Supreme Court of Virginia Decisions 2016

Payne v. Commonwealth  
Date: December 29, 2016
Docket Number: 151524

Justia Opinion Summary: After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of one count each of robbery and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony The circuit court sentenced Defendant to six years’ active incarceration on the robbery count an...

Johnson v. Arlington County  
Date: December 22, 2016
Docket Number: 160246

Justia Opinion Summary: Plaintiffs, two Arlington County taxpayers, challenged the County’s inclusion of transferrable development rights (TDRs) in their real estate assessment, arguing that the County had no authority assess and tax TDRs on th...

Johnson v. Commonwealth  
Date: December 15, 2016
Docket Number: 141623

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant was two months short of his eighteenth birthday when he shot and killed Timothy Irving. After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of eight felonies, including first degree murder. The trial court sentenced De...

Western Refining Yorktown v. County of York  
Date: December 15, 2016
Docket Number: 151641

Justia Opinion Summary: Western Refining Yorktown, Inc. was the owner of a refinery that was subject to the machinery and tools tax. Western challenged the Commissioner of Revenue’s 2010 and 2011 assessments in the circuit court. The trial cour...

In re Vauter  
Date: December 15, 2016
Docket Number: 151723

Justia Opinion Summary: In 2000, Gregory Devon Murphy was indicted for capital murder of a child and two counts of malicious wounding. The Circuit Court of the City of Alexandria found Murphy was incompetent to stand trial, and Murphy received...

Rich v. Commonwealth  
Date: December 15, 2016
Docket Number: 151841

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant was convicted in the trial court for DUI-reckless-victim permanently impaired (DUI maiming). The court of appeals affirmed Defendant’s conviction. Defendant appealed, arguing that the trial court erred in findi...

Commonwealth v. Lambert  
Date: December 15, 2016
Docket Number: 160132

Justia Opinion Summary: After a trial, Defendant, a preschool education teacher, was convicted of assault and battery of a special needs student. The court of appeals reversed Defendant’s conviction and remanded the case to the trial court for...

McGrath v. Dockendorf  
Date: December 15, 2016
Docket Number: 160262

Justia Opinion Summary: In 2012, Ethan Dockendorf proposed to Julia McGrath and offered her an engagement ring worth approximately $26,000. In 2013, Dockendorf broke off the engagement, and the parties never married. Dockendorf subsequently fil...

Johnson v. Commonwealth  
Date: December 8, 2016
Docket Number: 151200

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant was charged with forgery, uttering, and attempting to obtain money by false pretenses. Johnson was ordered to appear for a preliminary hearing but did not appear on the scheduled date. Consequently, a grand jur...

Currier v. Commonwealth (ORDER)
Date: December 8, 2016
Docket Number: 160102
Clark v. Virginia Department of State Police  
Date: December 1, 2016
Docket Number: 151857

Justia Opinion Summary: Plaintiff filed suit against the Virginia Department of State Police (VSP), an agency of the Commonwealth, under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) alleging that he was denied a promot...

Reineck v. Lemen  
Date: November 23, 2016
Docket Number: 151917

Justia Opinion Summary: Frank Still and Jane Still, who were married, created trusts in 1991 and amended those trusts in 1999. Also in 1999, Frank executed a durable power of attorney. Frank designated Jane as his attorney-in-fact should he bec...

Hensel Phelps Construction Co. v. Thompson Masonry Contractor, Inc.  
Date: November 3, 2016
Docket Number: 151780

Justia Opinion Summary: In 1997, Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University awarded General Contractor a prime contract for construction work. General Contractor hired Subcontractors to complete portions of the project. Sureties acted as...

Velazquez v. Commonwealth  
Date: October 27, 2016
Docket Number: 150849

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant pleaded guilty to computer solicitation of a child. Defendant subsequently submitted a pro se notice of appeal, arguing that he was forced to sign the plea deal out of fear and anxiety. The trial court subseque...

Hines v. Commonwealth  
Date: October 27, 2016
Docket Number: 151066

Justia Opinion Summary: After a bench trial, Defendant was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter. The trial court subsequently granted the Commonwealth’s motion to amend the indictment and also found Defendant guilty of shooting another person...

Commonwealth v. Proffitt  
Date: October 27, 2016
Docket Number: 151514

Justia Opinion Summary: The Commonwealth initiated proceedings under the Civil Commitment of Sexually Violent Predators Act to involuntarily commit Brady Proffitt as a sexually violent predator. After a trial, the jury found that the evidence h...

Shareholder Representative Services v. Airbus Americas, Inc.  
Date: October 27, 2016
Docket Number: 151640

Justia Opinion Summary: At issue in this case was a contract dispute between the purchaser (Purchaser) and the seller (Seller) of a corporation pursuant to a corporative merger agreement. The agreement provided for three different liability lim...

Washington v. Prasad  
Date: October 27, 2016
Docket Number: 151783

Justia Opinion Summary: Ravi Prasad purchased a lot at a tax sale. Shorty thereafter, Appellee mistakenly began renovating a house on a nearby lot owned by William and Elnora Washington, spending more than $23,500 on the renovations. When the W...

SunTrust Bank v. PS Business Parks, LP  
Date: October 27, 2016
Docket Number: 151935

Justia Opinion Summary: PS Business Parks, LP obtained a judgment against Deutsch & Gilden, Inc. PS Business filed a garnishment summons naming Deutsch & Gilden, Inc. as the judgment debtor and SunTrust Bank as the garnishee. SunTrust processed...

Robinson v. Salvation Army  
Date: October 27, 2016
Docket Number: 160039

Justia Opinion Summary: After Frances Robinson was fired from her employment with the Salvation Army, she filed a wrongful termination suit alleging that she was terminated for refusing requests from her store manager to engage in fornication....

Elliott v. Carter  
Date: October 27, 2016
Docket Number: 160224

Justia Opinion Summary: Thirteen-year-old Caleb Smith drowned on a Boy Scout camping trip. Chancy Elliott, on behalf of Caleb’s estate, brought a wrongful death suit against Trevor Carter, the peer leader of Caleb’s troop, alleging gross neglig...

Du v. Commonwealth  
Date: September 22, 2016
Docket Number: 151058

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant pleaded guilty to the statutory rape of his half-sister, the aggravated malicious wounding of his father, and the malicious wounding of his stepmother. At sentencing, the trial court ordered lifetime probation...

Cygnus Newport-Phase 1B, LLC v. City of Portsmouth  
Date: September 22, 2016
Docket Number: 151702

Justia Opinion Summary: In 2004, the prior owner of certain property acquired title to the property and granted a deed of trust on the property to Bank of America. The City of Portsmouth subsequently created the New Port Community Development A...

Collins v. Commonwealth  
Date: September 15, 2016
Docket Number: 151277

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant was convicted of receiving stolen property and sentenced to three years’ imprisonment. Before trial, Defendant moved to suppress evidence obtained when police conducted a warrantless search of a stolen motorcyc...

Miller & Rhoads Bldg., LLC v. City of Richmond  
Date: September 15, 2016
Docket Number: 151701

Justia Opinion Summary: Miller & Rhoads Building, LLC (MRB) purchased a building that was subject to a city-wide real estate tax and an annual special district tax. MRB sought a partial exemption from real estate taxes for the property under th...

Edwards v. Vesilind  
Date: September 15, 2016
Docket Number: 160643

Justia Opinion Summary: Plaintiffs brought an action against the Virginia State Board of Elections, the Department of Elections, and various officers in their official capacities, alleging that eleven districts were unconstitutional and seeking...

Holiday Motor Corp. v. Walters  
Date: September 8, 2016
Docket Number: 150391

Justia Opinion Summary: Shannon Walters sustained serious injuries when her 1995 Mazda Miata convertible overturned while she was driving it with the soft top closed. Walters filed negligence and breach of implied warranty of merchantability cl...

Granado v. Commonwealth  
Date: September 8, 2016
Docket Number: 150936

Justia Opinion Summary: Eliseo Granado was convicted of driving a motor vehicle while intoxicated. Granado filed a notice of appeal. On the deadline for filing a written statement of facts, Granado filed a proposed written statement of facts in...

Property Damage Specialists, Inc. v. Rechichar  
Date: September 8, 2016
Docket Number: 151214

Justia Opinion Summary: Plaintiff filed suit against his former employer (Defendant), claiming that Defendant violated Va. Code Ann. 40.1-51.2:1 by terminating his employment in retaliation for his complaining about unsafe practices at Defendan...

Huff v. Winston  
Date: September 8, 2016
Docket Number: 151688

Justia Opinion Summary: In 2001, Plaintiff, a member of the United States Army Reserve, was hired by the Roanoke County Sheriff’s Office (the Sheriff) as a deputy sheriff. In 2009, Plaintiff was deployed to Afghanistan, where she suffered physi...

Walker v. Forbes  
Date: September 8, 2016
Docket Number: 151848

Justia Opinion Summary: While on probation for a petit larceny as a third offense conviction, Christopher Forbes pled guilty to robbery and abduction. Because the new convictions constituted a violation of Forbes’ probation, the circuit court h...

Bd. of Supervisors of Loudoun County v. State Corp. Comm’n  
Date: September 8, 2016
Docket Numbers: 151976, 160002

Justia Opinion Summary: These consolidated appeals arose from a Va. Code Ann. 56-542(D) investigation by the State Corporation Commission of the tolls charged by Toll Road Investors Partnership II, LP for the Dulles Greenway, a privately owned...

Wright v. Commonwealth  
Date: August 18, 2016
Docket Number: 150181

Justia Opinion Summary: After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of felony malicious bodily injury by means of a caustic substance, felony assault and battery of a law enforcement officer, obstruction of justice, and grand larceny from the p...

Scott v. Commonwealth  
Date: August 18, 2016
Docket Number: 150932

Justia Opinion Summary: After a bench trial, Defendant was convicted of statutory burglary, possession of a firearm by a felon, assault and battery of a family member, pointing or brandishing a firearm, and credit card theft in violation of Va....

Howell v. McAuliffe  
Date: July 22, 2016
Docket Number: 160784

Justia Opinion Summary: Governor Terence McAuliffe issued an executive order restoring certain civil rights, including the right to vote, of approximately 206,000 Virginians who had been convicted of a felony but who had since completed their s...

Small v. Commonwealth  
Date: July 14, 2016
Docket Number: 150965

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm after conviction of a felony. Prior to sentencing, defendant filed a motion to withdraw his guilty plea, arguing that he made a material mistake of fact in pleading gui...

Edmonds v. Commonwealth  
Date: July 14, 2016
Docket Number: 151100

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm after conviction of a felony. Prior to sentencing, Defendant moved to withdraw his guilty plea, arguing that he had a reasonable basis for asserting the defense of dure...

Cherrie v. Virginia Health Servs., Inc.  
Date: July 14, 2016
Docket Number: 151758

Justia Opinion Summary: The two decedents in these consolidated cases were residents at two different nursing homes operating by Virginia Health Services, Inc. After their deaths, the executors asked the nursing homes to provide copies of the w...

City of Richmond v. Va. Elec. & Power Co.  
Date: June 30, 2016
Docket Number: 150617

Justia Opinion Summary: Virginia Electric and Power Company (VEPCO) operated a gas-fired electric general station located in the City of Richmond. The City assessed tax for natural gas consumed at the station. VEPCO challenged the assessments,...

Babcock & Wilcox Co. v. Areva NP, Inc.  
Date: June 30, 2016
Docket Number: 150830

Justia Opinion Summary: This case involved a royalty dispute over the use of nuclear technology. Areva NP, Inc. filed a complaint against Babcock & Wilcox Company (B&W) and affiliated companies (collectively, the B&W defendants), alleging breac...

Commonwealth, Div. of Risk Mgmt. v. Va. Ass'n of Counties Group Self Ins. Risk Pool  
Date: June 23, 2016
Docket Number: 150930

Justia Opinion Summary: A pretrial detainee asserted claims under 42 U.S.C. 1983 against guards and nurses at a regional jail. The jail authority had purchased a general liability insurance policy (the VaCorp Policy) from the Virginia Associati...

Hamm v. Hazelwood  
Date: June 23, 2016
Docket Number: 151158

Justia Opinion Summary: In 1989, Dorothy Hamm executed a deed of gift transferring her one-half interest in a parcel of property to Melba Clark. The deed of gift reserved a life estate for Dorothy. Dorothy died in 2004. In her will, Dorothy lef...

Parrish v. Fed. Nat'l Mortgage Ass'n  
Date: June 16, 2016
Docket Number: 150454

Justia Opinion Summary: In 2014, the trustee under a deed of trust conveyed the Parrish property to the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae), which sent the Parrishes a notice to vacate and filed a summons for unlawful detainer in...

Va. Elec. & Power Co. v. Hylton  
Date: June 16, 2016
Docket Number: 150877

Justia Opinion Summary: Dominion obtained necessary certificates for transmission lines to connect Dominion’s recently-approved Wise County power plant with an existing Russell County substation. In 2008, Dominion offered Hylton $19,100 to purc...

Dorman v. State Indus., Inc.  
Date: June 16, 2016
Docket Number: 151088

Justia Opinion Summary: In 2007, four women moved into a Blacksburg apartment. Days later, on August 19, a service technician measured high levels of carbon monoxide at the apartment’s front door. Receiving no answer from the occupants, he ente...

Clarke v. Galdamez  
Date: June 9, 2016
Docket Number: 151022

Justia Opinion Summary: Pursuant to a negotiated plea agreement Defendant pleaded guilty to misdemeanor hit-and-run and driving while intoxicated. The United States Department of Homeland Security subsequently notified Defendant that his tempor...

Thorsen v. Richmond Soc'y for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals  
Date: June 2, 2016
Docket Number: 150528

Justia Opinion Summary: In 2003, Dumville met with attorney Thorsen to prepare her will. Thorsen understood that Dumville wanted a will that would, upon her death, convey all of her property to her mother if her mother survived her, and, if her...

Andrews v. Richmond Redevelopment & Housing Auth.  
Date: June 2, 2016
Docket Number: 150977

Justia Opinion Summary: Andrews, a senior property manager of a public housing complex, challenged the termination of her employment with the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority (RRHA) through RRHA’s grievance procedure. A hearing off...

Wilkins v. Commonwealth  
Date: June 2, 2016
Docket Number: 151068

Justia Opinion Summary: Wilkins was convicted of petit larceny, a subsequent offense, and was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment. Before trial, Wilkins’s counsel objected to Wilkins being tried while wearing jail-issued clothing, described a...

Johnston v. Wood & Assocs  
Date: June 2, 2016
Docket Number: 151160

Justia Opinion Summary: Johnston worked at William E. Wood & Associates, a real estate services firm, for 17 years. She was an at-will employee. Johnston’s employer terminated her without any advance notice. She sued, alleging that she was wron...

Commonwealth v. Bass  
Date: June 2, 2016
Docket Number: 151163

Justia Opinion Summary: Richmond police obtained warrants charging Bass with two robberies and an attempted robbery, arising out of a 2013 home invasion. A grand jury returned indictments charging Bass with the robberies of Irving Smith and Bro...

Bank of Hampton Roads v. Powell  
Date: June 2, 2016
Docket Number: 151190

Justia Opinion Summary: Powell owned property in Chesapeake, Virginia. In 2004, a developer, 3 MAC, bought her property for $265,000 and “one (1) lot to be mutually agreed upon by both Buyer and Seller in writing” to develop North Rollingwood E...

Saddlebrook Estates v. City of Suffolk  
Date: June 2, 2016
Docket Number: 151191

Justia Opinion Summary: A Suffolk developer set aside an Equestrian Center Parcel (ECP) for lease to a riding school and stable, with the stable to pay real estate taxes owed on the ECP. The lease expressly anticipated that ownership of the ECP...

Pike v. Hagaman  
Date: June 2, 2016
Docket Number: 151193

Justia Opinion Summary: Pike underwent complex surgery at Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center to reconstruct the back of his mouth and was taken, for recovery, to the Surgical Trauma Intensive Care Unit. Unit patients are often in v...

Wallace v. Commonwealth (ORDER)
Date: June 2, 2016
Docket Number: 151296
Mason v. Commonwealth  
Date: May 5, 2016
Docket Number: 150372

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant was convicted of three felony drug offenses. Defendant filed a pre-trial motion to suppress the evidence obtained as a result of a traffic stop, arguing that the stop violated his Fourth Amendment rights. A pan...

City of Chesapeake v. Dominion SecurityPlus Self Storage, LLC  
Date: April 28, 2016
Docket Number: 150328

Justia Opinion Summary: The City filed a petition for condemnation asking for a determination of just compensation for property taken and damages to the residue. The circuit court awarded Dominion SecurityPlus Self Storage, LLC $44,141 for the...

Navar, Inc. v. Federal Bus. Council  
Date: April 28, 2016
Docket Number: 150522

Justia Opinion Summary: The United States Defense Threat Reduction Agency sought a prime contractor to provide event-planning services. Plaintiffs offered their services as joint subcontractors to Navar, Inc. Plaintiffs and Navar entered into a...

Luttrell v. Cucco  
Date: April 28, 2016
Docket Number: 150770

Justia Opinion Summary: Samantha Cucco filed for divorce from Michael Luttrell. The circuit court entered a final decree of divorce that incorporated a Property, Custody, and Support Settlement Agreement (the PSA) executed by the parties. Pursu...

Dye v. CNX Gas Co., LLC  
Date: April 21, 2016
Docket Number: 150282

Justia Opinion Summary: Plaintiff, a successor in title to property interests retained by grantors in two severance deeds executed in 1886 and 1887, filed a declaratory judgment action seeking a determination that the term “minerals” used in th...

Mikhaylov v. Sales  
Date: April 21, 2016
Docket Number: 150552

Justia Opinion Summary: In 2011, Dmitry Mikhaylov pleaded guilty to assault and battery of Lisa Sales. In 2013, Sales filed a civil suit against Mikhaylov seeking damages for the assault and battery. Throughout the proceeding, Mikhaylov took th...

JSR Mechanical, Inc. v. Aireco Supply, Inc.  
Date: April 21, 2016
Docket Number: 150638

Justia Opinion Summary: In 2010, JSR Mechanical (JSR) filed a complaint against Aireco Supply alleging breach of contract and negligence. Aireco filed an answer, but there were no further pleadings filed for the next four years. In 2014, under...

Haynes v. Haggerty  
Date: April 21, 2016
Docket Number: 150666

Justia Opinion Summary: In 2014, Plaintiff filed suit against Defendant seeking damages for sexual assault and battery, aggravated sexual assault and battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Plaintiff alleged that Defendant, a...

Lopez-Rosario v. Habib  
Date: April 14, 2016
Docket Number: 150587

Justia Opinion Summary: The parents of Kenia Lopez-Rosario, an adult with several physical and cognitive disabilities, petitioned the circuit court appoint them as Lopez-Rosario’s co-guardians. The circuit court granted guardianship to the pare...

Ragland v. Soggin  
Date: April 14, 2016
Docket Number: 150875

Justia Opinion Summary: Two attorneys (together, “defense counsel”) were sanctioned $200 each during the course of their representation of Client, who was the defendant in a wrongful death suit. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the defen...

Vasquez v. Commonwealth  
Date: February 12, 2016
Docket Number: 141071

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendants, two sixteen-year-old males, were convicted of multiple felonies for breaking into the townhouse of a college student and raping her at knifepoint. On appeal, Defendants challenged the constitutionality of the...

Smith v. Brown  
Date: February 12, 2016
Docket Number: 141487

Justia Opinion Summary: Pursuant to a plea agreement, Defendant pleaded guilty to felony murder and distribution of a Schedule I controlled substance. Defendant later filed a habeas corpus petition challenging the felony-murder conviction and s...

Wetlands America Trust v. White Cloud Nine  
Date: February 12, 2016
Docket Number: 141577

Justia Opinion Summary: Wetlands America Trust, Inc. (WAT) held a conservation easement on property owned by White Cloud Nine Ventures, LP. When White Cloud commenced construction activities on the property, WAT filed the present action seeking...

Herrington v. Commonwealth  
Date: February 12, 2016
Docket Number: 150085

Justia Opinion Summary: After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of possession with intent to sell or distribute a Schedule I or II controlled substance. The court of appeals upheld the conviction. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the...

William H. Gordon Assocs. v. Heritage Fellowship, United Church of Christ  
Date: February 12, 2016
Docket Number: 150279

Justia Opinion Summary: Church entered into an engineering contract with Civil Engineer (Engineer) to design site plans for a rain tank system. Church entered into a contract with General Contractor (GC) for the construction of the rain tank. A...

Tvardek v. Powhatan Village Homeowners Ass’n  
Date: February 12, 2016
Docket Number: 150456

Justia Opinion Summary: In 2013, Plaintiffs filed a declaratory judgment action against their homeowners’ association (the HOA) challenging the validity of a 2008 amendment to the declaration of protective covenants and restrictions. The HOA fi...

Phelan v. Commonwealth  
Date: February 12, 2016
Docket Number: 150591

Justia Opinion Summary: Plaintiff, an inmate incarcerated at the Deerfield Correctional Center, allegedly injured her knee while working in the canning department of the Southampton complex. Plaintiff filed a complaint against the Commonwealth....

Env’t Specialist, Inc. v. Wells Fargo Bank  
Date: February 12, 2016
Docket Number: 150693

Justia Opinion Summary: Plaintiff filed a compliant against Defendants in order to enforce a mechanics lien. Wells Fargo was named in the complaint because it was the trustee and secured party of certain property. Wells Fargo filed a motion for...

Blount v. Clarke  
Date: February 12, 2016
Docket Number: 151017

Justia Opinion Summary: In 2008, the circuit court found Defendant guilty of multiple non-homicide offenses that he had committed as a juvenile. Defendant was sentenced to six consecutive life terms. In 2012, Defendant filed a federal habeas pe...

Richmond v. Volk  
Date: January 28, 2016
Docket Number: 150192

Justia Opinion Summary: Plaintiff was injured when her vehicle was struck by a vehicle driven by Defendant. In 2011, Plaintiff filed a complaint to recover damages for injuries she suffered in the collision, but the complaint contained a misnom...

Hampton Roads Bankshares, Inc. v. Harvard  
Date: January 14, 2016
Docket Number: 150323

Justia Opinion Summary: Scott Harvard was a former senior executive officer of Shore Bank and Hampton Roads Bankshares (HRB). During the 2008 financial crisis, HRB elected to participate in the federal Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP). The...

EMAC, LLC v. County of Hanover  
Date: January 14, 2016
Docket Number: 150335

Justia Opinion Summary: EMAC, LLC filed a declaratory judgment action against the County of Hanover and the Board of Supervisors of the County of Hanover (collectively, Defendants) challenging the Board’s decision to deny EMAC’s application for...

Virginia Fuel Corp. v. Lambert Coal Co.  
Date: January 7, 2016
Docket Number: 150317

Justia Opinion Summary: Virginia Fuel Corporation and Lambert Coal Company entered into an agreement by which Virginia Fuel agreed to acquire certain assets owned by Lambert. James C. Justice Companies, Inc. executed a guaranty guaranteeing Lam...

The opinions published on Justia State Caselaw are sourced from individual state court sites. These court opinions may not be the official published versions, and you should check your local court rules before citing to them. We make no warranties or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained on this site, or the information linked to on the state site.