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Justice Cleo E. Powell

Aug 3, 2018

SCV: Creditor deserved trial on objections to modified judgment

After granting a judgment debtor’s motion to reduce the amount of a confessed judgment, the circuit court erred in not setting the creditor’s objections to the modified amount for trial. Background On November 19, 2008, Appellee Hunter Mill West executed a deed-of-trust note in the principal amount of $1 million, payable to BDC Capital Inc., […]

Jul 13, 2018

SCV: Pipeline had right to enter, survey private property

The trial court did not err in concluding that Code § 56-49.01(A) allows a natural gas company to gain access to private property for the purpose of conducting surveys and other activities, even if it can show that these activities are necessary only for the selection of the most advantageous route. It need not show […]

May 8, 2018

SCV: License-plate database may violate Data Act

Pictures and associated data stored in a police department’s automatic license plate reader database are “personal information” under the Data Act, but further factfinding is required to determine whether the record-keeping process allows a license plate number to be linked to the vehicle’s owner. Background In 2014, Plaintiff Harrison Neal submitted a Virginia Freedom of […]

Mar 12, 2018

Supreme Court draws boundaries for medical experts

One expert should have been heard; another was heard but fell short on linking negligence to damages. Those were the rulings from the Supreme Court of Virginia last month in two medical malpractice cases that help define standards for expert witnesses. In one case, the court overturned a $625,000 jury verdict for a woman who […]

Mar 12, 2018

SCV: 1978 conviction vacated for actual innocence

Considering amendments to Virginia’s actual-innocence statutes, no rational factfinder would have found the petitioner guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Background In 1977, 12-year-old A.C. was brought to the emergency room by her mother. A.C. reported being raped by multiple assailants in an abandoned house. In his report, the examining physician identified the alleged offenders as […]

Feb 27, 2018

SCV: Expert testimony didn’t show causation in med-mal suit

The plaintiff’s medical expert, who was preferred only to opine on the standard of care in performing a hysterectomy, could not present testimony on whether and how the patient’s outcome would have been different had the defendant called for a general surgeon during the original procedure. Background Plaintiff Donna Sublett brought a medical-malpractice action arising […]

Feb 7, 2018

“Original purchase price” included improvements

Defendant Virginia Department of Transportation properly offered reconveyance of acquired property at the price paid for land and improvements, even though it had removed the improvements in the interim, the court held. Plaintiff David Kalergis owned a 55-acre farm in Albemarle County with a house, guest house, pool, stables, fencing, and terraces. In 1994, the […]

Feb 7, 2018

Unfiled tax return not subject to fieri facias

The Supreme Court held that the as-yet unfiled tax returns of Appellants/Debtors Elizabeth Shifflett and Cassandra Deane were not subject to a writ of fieri facias issued by Appellees/Creditors Latitude Properties Inc. and Shen Valley Band Instrument Service Inc. under Code § 8.01-501. After obtaining judgment against Debtors, Creditors issued the writs along with summonses […]

Jan 31, 2018

Implied-Consent Law Does Not Compel Self-Incrimination

The Supreme Court of Virginia affirmed a circuit court ruling that Appellant Nathan Lee Shin unreasonably refused to submit to a breath test. On August 29, 2015, Shin was detained on suspicion of DWI. After Shin declined to provide a blood and breath sample, the arresting officer read to Shin Virginia’s Implied Consent Declaration: “You […]

Jan 31, 2018

Perjury Prosecution Doesn’t Implicate Double Jeopardy

The Supreme Court upheld a perjury conviction for a man earlier tried for the larceny of his ex-girlfriend’s dog.

Jan 9, 2018

Court rejects challenge to breath-test refusal

In its first opportunity to address new federal law on warrantless blood-alcohol tests, the Supreme Court of Virginia rejected three challenges from a driver convicted of refusing to give a breath sample. Despite those new rulings, the Virginia court has not yet addressed a case of blood test refusal since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled […]

Jul 17, 2017

Some Victim’s Prior Acts Allowed at Murder Trial

The Supreme Court of Virginia affirms defendant’s first-degree murder conviction for shooting  a woman with whom he had a romantic relationship and shared a child, and whom he alleged was blackmailing him with a video of defendant having sex with the woman’s mother; the trial court did not err reversibly in excluding certain evidence intended […]

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