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Justice Donald W. Lemons

May 24, 2016

McCullough takes seat on high court

Justice Stephen R. McCullough was invested as the 106th member of the Supreme Court of Virginia on May 23, at a ceremony featuring his family, his colleagues from the Court of Appeals and past co-workers at the Virginia Attorney General’s office. McCullough was tapped for the seat at the end of the 2016 General Assembly […]

May 20, 2016

Judge needn’t recuse when courtroom regular appears in case

A judge need not automatically recuse himself when a lawyer who regularly appears before the court is a witness or a defendant in a case, according to the Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee. The judge must “introspectively determine” her own impartiality and ability to be fair. And she must review how it looks: If impartiality could […]

May 16, 2016

A fine plan

Virginia courts are under pres­sure to make sure traffic offend­ers have a realistic chance to pay off their court obligations without losing their driving privileges. The Supreme Court of Virginia is expected to consider a rule directing courts to provide affordable payment plans and allow offenders to drive so long as their payments are current. […]

May 13, 2016

Judges seek reassurance about JPE program

Mindful that some judges have not been re-elected after receiving low scores on the Judicial Performance Evaluation reports, Virginia’s trial judges continue to raise questions as the JPE program enters its third year in its second go-round.

May 2, 2016

Justices hear products liability appeal

A group of former Virginia Tech students who were poisoned by carbon monoxide from an over­worked water heater could get a second chance to recover from the manufacturer of the heater. The Supreme Court of Virginia is consid­ering whether a jury instruction on “super­seding cause” could have led a Richmond jury astray when they decided […]

May 2, 2016

A shadow docket?

A Virginia Beach man says he never got his rightful day in court because the clerk’s office re­fused to summon his witnesses. Although he blamed his predic­ament on a so-called “shadow docket” at the clerk’s office, his opponent says it likely was just a miscommunication. A four-justice majority of the Su­preme Court of Virginia upheld […]

Apr 25, 2016

Sanctions Reversed for Jury Instruction Error

A trial court erred in imposing sanctions of $200 each on two trial lawyers who in­advertently submitted an erroneous jury instruction during trial while defending a riding instructor in a wrongful death case; the Supreme Court of Virginia says the sanction was not authorized by the court’s inherent power or proper under Va. Code § […]

Apr 20, 2016

Sanction reversed for jury instruction error

Two trial lawyers who inadvertently submitted an erroneous jury instruction should not have been sanctioned $200 each, the Supreme Court of Virginia said on April 14.

Apr 10, 2016

Lemons receives VSB Education Award

Chief Justice Donald W. Lemons of the Supreme Court of Virginia has been named the recipient of the William R. Rakes Leadership in Education Award from the Virginia State Bar section on the education of lawyers. The award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated exceptional leadership and vision in improving and enhancing the state of […]

Mar 3, 2016

Court expands judge’s jurisdiction

A Supreme Court order could ease tension at the General Assembly over restrictions on a judge’s service. Virginia Supreme Court Chief Justice Donald W. Lemons has designated General District Judge Robert B. Beasley Jr. to hear cases in an 18-county area outside his normal jurisdiction for the next three months. The designation likely means that […]

Feb 23, 2016

Lawyer Sanction Reversed for Late-Filing Denial

A unanimous Supreme Court of Virginia reverses a $1,200 sanction against a plaintiff’s lawyer who declined to voluntarily extend the time in which a defendant might file an answer to plaintiff’s complaint; in refusing to extend the deadline, plaintiff’s counsel was pursuing his client’s best interest and following the client’s express direction. Plaintiff, a heating […]

Feb 16, 2016

No sanction for denial of deadline extension

The Supreme Court of Virginia has struck down a $1,200 penalty for a lawyer who refused to allow extra time for an adversary to respond to a lawsuit. In an opinion penned by Chief Justice Donald W. Lemons that outlines the distinction between professionalism and basic ethical standards, the court ruled a trial judge went […]

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