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Justice Cleo E. Powell

Jun 18, 2012

Tort Claim OK Against Supplier, Not Contractor

In litigation arising from the worksite death of a construction laborer, his non-dependent wife who cannot collect workers’ comp benefits may bring a negligence action against the drywall supplier who delivered a load of drywall that allegedly caused the structural collapse that killed the laborer, but the workers’ comp bar prevents her from suing the […]

Jun 14, 2012

Van-fire plaintiff can cite other fires

A Waynesboro family can use evidence of other fires in Ford Windstar minivans to sue Ford Motor Company for the wrongful death of their three-year-old daughter after their minivan caught fire in their driveway. Earlier, an Albemarle County Circuit Court said the family could not use evidence of other van fires they alleged had put […]

Jun 13, 2012

Claim Waived, When No Ruling on Motion

A Section 8 tenant cannot challenge retention of her security deposit by her landlord for rent she did not owe; the Supreme Court of Virginia says she failed to give the trial judge a chance to rule on her argument here, which she made in a written motion for reconsideration, by seeking a ruling on […]

Jun 12, 2012

‘Civil death penalty’ is OK by high court

A trial court can impose a “civil death penalty” for discovery abuse, but taking away the right to cross-examine witnesses on damages was “too harsh,” the Supreme Court of Virginia has ruled. The ruling in Nolte v. MT Technology Enterprises LLC (VLW 012-6-103), gives the defendants another chance to defend damages claims in a case […]

May 7, 2012

New zoning cases ‘reconcilable,’ land use lawyer says

The Supreme Court of Virginia’s recent resolution of a zoning case by unpublished order has caused confusion both on the high court and among observers, where none is warranted. In its unpublished order in Town of Occoquan v. Elm Street Development, Inc. (VLW 012-6-062), the high court upheld a decision in favor of a developer […]

May 1, 2012

‘Mirror-Image’ Will Not Binding Contract

A couple’s reciprocal wills providing each testator left the entire estate to the surviving spouse and each testator’s child from a previous marriage would get one-half the estate at the death of the surviving spouse, was not a binding contract and the widow was free to change her will and leave everything to her daughter, […]

May 1, 2012

Sub Can’t Sue as Third-Party Beneficiary

A sub-subcontractor who has not been paid for asbestos abatement during demolition of a facility owned by a Portsmouth housing authority cannot sue the developer on the project as a third-party beneficiary of the developer’s contract with the authority, and the Supreme Court of Virginia affirms dismissal of the suit. A developer contracted with a […]

Apr 26, 2012

Jury Instruction Wrong on LLC Liability

In an LLC’s suit as landlord of a medical office building for breach of a lease and damages and the tenant’s counterclaim alleging fraud, the trial court erred in instructing the jury that a limited liability company could not be liable for any fraudulent activity unless the fraud was approved by the members of the […]

Apr 16, 2012

A tale of two cases: Land use lawyers scrutinize permits

A developer that wants to build in the historic town of Occoquan got a green light from the Supreme Court of Virginia earlier this month, in a case that raises questions about the role of “Special Use Permits” in regulating development. Although the high court’s order in the Occoquan case is unpublished, a concurrence by […]

Mar 7, 2012

Court Upholds $1.95M Jury Award

The Supreme Court of Virginia upholds a $1.95 million jury award to a man whose wife died after outpatient plastic surgery; the trial court did not err in denying a mistrial on a defense complaint about a juror telling plaintiff’s expert, “Good job,” or in admitting decedent’s unpaid medical bills. According to defendant doctor, the […]

Mar 7, 2012

Plaintiff Can Itemize Damages at Closing

A plaintiff’s lawyer whose client alleged headaches and neck pain from an auto accident could show the jury a chart asking for specific amounts of money for itemized damages during closing argument, and the Supreme Court of Virginia upholds the $30,000 jury award to plaintiff. Plaintiff proffered medical bills of $948 and $4,173 and requested […]

Jan 18, 2012

No Comp Bar for Private Stevedore

Virginia International Terminals and its employee cannot invoke the workers’ comp bar to avoid a negligence action filed by the estate of a private stevedore who was fatally injured when the yard tractor he was driving to unload a ship was struck by a straddle carrier operated by a VIT employee; the Virginia Supreme Court […]

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