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Justice Cleo E. Powell

Jan 24, 2022

Samaritan statute saves paramedics from liability

Paramedics who failed to thoroughly read a man’s advance directive have immunity from the wrongful death suit filed by his sister, the Supreme Court of Virginia has ruled, upholding a decision from Smyth County. The trial court found the paramedics were “clearly negligent, and probably grossly negligent” but they had absolute immunity from liability under […]

Jan 18, 2022

Paramedics had immunity in wrongful death action

Although the circuit court concluded that paramedics who failed to thoroughly read the decedent’s advanced directives were “clearly negligent, and probably grossly negligent,” the court correctly concluded they were entitled to immunity from plaintiff’s wrongful death suit. This is the case because they rendered aid in good faith and without compensation, in accordance with Code […]

Sep 6, 2021

Benefits award upheld despite incorrect analysis

We affirm the Court of Appeals’ determination that claimant was entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, even though the court used an incorrect analysis to reach its conclusion. The appeals court ruled that claimant’s injury occurred during a four-hour period, and that this satisfied the requirement that the injury “must be a specific occurrence that can […]

Aug 4, 2021

Statute of repose no barrier to wrongful death case

Where a truck driver was killed at a stone quarry when a machine malfunctioned, the circuit court incorrectly characterized the machine as “ordinary building material” and applied the five-year statute of repose, Code § 8.01-250, to dismiss the case as untimely. The machine was unrelated to the structural integrity of the building itself and thus, […]

Jun 10, 2021

Transient occupancy tax applies to home rentals

The circuit court correctly upheld the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors’ amendment of the county’s zoning ordinance, and the imposition of a two percent lodging tax on short-term rentals of residential homes. Zoning amendments Appellants (hosts) are a group of homeowners who use online platforms to make short-term rentals of their homes. The Fairfax County […]

Mar 4, 2021

Child pornography was admissible evidence

Where appellant was convicted of sex crimes, including custodial sexual abuse, involving a 7-year-old child, “child pornography titles” found on his computer were properly admitted as evidence. The probative value of this evidence regarding “conduct or attitude towards the victim, motive, method and intent” outweighed its prejudicial effect. Further, appellant’s request to poll the jury [...]

Nov 2, 2020

County board could not dissolve private EMS

A board of county supervisors lacked authority to dissolve an emergency medical service’s corporate status and distribute its assets. The service was a private nonstock corporation, rather than being established under the statute granting the county board the power to dissolve Background Dumfries-Triangle Rescue Squad, Inc. (DTRS) was registered with the State Corporation Commission in […[...]

Aug 28, 2020

No fees from unrepresented siblings in partition case

Where appellant sought a partition of a home she and her siblings inherited, the trial court correctly ruled that she could not obtain an attorney’s fee under the partition statute from her unrepresented siblings. Background In 2012, despite their deceased mother’s wishes that her home be sold and the proceeds divided, her children decided to […]

Feb 16, 2020

School bus assault not covered by UIM policy

Where a school bus driver and a bus aide assaulted a special needs student while he harnessed to a bus seat, no uninsured motorist coverage is due from a policy defendant issued to the student’s mother. There was no causal connection between the student’s injury and use of the school bus as a means of […]

Dec 30, 2019

Malice implied from multiple gun shots

Where a woman sitting in a car was struck and killed by one of four shots appellant fired down a city street without justification, the necessary malice to sustain a second-degree murder conviction is implied by appellant’s actions. “The concept of implied malice is based on the notion that the defendant intentionally acts, even though […]

Dec 24, 2019

Private foundation of public college not subject to VFOIA

George Mason University Foundation, a private, nonprofit corporation that raises funds and manages donations to George Mason University, is not subject to the Virginia Freedom of Information Act. Overview Appellant, Transparent GMU, filed a VFOIA request with GMU and the GMU Foundation to obtain donor records. GMU replied it had no such records. The foundation […]

Sep 23, 2019

Rezoning evidence admissible in taking case

Evidence of the probability that appellant’s farmland would be rezoned for commercial use was admissible in this condemnation case to determine the compensation due for land taken to construct a highway interchange. Background The highway commission sought to take a portion of appellant Helmick Farms property to build a highway interchange. Helmick refused the commissioner’s […]

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