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U.S. District Court - Western District

Feb 26, 2023

Default judgment vacated in breach of contract suit

Where defendants showed they had meritorious defenses to the breach of contract suit, that they acted with reasonable promptness and there was no prejudice to the plaintiff or history of dilatory action by the defendants, the default judgment was vacated. Background Dongguan Jianqun Shoes Company Ltd. sued Consolidated Shoe Company Inc., Consolidated Shoe Company Ltd. […]

Feb 26, 2023

Detainee awarded damages for alleged sex assault

Where a magistrate judge, in determining what amount to award to a detainee who alleged she was sexually assaulted by a correctional officer, cited cases in which plaintiffs have been awarded compensatory and punitive damages under similar facts, he did not err. Although he naturally considered similarly-situated prison detainees, he did not indicate they deserve […]

Feb 26, 2023

Southwest Virginia utility not entitled to immunity

Although the Virginia General Assembly created BVU Authority, or BVUA, to provide various utility services to residents in three localities in Virginia, and the Commonwealth exercises control by dictating who sits on its board and limits certain of the board’s powers, the BVUA isn’t entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity as an arm of the state. […]

Feb 26, 2023

Economic loss rule bars tort claims against broker

Where a party asserted negligence and breach of fiduciary duty claims against its insurance broker for allegedly failing to procure the proper type of insurance, Virginia’s economic loss rule barred the claims. Background This case initially involved a dispute over whether a marine insurance policy issued by Atlantic Specialty Insurance Company, or ASIC to Bogdan […]

Feb 26, 2023

Insurer has duty to defend Legionella bacteria suit

Where a man alleged he was injured when he inhaled Legionella bacteria while using a hot tub and pool at a Best Western, an insurance company must defend that suit. Neither the bacteria exclusion nor the pollution exclusion applied to bar coverage. Background The Brethren Mutual Insurance Company and Great American Alliance Insurance Company brought […]

Feb 26, 2023

No sanctions for failure to preserve evidence

Where defendants argued a woman who was injured in an automobile accident should be sanctioned because her vehicle event data recorder, or EDR, had been destroyed, but the record showed the woman’s counsel took reasonable steps to preserve the EDR, but defense counsel failed to take timely steps to gather such evidence, the motion was […]

Feb 26, 2023

Liberty University dodges disgruntled student’s suit

Where a former student alleged that his removal from Liberty University’s online Ph.D. program constituted racial discrimination, but his complaint did not contain any factual allegations plausibly suggesting he was discriminated against on the basis of race, his suit was dismissed. Background Jerome L. Grimes, proceeding pro se, filed a complaint against Liberty University, Liberty’s [&hellip[...]

Feb 20, 2023

Treadmill class action suit keeps running

A class action lawsuit alleging that a treadmill manufacturer violated warranties and fraudulently misrepresented its horsepower capabilities outran dismissal in the Western District of Virginia. After allowing the plaintiff to sidestep a jurisdictional roadblock, Judge Elizabeth K. Dillon refused to dismiss all but one of the claims and granted leave to amend the express warranty […]

Feb 17, 2023

Forum-selection clause requires remand to state court

Where the parties’ contract required “exclusive venue in Giles County, Virginia” for disputes arising under the contract, and there is no federal court in Giles County, enforcement of the forum selection clause required remand to the circuit court. Background This case involves a state law breach of contract claim by U.S. Crane & Rigging Inc. […]

Feb 17, 2023

Sanctions denied despite late document production

Although a party in a complex construction case made a late production of more than 79,000 documents, requiring the re-deposition of five witnesses, sanctions were denied. The party acted promptly by alerting the court and opposing counsel about the error, and discovery was completed within the discovery deadline. Background In this complex construction case, on […]

Feb 17, 2023

Pro se plaintiff sanctioned for filing frivolous motions

Where the court denied a man’s four motions as baseless, and warned him against filing further similar motions, and the man then filed more similar motions, he was ordered to pay $2,660 to the defendant. Background The court directed Jie Liu to show cause why he should not be sanctioned under Rule 11. As stated […]

Feb 13, 2023

Treadmill manufacturers sued for alleged false statements

Where the purchaser of a treadmill alleged that manufacturers made false representations about the treadmills’ horsepower, her Virginia warranty and fraud claims survived their motions to dismiss. Background This is a putative class action brought by Wendy Prince, on behalf of herself and similarly situated purchasers of Horizon Fitness treadmills. The amended class action complaint […]

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