Justice Stephen R. McCullough

May 1, 2023

Sour result: No pre-litigation attorneys’ fees under lemon law

A car manufacturer didn’t violate Virginia’s “Lemon Law” statute when it offered a refund to a dissatisfied purchaser but refused to pay for all of their pre-litigation attorneys’ fees, the Supreme Court of Virginia has held. Consumers who prevail in a civil action under the Lemon Law statute can recover attorneys’ fees, but “[i]f there […]

Apr 13, 2023

No pre-suit attorney fees under lemon law

Collateral or incidental damages under Virginia’s “Lemon Law” do not include pre-litigation attorney’s fees. “Therefore, when a manufacturer provides a refund, it is not required to pay pre-litigation attorney’s fees to satisfy its obligations under the Lemon Law.” Background After experiencing many problems with a new Hyundai vehicle, appellant Ranger, through his attorney, sent Hyu[...]

Feb 27, 2023

Neighbors’ boat dock battle resolved

A long simmering landowner dispute over the right to store boats at a private dock in a lakefront community has been resolved by the Supreme Court of Virginia. The owner of a waterfront lot granted an access easement to the owners of two adjacent parcels in exchange for their agreement to build a retaining wall. […]

Feb 17, 2023

Prescriptive easement to dock boat recognized

Where appellants docked a boat along appellees’ retaining wall for more than 20 years, they have established a prescriptive easement to dock the boat. The circuit court erred by concluding that after a former owner sold the land, his permission to dock the boat survived the sale. The court correctly concluded that appellants did not […]

Jan 5, 2023

County’s machine and tool tax was not uniform

Where a county increased its machinery and tool tax for one year to cover a budget shortfall resulting from prior M&T tax refunds but issued economic grants to offset the tax increase to only those businesses “negatively impacted by the adjustment to the M&T tax,” this resulted in an unconstitutional nonuniform tax. The circuit court […]

Oct 23, 2022

Foreign judgment incorrectly recognized

Although the circuit court correctly admitted a will to probate and appointed an estate administrator, the court incorrectly granted summary judgment to a German charity that was making a claim against the decedent’s brokerage account. Background Towsey, the decedent, had dual citizenship in the United States and Germany. After his death, the circuit court appointed […]

Audi dealership
Oct 3, 2022

Sanctions award of attorneys’ fees upheld

Even though a party didn’t have to pay her own attorneys’ fees, she had incurred reasonable expenses that could be awarded as sanctions, the Virginia Supreme Court has held in a matter of first impression. “We conclude that regardless of whether the attorney’s fees were incurred personally by [the defendant], the fees were incurred on […]

Sep 24, 2022

Attorney fee award must be recalculated

Where appellants were sanctioned for filing frivolous claims against an employee, most of the trial court’s sanctions were correct. The attorney fees award, however, must be recalculated. The court awarded attorney fees on the whole of appellants’ claims instead of segregating the sanctionable claim from the rest. Background Gebreyessus worked as a vehicle salesperson for […]

Jul 25, 2022

IFTA preempts tax on internet service sales

Appellant was incorrectly denied a refund of county taxes paid on its sale of internet access services. The circuit court determined that a grandfather clause in the Internet Tax Freedom Act allowed the county to impose Business and Professional Occupational License taxes. However, the ITFA preempts Fairfax County’s BPOL. The circuit court’s ruling is reversed […]

Surgical procedure
Jun 12, 2022

High court: Harmless error doctrine limited by VAPA

The Supreme Court of Virginia has asked the state health commissioner to re-evaluate an application for a certificate of public need, or COPN, from Chesapeake Regional Medical Center for a new open-heart surgery service and cardiac catheterization equipment. The decision came as the court reversed and remanded previous rulings by a circuit court and the […]

Jun 3, 2022

Neighbors can challenge teen treatment center

Where the Fairfax County Board of Zoning Appeals approved a treatment center for teenage girls that would operate from a house, neighbors who live or own property next to the proposed center have standing to challenge the BZA’s decision. Background Newport Academy, one of the appellees in this case, wants to open a residential treatment […]

Dispute resolution concept
May 27, 2022

Trust not subject to mandatory arbitration

The denial of a trustee’s motion to compel arbitration pursuant to a clause in the trust has been affirmed by the Virginia Supreme Court. The court concluded that a trust is not a contract subject to mandatory arbitration under the Virginia Uniform Arbitration Act, or VUAA, and the Federal Arbitration Act, or FAA. Furthermore, a […]

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