Published Order

Apr 6, 2020

Uncertified nurse examiner properly qualified as expert

The trial court properly qualified a sexual assault nurse examiner as an expert at appellant’s rape trial even though she had not taken the certifying examination. Overview Appellant Wakeman was charged with two counts of rape. The commonwealth called Balciunas, the sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE) who examined the victim, to testify about the examination […]

Dec 30, 2019

Force instruction in rape case approved

Where the court instructed the jury that it could convict defendant of forcible sodomy and aggravated sexual battery if it found either that he overcame the victim’s will by force or because of her physical or mental capacity, there was no error. Ruling Appellant “Davison contended that the jury instructions were flawed because they required […]

Dec 24, 2019

Driver had actual notice of prior license suspensions

Where appellant was convicted of driving after forfeiture of her license, third offense in 10 years, the Court of Appeals correctly concluded that there was sufficient evidence that she knew her license was revoked on the date of the offense. Relevant law “Code § 18.2-272(A) states, in relevant part, that ‘[a]ny person who drives or […]

Dec 4, 2019

Admission of unauthenticated records was harmless error

The jury’s failure to award plaintiff damages after finding defendant liable was not flawed by the trial court’s admission of unauthenticated medical records. The error was harmless either because the information was established by other testimony, or it “had only a slight effect upon the verdict.” Facts In December 2016, Spruill was a passenger in […]

Dec 4, 2019

Expert testimony did not negate contract definition

Where plaintiff sought to delay closing on a real estate purchase after discovering the presence of “hazardous wastes” and “hazardous substances” as defined by the parties’ contract, the trial court’s ruling that plaintiff breached the contract by not closing on the specified date is reversed. The trial court misinterpreted expert testimony and the parties’ contract […]

Sep 17, 2019

Expert properly quizzed about disciplinary matter

The trial court correctly ruled that a defense expert in this medical malpractice case could be questioned about findings and conclusions in a medical board disciplinary consent order. Further, two mistrial motions were properly denied because any prejudice from the complained-of statements was cured by the trial court’s jury instructions. An $800,000 medical malpractice verdict […]

Aug 12, 2019

Computer sex solicitation statute constitutional

A statute criminalizing an adult’s use of a computer to solicit sex from a child who the adult “knows or has reason to believe” is less than 15 years old is not unconstitutionally vague or overbroad. Background Robert Leigh Stolz challenges his conviction under Code § 18.2-374.3(C). A police detective posing as “Annie,” a 13-year-old […]

Jul 29, 2019

Revocation of lawyer’s license is upheld

“Upon consideration of the record, briefs, and argument, the Court is of opinion that there is no error in the memorandum order that is the subject of this appeal. “A three-judge court found that Virginia attorney Joseph D. Morrissey violated Rules 5.1(b), 5.5(c), and 8.4(b) of the Virginia Rules of Professional Conduct. The judges concluded […]

Jul 29, 2019

‘Common burden’ permits equitable contribution claim

Where an insurer settled a claim in full after the circuit court ruled the insurer was primarily liable, the settling insurer can seek equitable contribution from the other insurer on the risk after the circuit court’s ruling was reversed on appeal. Facts Two insurers, collectively “Nationwide” and Erie, another insurer, sought a declaration in a […]

Jul 21, 2019

Sovereign immunity not abrogated in boat case

Sovereign immunity bars a plaintiff’s simple negligence claim arising from the capsizing of a municipal police boat. Neither the federal savings clause in 28 USC § 1331(1) nor general maritime law pre-empts the state doctrine of sovereign immunity. The circuit court properly denied plaintiff Pridemore’s motion to strike a plea in bar filed by defendants, […]

Jul 8, 2019

Defamation claim was incorrectly sent to jury

A defamation verdict for plaintiff is reversed because the complained-of statement expressed an opinion. The claim should not have been submitted to the jury. Overview Defendant Sroufe, the division superintendent for Patrick County Public Schools, removed plaintiff Waldron from her position as principal of an elementary school. He said Waldron would be transferred to the […]

Jun 14, 2019

Attorney admonished for Rule 3.3(a)(1) violation

The Virginia Supreme Court agrees with a three-judge panel’s memorandum order, which determined that respondent-appellant violated Rule 3.3(a)(1) of the Rules of Professional Conduct and that an admonition is the appropriate sanction. In its order, the panel “unanimously found under the clear and convincing evidentiary standard that the manner Respondent presented the language from the [&helli[...]

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