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Judge Robert P. Doherty Jr.

Apr 17, 2014

Judge’s notes find a home at law library

Once Robert “Pat” Doherty determined to study law, very little escaped his notice. Or his pen. Not only did Doherty take comprehensive notes during law school and, later, during 18 years on the Virginia trial court bench, he also kept nearly every set of notes he authored. Those notes, from law school and from his […]

Feb 25, 2013

Lot Description Has ‘Scrivener’s Error’

Although the scrivener’s error exception is to be narrowly construed in allowing any changes to language in a contract or other document, on this record, the Roanoke County Circuit Court will apply the exception to a deed of trust to correct the Lot Number of a parcel from “Lot 1” to “Lot 15.” A scrivener’s […]

Feb 22, 2013

Custody Change Back to Mom in Virginia

Although the court has great respect for the opinion of the guardian ad litem, who recommends that two boys, ages seven and five, remain in the custody of the father who moved them to Pennsylvania, the Roanoke County Circuit Court orders physical custody returned to the mother in Roanoke, as the court finds the father […]

Feb 4, 2013

Fairfax needs judges

Lawyers and legislators from various Virginia locales, including populous Fairfax County, say Gov. Bob McDonnell missed the mark when he proposed money to fill certain judgeships. The governor overlooked areas badly in need of judicial help, in part because the available caseload numbers are unreliable, Fairfax lawyers say. Other regions – including Arlington, Charlottesville, Roanoke, […[...]

Feb 1, 2013

No Maintenance Means Permissive ‘Waste’

A wife who made no repairs to a home the parties owned and which she has lived in during their 17-year separation is assessed a $26,000 devaluation in the property as permissive waste by a Roanoke County Circuit Court. Wife’s expert appraiser, after viewing the premises in detail, described it as being very run down. […]

Jan 17, 2013

DSS Wins Fees in Guardian Cases

In light of the Salem Circuit Court’s separate appointments of a guardian and conservator for an elderly husband and wife, after their daughter, a physician licensed in another state, unlawfully dispensed medications to the mother, appeared abusive to her father, and was barred from each parent’s nursing home, the court awards $4,370 in attorney’s fees […]

Jan 7, 2013

Ailing Wife Wins Continued Support

In determining spousal support after termination of the parties’ 26-year marriage, a Salem Circuit Court awards wife $2,150 in monthly support, as she is unable to work due to her conditions of lymphoma, diabetes and lupus. Both parties are trying to maintain the standard of living they were accustomed to during marriage. If you take […]

Dec 17, 2012

Court Imputes Income to Unemployed Dad

Although a father presented evidence about his attempts to find a job since he was most recently laid off as a mental health counselor, the Roanoke County Circuit Court will impute income of $41,000 per year to the father in awarding child support for the parties’ 15-year-old daughter, and end the parties’ shared physical custody […]

Nov 30, 2012

Equitable Estoppel May Halt Statute Of Frauds Bar

In this contract dispute over defendants, a tenant and guarantor, having failed to sign a lease for and departure from plaintiff landlord’s auto recycling business, a Roanoke County Circuit Court says defendants waited too long to file a motion to dismiss, and the landlord may defend against a statute-of-frauds bar by asserting equitable estoppel. Plaintiff […]

Nov 19, 2012

Unlicensed Contractor Can Enforce Contract

Although plaintiff builder split his contractor business into two corporations and is still trying to straighten out his licensing issues, his alleged unlicensed status does not void the contract on which he is suing to collect $385,000 in extras on defendants’ custom-built home, and the Salem Circuit Court denies the homeowner’s motion for partial summary […]

Nov 9, 2012

Claim Too Late for Unstable Fill Material

A homeowner who sued a lot seller and builder for damages for cracks in the foundation of his home built by builder, allegedly caused by construction on stable fill material and first discovered in 2006, cannot sue defendants a theory of equitable estoppel, says a Roanoke County Circuit Court. The doctrine of equitable estoppel is […]

Nov 9, 2012

Rental Agreement Indemnity Clause ‘Unconscionable’

A pre-drafted form rental agreement that required a tenant to indemnify the landlord for damages caused by the landlord’s negligence is a contract of adhesion and unenforceable under the Virginia Residential Landlord & Tenant Act, and a Roanoke County Circuit Court refuses to enforce the agreement against a tenant and his family whose property was […]

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