Justice William C. Mims

Aug 25, 2022

Utility ratemaking case remanded

Where an electric power company recorded its costs related to the early retirement of several coal-fired electricity generating plants as asset impairments, the State Corporation Commission erred by concluding that it was unreasonable for the power company to do so. However, the SCC correctly refused to authorize a 6.5 percent rate increase to residential customers […]

Jan 24, 2022

Bill of review for tax assessment revived

Where the Emmanuel Worship Center challenged the city of Petersburg’s property tax assessment on a “learning annex,” the circuit court erred by dismissing EWC’s bill of review after concluding the underlying matter was an action at law. Under the relevant statutes, a bill of review is an equitable proceeding. The court further erred by issuing […]

Jan 24, 2022

Evidence supports four-year suspension

The Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board had jurisdiction to discipline a state bar associate member. Further, substantial evidence supports the board’s determination that he violated several provisions of the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct. The board’s order that his law license be suspended for four years is affirmed. Background Robol obtained a Virginia law license […]

Nov 1, 2021

First impression: Absolute privilege may apply to lis pendens

Answering a question of first impression, the Virginia Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the filing of a lis pendens is part of a judicial proceeding for purposes of establishing absolute privilege against a defamation claim. However, Judge William C. Mims was careful to hold that absolute privilege does not apply to non-defamation torts in Virginia. […]

Oct 28, 2021

Claims reinstated in lis pendens case

Where the circuit court sustained, on the basis of absolute privilege, appellee’s demurrers to claims arising from a lis pendens filing on property, this was error. Absolute privilege is an affirmative defense, which may not be raised in a demurrer. As to the merits, absolute privilege is a defense to defamation claims, such as the […]

Jul 28, 2021

Mims to leave high court next year

Supreme Court Justice William C. Mims has notified the governor and legislative leaders that he will not seek reelection to the court next year when his term comes to an end on March 31. By letter this morning, the justice said, “Serving the people of the Commonwealth for a 12-year term on the Court, and […]

Jun 21, 2021

COA properly dismissed appeal petition by nonparty

Where petitioner was not a party to an adoption proceeding, the Court of Appeals correctly granted the adoptive father’s motion to dismiss her petition to appeal the adoption order. Background Petitioner Bonanno is the mother of Elizabeth Quinn, who married James Quinn II in 2013. Elizabeth had a daughter from a previous relationship with Graham. […]

Jun 10, 2021

Injuries in separate accidents bars permanent disability award

Where claimant injured his neck and left arm and hand in a work-related accident and later fell down some stairs at home and injured his left knee, the Court of Appeals erred by affirming the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission’s award of total disability. Prior proceedings Vincent sold pharmaceuticals for    Merck. While on a sales call […]

Jun 10, 2021

Protective order’s return of service not testimonial

Where appellant attempted to buy firearms while under an unexpired preliminary protection order, the order’s return of service, which was used at trial to establish an element of the offense, was not “testimonial.” Therefore, appellant’s Sixth Amendment confrontation right was not violated when the court admitted the return into evidence without allowing him to confront […]

Apr 23, 2021

Reverter clause in 1875 charitable gift upheld

Where land was conveyed to a church under an 1875 deed that provided the land would revert to the grantors or their heirs if it was not used for church purposes, this was not an unreasonable restraint on alienation. As a result, when there was a default on a loan secured by the land, the […]

Apr 8, 2021

Fees proper in breach of pact not to sue case

An award of attorneys’ fees can be proper in a case for breach of a covenant not to sue, the Supreme Court of Virginia has ruled in a case of firm impression. Virginia adheres to the American Rule on attorneys’ fees, which requires there to be a contractual or statutory provision for a successful litigant […]

Apr 5, 2021

Lawyers report success with COVID jury trials

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.VA. — Courts are trying civil cases again, and four trial lawyers returned from the battlefields to share success stories at the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association annual convention March 26. As of that date, the Supreme Court of Virginia had approved 113 jury trial plans out of 120 circuits, according to Justice […]

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