite her […]

May 9, 2023

Case properly remanded to district court for appeal bond

Where the general district court did not order appellee to post an appeal bond, the circuit court correctly remanded the case to the GDC to issue a bond order. Background In the general district court, appellants Montalvo and Blake filed a warrant in detinue to compel appellee Couk to return two dogs she allegedly was […]

Apr 3, 2023

Divorce on cruelty grounds affirmed

Where a JDR court issued two protective orders in wife’s favor against husband, and husband pleaded guilty to assaulting wife, this was sufficient corroboration of wife’s testimony that husband assaulted her. Further, a $4,000 per month support award to wife is affirmed. Testimony corroborated “Husband argues that the circuit court erred by granting wife a […]

Mar 9, 2023

No intellectual disability instruction in rape case

The trial court correctly told the jury at appellant’s rape trial that it could not consider his intellectual disability in relation to the victim’s consent. A new diminished capacity statute does not require the commonwealth to prove “that he knowingly and intentionally acted without the victim’s consent.” Overview The commonwealth charged appellant Calokoh with the […]

Jan 21, 2023

Victim’s written statement to police properly admitted

Where the assault victim’s written statement to the police was admitted under the past recollection recorded exception to the hearsay rule, the merits of the issue will not be reached because any error was harmless. Overview Appellant Saul appeals his assault and battery conviction. “Levere contacted the sheriff’s office at 7:14 am and reported that […]

Dec 15, 2022

Motion to suppress erroneously granted

The trial court applied an incorrect standard when it granted appellant’s motion to suppress his post-Miranda statements. Background After being stopped by two police officers, Skillman and Kirby, appellant Thornhill consented to a vehicle search. The search revealed a baggy containing white power. Skillman asked Thornhill “‘mind saying what that is in the front seat […]

Dec 5, 2022

‘Unconscionable’: Last-minute prenup unenforceable

A prenuptial agreement signed the day before a couple’s wedding was unenforceable because the groom failed to disclose $10 million in assets, the Court of Appeals of Virginia has ruled. The groom argued that the lack of disclosure didn’t matter, because the bride should have realized his worth due to her work at his property […]

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