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Justice William C. Mims

Mar 8, 2020

COA’s interpretation of hit-run statute vacated

The Court of Appeals correctly affirmed appellant’s conviction under the hit and run statute after determining there was sufficient evidence to show that he failed to satisfy either of the two post-accident reporting requirements. However, the Court of Appeals should not have sua sponte opined that the statute required appellant to satisfy only one of […]

Feb 27, 2020

Court: Judge too quick to strike med mal case

Expert testimony that the timely examination of an obstetrical patient by the defendant doctors would likely have saved the woman’s life was enough to let the wrongful death case go to a jury, the Supreme Court of Virginia has ruled. While cross-examination may have undermined the plaintiff’s experts, the trial judge considering a motion to […]

Feb 21, 2020

Felony hit and run is predicate for felony homicide

Where a hit and run victim later died from his injuries, the felony hit and run can serve as the predicate offense for a felony homicide conviction. Appellant, the hit and run driver, was properly convicted of both charges because malice can be imputed from her actions and the victim’s death was within the res […]

Feb 21, 2020

Infectious death case incorrectly dismissed

Where plaintiff’s experts testified that had defendant doctors promptly diagnosed and treated the pregnant decedent’s infection she might not have died, this evidence was sufficient to survive defendants’ motion to strike at trial. The trial court erred by granting the motion and dismissing the case. A new trial will be conducted on remand. Overview Plaintiff […]

Dec 30, 2019

Eyewitness identification expert’s testimony partially excluded

Proffered testimony from an eyewitness expert was properly excluded because in one instance, the issue of eyewitness confidence was within the jurors’ common experience, and in another instance, the expert discussed the concept of unconscious transference but stated this did not occur in appellant’s case. Background Jackson identified appellant Watson as the man who shot […]

Dec 24, 2019

City not liable for defective fire hydrant

Where the decedent died in a house fire, sovereign immunity bars a suit against the city for maintaining a defective fire hydrant. The essence of the estate’s claim is that city firefighters did not extinguish the fire quickly enough to rescue the decedent. However, firefighting is a municipal function, which is protected by governmental immunity. […]

Dec 9, 2019

Court lacked jurisdiction to modify pension distribution

Although a circuit court retains jurisdiction to correct or clarify a pension distribution order after Rule 1:1’s 21-day period, the court lacks jurisdiction “to change the substance of the original division of property.” As a result, where the property distribution awarded appellant wife 50% of appellee’s military pension, less a fee for calculating a survivor […]

Dec 9, 2019

Pension distribution order fixed after 21 days

A divorced couple’s pension distribution order was final and unassailable after 21 days, according to a ruling last month from the Supreme Court of Virginia. Even though a statute expands the jurisdiction of a circuit court to modify a pension order in certain circumstances, it does not open the door to substantive changes in the […]

Dec 4, 2019

Appraiser’s testimony incorrectly excluded

Where the trial court upheld a city’s assessment of appellant’s marine container terminal and associated equipment, an expert’s testimony that the assessment should have been lower was improperly excluded on the basis that he lacked a Virginia appraiser’s license at trial. Facts Virginia International Gateway, a marine container terminal, believed the city of Portsmouth’s assessment [&he[...]

Sep 23, 2019

Cocaine found during ‘Terry’ stop admissible

Defendant’s actions while seated in his car – digging between and beneath the seats and behind him with his hands – gave police a reasonable suspicion that he was reaching for a weapon, which justified removing defendant from his car and seizing him. Cocaine found in the car was properly admitted as evidence at defendant’s […]

Sep 23, 2019

Introducing the Virginia Lawyers Wellness blog

We have had numerous stories in the past two years about lawyer wellness, starting in late 2017 when Virginia’s Chief Justice, Donald W. Lemons, was a member of a national wellness task force. He brought the idea back to the commonwealth and tasked a colleague, Justice William C. Mims, with starting a Supreme Court task […]

Aug 5, 2019

‘Firing on all six cylinders’

HOT SPRINGS – Justice William C. Mims has been leading the charge for lawyer wellness for more than a year now. Chief Justice Donald W. Lemons tapped him to chair a special committee of the high court last year; Mims has been involved in most of the wellness initiatives across Virginia, often appearing before bar […]

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