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Judge Wesley G. Russell Jr.

Jun 1, 2023

Board meeting did not fall within VFOIA exceptions

Where plaintiffs allege that five members of a county board of supervisors violated the Virginia Freedom of Information Act’s open meeting requirements when they attended a police Citizens Advisory Board, or CAB, meeting to discuss responses to riots in the wake of George Floyd’s killing, the gathering was a meeting within the meaning of the […]

Dec 8, 2022

UIM coverage is part of UM coverage

Where a driver was involved in an accident with both an uninsured motorist and an underinsured motorist, her insurer is not liable to provide separate UM and UIM coverage. This is so because the relevant statute is best understood as making UIM coverage a component part of UM coverage. Overview Miles, the driver, was covered […]

Oct 23, 2022

Court had jurisdiction over utility contract dispute

Where a chemical company sued a privately operated water company for breach of contract, the tariff under which the parties conducted their business is best understood as a contract, which is reviewable by the circuit court, rather than a decision by the State Corporation Commission, which only the Virginia Supreme Court can review. As a […]

Aug 22, 2022

Stock properly classified for lump sum support award

The trial court correctly classified stock in a family real estate business as a gift from husband’s uncle and therefore as husband’s separate property, which was not subject to equitable distribution. Further, there was no error when the court awarded wife a lump-sum support award of $1.3 million. The stock “[I]n order to establish the […]

Aug 15, 2022

Evidence supports aggravated sexual battery conviction

The evidence supports findings that appellant touched his daughter’s “intimate part” and did so with the intent “to sexually molest, arouse, or gratify any person.” Overview “[T]o sustain [appellant] Valentine’s conviction of aggravated sexual battery regarding his contact with T.H. [his daughter], the evidence needed to be sufficient to establish that Valentine intentionally touched[...]

Jul 25, 2022

Sufficient evidence for murder conviction

There was sufficient evidence to sustain appellant’s second-degree murder conviction. Further, the trial court correctly refused to strike the testimony of a key trial witness despite appellant’s argument that she was unreliable and not credible. Although the record shows the witness was often difficult to understand, her demeanor as it relates to credibility was a […]

Jul 20, 2022

Sufficient evidence of intent to distribute

Where an expert testified that appellant’s possession of almost 10 pounds of marijuana was “inconsistent with personal use” because it would take more than three years for a heavy user to smoke all of it, this was sufficient evidence that appellant intended to distribute marijuana. Intent to distribute “[Appellant] Johnson challenges the sufficiency of the […]

Jul 7, 2022

No jurisdiction without final conviction

Where the appellant seeks to challenge the circuit court’s ruling that it lacked jurisdiction over a general district court’s order granting the commonwealth’s motion to nolle prosequi charges lodged against appellant, the Court of Appeals lacks jurisdiction to review the matter. “As regards this appeal, [appellant] Forness has not been convicted of anything in any […]

Man with foot injury
Jun 27, 2022

Claim for ongoing treatment barred

Where a workers’ compensation claimant failed to appeal a determination which didn’t address payments for ongoing treatment of a compensable injury, his claims were barred by res judicata. The Virginia Court of Appeals affirmed a finding of the Workers Compensation Commission that the claimant had failed to pursue his claim for treatment of a causally […]

Jun 23, 2022

No basis for mistrial in drug prosecution

Where appellant did not show that the commonwealth suppressed  information favorable to his defense that would otherwise have been unavailable, the circuit court correctly denied his motion for a mistrial. Overview Golden, a confidential informant for the police,  made controlled purchases of cocaine from “Big D,” who was later identified as appellant Wright. Oakes was […]

Jun 9, 2022

Res judicata bars claim after final award

Even though claimant’s medical benefits claim included a claim for deep vein thromboses, where the deputy commissioner’s award did not address DVT, and neither party appealed, the award became final and res judicata bars a later claim to pay for DVT medical treatments. Background The claimant, Rich, broke a bone in his left foot on […]

Jun 3, 2022

Attempt to name correct defendant was untimely

Where plaintiff nonsuited her personal injury claim because she named the wrong defendant, her new action, filed outside the statute of limitations, does not relate back to her original complaint. Overview On June 25, 2017, Edwards, the plaintiff, sued for injuries sustained when she fell from a dock at a resort. “The sole defendant named […]

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