Supreme Court of Virginia Decisions 2018

Parson v. Miller  
Date: December 20, 2018
Docket Number: 171393

Justia Opinion Summary: In this appeal of a judgment in a will contest the Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the trial court denying Defendant’s motion to strike the evidence and holding that the evidence was sufficient as a matter of law...

Shumate v. Mitchell  
Date: December 20, 2018
Docket Number: 180012

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court held that Virginia’s Dead Man’s Statute, Va. Code 8.01-397, permits admission of a decedent’s hearsay statements offered by the defense in a personal injury action brought against the decedent’s estate...

Ray v. Ready  
Date: December 20, 2018
Docket Number: 180060

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court denying Appellant’s motion to amend her complaint to name the personal representative of her deceased husband’s estate as the proper party defendant and dismis...

Crosby v. ALG Trustee, LLC  
Date: December 20, 2018
Docket Number: 180062

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the circuit court in sustaining the demurrer filed by ALG Trustee, LLC and dismissing Appellant’s second complaint with prejudice, holding that Appellant’s allegations were suff...

Hall v. Commonwealth  
Date: December 20, 2018
Docket Number: 180197

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the trial court’s determination that Defendant’s motion filed pursuant to the safety value provision of Va. Code 18.2-248(C), which provides potential relief from mandatory minimum sentences ac...

Leonard v. Commonwealth  
Date: December 13, 2018
Docket Number: 170965

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the circuit court denying Plaintiff’s application for a name change under Va. Code 8.01-217, holding that the circuit court abused its discretion by finding that good cause did...

In re Phillips  
Date: December 13, 2018
Docket Number: 171438

Justia Opinion Summary: Upon consideration of Darnell Phillips’ petition for a writ of actual innocence, Respondent’s motion to dismiss, and Phillips’ motion for a nonsuit, the Supreme Court decided that the writ of actual innocence will not is...

Board of Supervisors of Fairfax County v. Cohn  
Date: December 13, 2018
Docket Number: 171483

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the circuit court, reinstated the determination of the Fairfax County Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA), and entered final judgment for the Board of Supervisors of Fairfax County, h...

McGinnis v. Commonwealth  
Date: December 13, 2018
Docket Number: 180055

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Court of Appeals affirming Defendant’s convictions on three counts of violating Va. Code 18.2-181 without reviewing the merits of his assignment of error and reinstated the...

Smith v. Commonwealth  
Date: December 13, 2018
Docket Number: 180198

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the Court of Appeals sustaining Defendant’s conviction for voluntary manslaughter, holding that the Court of Appeals did not err when it found the evidence was sufficient to uph...

Bergano v. City of Virginia Beach  
Date: December 6, 2018
Docket Number: 171183

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the circuit court denying Appellant’s petition for a writ of mandamus asking the court to compel the City of Virginia Beach to limit the scope of the redaction the City provided...

Frouz v. Commonwealth  
Date: December 6, 2018
Docket Number: 171450

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court determining that Defendant’s dog was a “dangerous dog” within the meaning of Va. Code 3.2-6540(A), finding that Defendant was the custodian or harborer of the...

Jones v. Commonwealth  
Date: December 6, 2018
Docket Number: 180052

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals upholding Defendant’s conviction for shooting at an occupied vehicle under Va. Code 18.2-154, holding that the plain language of the statute did not require...

Gordon v. Kiser  
Date: December 6, 2018
Docket Number: 180162

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed in part and vacated in part the circuit court’s judgment denying a motion for nonsuit, prospectively denying an inmate in forma pauperis status pursuant to Va. Code 8.01-692, and imposing a pre...

Martinez v. Commonwealth  
Date: December 6, 2018
Docket Number: 180179

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court dismissed, without prejudice, Appellant’s appeal of the circuit court’s denial of Appellant’s motion for reconsideration of its prior order denying his second motion to dismiss his capital indictments,...

Chapman v. Commonwealth (PUBLISHED ORDER)
Date: November 29, 2018
Docket Number: 171417
Francis Hospitality, Inc. v. Read Properties, LLC  
Date: November 21, 2018
Docket Number: 170894

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the circuit court’s judgment against Defendants as to Plaintiff’s claims for tortious interference and statutory business conspiracy, holding that the circuit court erred in ruling that Defenda...

Sweely Holdings, LLC v. SunTrust Bank  
Date: November 21, 2018
Docket Number: 171165

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the circuit court dismissing on demurrer Sweely Holdings, LLC’s suit against SunTrust Bank alleging breach of contract, fraud in the inducement, and constructive fraud, holding...

Parker v. Carilion Clinic  
Date: November 1, 2018
Docket Number: 170132

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded the decision of the circuit court granting the demurrers filed by Carilion Clinic and Carilion Healthcare Corporation (collectively, Carilion) and dismis...

Botkin v. Commonwealth  
Date: November 1, 2018
Docket Number: 171555

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals holding that multiple mandatory minimum terms of imprisonment, imposed for multiple convictions under Va. Code 18.2-308.2(A) are required to be served conse...

Thomas v. Commonwealth  
Date: October 18, 2018
Docket Number: 170707

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed Defendant’s sentence of ten years in prison, three years suspended upon certain conditions, imposed in connection with Defendant’s conviction for felony child abuse and neglect, holding that th...

Johnson v. Commonwealth  
Date: October 18, 2018
Docket Number: 170963

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the Court of Appeals denying Defendant’s appeal from the circuit court’s order revoking twenty years of Defendant’s suspended sentence and resuspending fifteen years after findi...

Ettinger v. Oyster Bay II Community Property Owners’ Ass’n  
Date: October 18, 2018
Docket Number: 171542

Justia Opinion Summary: At issue in this boundary dispute was whether a property line ran to the center of a road where the deed described the property as being bounded by that road and included the property’s square footage, as well as a refer...

George Mason University v. Malik  
Date: October 18, 2018
Docket Number: 180005

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the circuit court finding that George Mason University’s (GMU) decision to deny Maheen Malik’s tuition reclassification was arbitrary, capricious, and contrary to law, holding t...

Secret v. Commonwealth  
Date: October 11, 2018
Docket Number: 170540

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s convictions of arson of an occupied dwelling and nine counts of attempted first-degree murder, holding that the trial court did not err in denying Defendant’s motion to suppress his...

Quisenberry v. Huntington Ingalls Inc.  
Date: October 11, 2018
Docket Number: 171494

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court held that an employer owes a duty of care to an employee’s family member who alleges exposure to asbestos from the work clothes of an employee where the family member alleges the employer’s negligence a...

Meuse v. Henry  
Date: October 4, 2018
Docket Number: 170604

Justia Opinion Summary: In this appeal of a judgment confirming an arbitration award, the Supreme Court held that the circuit court did not err in refusing to vacate the arbitration award under Va. Code 8.01-581.010. Plaintiff filed a fourteen...

Haynes-Garrett v. Dunn  
Date: October 4, 2018
Docket Number: 171055

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court striking Plaintiff’s evidence at the trial of her personal injury action against Defendants, holding that the circuit court did not err in ruling that Defendan...

Terry v. Irish Fleet, Inc.  
Date: September 27, 2018
Docket Number: 170288

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court ruling that Plaintiff’s amended complaint alleging a wrongful death action failed to state a claim for which relief could be granted against Irish Fleet, Inc....

Kerns v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.  
Date: September 27, 2018
Docket Number: 171068

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the circuit court dismissing Plaintiff’s suit alleging breach of contract claims against Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. pursuant to the applicable statute of limitations, holding that b...

Roberts v. Virginia State Bar
Date: September 6, 2018
Docket Number: 180122
City of Alexandria v. State Corporation Commission  
Date: August 30, 2018
Docket Number: 171428

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the State Corporation Commission (SCC) that approved a new surcharge for Virginia-American Water Company (VAWC), holding that the SCC had statutory authority to approve the new sur...

Madison v. Board of Supervisors of Loudoun County  
Date: August 29, 2018
Docket Number: 170934

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court held that Petitioner filed her petition for writs of mandamus and prohibition against the Board of Supervisors of Loudoun County in violation of Va. Code 8.01-271.1 and that an appropriate sanction agai...

Primov v. Serco, Inc.  
Date: August 23, 2018
Docket Number: 171381

Justia Opinion Summary: At issue was whether the circuit court abused its discretion when it dismissed a complaint with prejudice upon sustaining a plea in bar for failure to comply with a contractual condition precedent before filing suit. Pl...

Pure Presbyterian Church v. Grace of God Presbyterian Church  
Date: August 16, 2018
Docket Number: 171098

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court entering an order enforcing a merger agreement between two churches, holding that the trial court had subject matter jurisdiction to adjudicate this dispute. Th...

Tirado v. Commonwealth  
Date: August 9, 2018
Docket Number: 170458

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals upholding Defendant’s conviction for rape, holding that the circuit court’s finding that Defendant’s waiver of his rights under Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S....

Commonwealth v. Hunter Laboratories, LLC  
Date: August 9, 2018
Docket Number: 170995

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court in this qui tam case filed by Relators alleging that several laboratories illegally inflated the bills they submitted to Virginia’s Medicaid program, holding tha...

Prince William Board of County Supervisors v. Archie  
Date: August 9, 2018
Docket Number: 171030

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court held that the circuit court did not err when it found that an automobile graveyard was a lawful nonconforming use because the use began prior to the enactment of the county’s zoning ordinances and had n...

Curley v. Commonwealth  
Date: July 26, 2018
Docket Number: 170732

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the trial court’s denial of Defendant’s motion to suppress and upholding his convictions for several drug and firearm-related offenses, holding th...

Catjen, LLC v. Hunter Mill West, L.C.  
Date: July 26, 2018
Docket Number: 171067

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court vacated in part and reversed in part the decision of the circuit court reducing the amount due on a deed of trust note (note) and entering a confessed judgment for the reduced amount without the agreeme...

Canody v. Hamblin  
Date: July 19, 2018
Docket Number: 170747

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court admitting a will to probate, holding that the trial court properly admitted testimony to refute the claim that the will was fraudulent and did not err in declini...

Severance v. Commonwealth  
Date: July 19, 2018
Docket Number: 170829

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s convictions and sentences for the capital murder of two individuals within a three-year period in violation of Va. Code 18.2-31(8), holding that the punishments did not violate the...

McCulley v. Brooks & Co.  
Date: July 19, 2018
Docket Number: 171117

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court held that a general appearance after the entry of a final judgment that is void ab initio because of the absence of personal jurisdiction does not, by itself, convert the prior void judgment into a vali...

Commonwealth v. Giddens  
Date: July 19, 2018
Docket Number: 171224

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court held that, in dismissing the Commonwealth’s petition to have Troy Lamar Giddens, Sr. civilly committed as a sexually violent predator, the trial court misapplied the relevant statute, Va. Code 37.2-905....

Barr v. Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC  
Date: July 5, 2018
Docket Number: 170620

Justia Opinion Summary: A majority of the Supreme Court held (1) Va. Code 56-49.01(A) allows a natural gas company to gain access to private property for the purpose of conducting surveys and other activities that are only necessary for the sel...

CGI Federal Inc. v. FCi Federal, Inc.  
Date: June 7, 2018
Docket Number: 170617

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the the judgment of the circuit court setting aside the jury’s verdict awarding CGI Federal Inc. $12 million in damages for its fraudulent inducement and breach of contract claims against FCi F...

Jones v. Von Moll  
Date: June 7, 2018
Docket Number: 170639

Justia Opinion Summary: The circuit court did not err when it ruled that Plaintiff, a retired firefighter, was not a disabled person entitled to receive health insurance benefits under the Virginia Line of Duty Death and Disability Act, Va. Cod...

Gerald v. Commonwealth  
Date: May 31, 2018
Docket Number: 161844

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the convictions of Patricia Gerald and her daughter, Tarsha Gerald, with driving while on a suspended license, third or subsequent offense, and perjury arising from testimony they gave in the A...

Lewis v. Commonwealth  
Date: May 31, 2018
Docket Number: 170518

Justia Opinion Summary: At issue was what the phrase “has been previously convicted” means in Va. Code 18.2-57.2(B), which makes assault and battery of a family or household member a felony under certain circumstances. Defendant was convicted...

Vesilind v. Board of Elections  
Date: May 31, 2018
Docket Number: 170697

Justia Opinion Summary: The circuit court did not err in declaring the constitutional validity of Virginia General Assembly legislative districts that were allegedly drawn in violation of the compartment requirement expressed in Va. Const. art....

Davis v. MKR Development, LLC  
Date: May 31, 2018
Docket Number: 171020

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the order of the circuit court dismissing, without prejudice, this derivative action on the ground that Plaintiff failed to first make a demand for the limited liability company (LLC) to take a...

Bragg v. Board of Supervisors of Rappahannock County  
Date: May 17, 2018
Docket Number: 171022

Justia Opinion Summary: The circuit court erred by dismissing a petition to enforce the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), Va. Code 2.2-3700, et seq., on the basis that the petition failed to comply with Va. Code 2.2-3713(A) because it...

Commissioner of Highways v. Karverly, Inc.  
Date: May 10, 2018
Docket Number: 170282

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the final judgment of the trial court in this eminent domain case granting $167,866 in damages to the landowner, holding that the trial court erred in disallowing the expert witness for the Com...

The Game Place, LLC v. Fredericksburg 35, LLC  
Date: May 10, 2018
Docket Number: 170631

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the trial court’s final judgment against a Lessee and its guarantor in this action brought by the Lessor seeking unpaid rent under a fifteen-year lease after the Lessee vacated the leasehold pr...

Coward v. Wellmont Health System  
Date: May 3, 2018
Docket Number: 170491

Justia Opinion Summary: This Court’s holding in Wyatt v. McDermott, 725 S.E.2d 555 (Va. 2012), which recognized the tort of intentional interference with parental rights, did not extend to the factual allegations against Defendants in this case...

Cherry v. Lawson Realty Corp.  
Date: May 3, 2018
Docket Number: 170718

Justia Opinion Summary: The General Assembly did not intent to abrogate existing common law causes of action when it enacted Va. Code 8.01-226.12, which sets forth some obligations and immunities for landlords and managing agents when visible m...

Neal v. Fairfax County Police Department  
Date: April 26, 2018
Docket Number: 170247

Justia Opinion Summary: Neal submitted a FOIA request to the Fairfax County Police Department seeking its automated license plate readers (ALPR) records regarding his vehicle. The Department responded that Neal’s tag had been read twice and enc...

Commonwealth v. Perkins  
Date: April 19, 2018
Docket Number: 170437

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed and vacated in part the judgment of the court of appeals with respect to Defendant’s convictions for malicious wounding and use of a firearm during the commission of a malicious wounding and en...

Feeney v. Feeney  
Date: April 12, 2018
Docket Number: 170031

Justia Opinion Summary: At issue was how to construe a will’s residuary clause to determine what estate it granted to the testator’s wife (Wife) and whether Appellants were entitled to their attorneys’ fees under the doctrine of judicial instru...

RECP IV WG Land Investors LLC v. Capital One Bank  
Date: April 5, 2018
Docket Number: 161506

Justia Opinion Summary: In this dispute over contractual provision in a real estate purchase agreement (agreement) allocating future development rights for properties located near a new Metro rail station, the circuit court did not err in dismi...

Commonwealth v. Gregg  
Date: April 5, 2018
Docket Number: 170586

Justia Opinion Summary: Involuntary manslaughter under Va. Code 18.2-154 is the “same offense” as common law involuntary manslaughter. Defendant was convicted of both common law involuntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter under Va. C...

Bryant v. Commonwealth  
Date: April 5, 2018
Docket Number: 170712

Justia Opinion Summary: Va. Code 18.2-279 does not require, as an element of the crime of unlawful discharge of a firearm within an occupied building, proof that the firearm was not discharged accidentally or inadvertently. Defendant was indic...

Virginia Electric & Power Co. v. State Corp. Commission  
Date: March 29, 2018
Docket Number: 171151

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the State Corporation Commission concluding that certain large customers may purchase electricity from any licensed supplier of energy in the Commonwealth under Va. Code 56-577(A)(...

Kohl's Department Stores, Inc. v. Virginia Department of Taxation  
Date: March 22, 2018
Docket Number: 160681

Justia Opinion Summary: At issue in this case was the extent to which a corporate taxpayer must include in its Virginia taxable income royalties paid to an intangible holding company. The Virginia Supreme Court held that the circuit court corre...

In re Brown  
Date: March 22, 2018
Docket Number: 161422

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court dismissed Sherman Brown’s petition seeking a writ of actual innocence pursuant to Va. Code 19.2-327.1 to -327.6, which govern writs of actual innocence based on biological evidence, for two independent...

Evans v. NACCO Materials Handling Group  
Date: March 22, 2018
Docket Number: 161788

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court dismissing Plaintiff’s wrongful death action against the manufacturer of a lift truck, holding that Plaintiff’s evidence failed, as a matter of law, to establish...

In re Watford  
Date: March 1, 2018
Docket Number: 161187

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court granted Roy L. Watford’s petition for a writ of actual innocence based on biological evidence and vacated his conviction, holding that Watford proved, by clear and convincing evidence, all of the allega...

Robert & Bertha Robinson Family, LLC v. Allen  
Date: March 1, 2018
Docket Number: 161640

Justia Opinion Summary: This case provided the Supreme Court an opportunity to provide guidance on what happens if one of multiple losing parties wishes to appeal from a general district court (GDC) judgment involving consolidated claims by sev...

Turner v. Commonwealth  
Date: March 1, 2018
Docket Number: 161804

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s conviction for displaying a noose on a public place with the intent to intimidate and placing others in reasonable fear of death or personal injury, in violation of Va. Code 18.2-42...

Commonwealth v. Williams  
Date: March 1, 2018
Docket Number: 170122

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court dismissing a petition to remove an elected officer, holding that the petition failed to comply with the requirement set forth in Va. Code 24.2-233 and -235 tha...

A.R.A. v. Commonwealth  
Date: March 1, 2018
Docket Number: 170199

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the trial court denying Appellant’s petition to expunge a felony arrest record, holding that the trial court abused its discretion in denying the petition. The trial court decl...

Holt v. Chalmeta  
Date: February 22, 2018
Docket Number: 161230

Justia Opinion Summary: The circuit court abused its discretion in this medical malpractice action when it refused to qualify Plaintiff’s only proposed expert witness (Dr. Aboderin) and granted summary judgment for Defendant. After voir dire,...

Jordan v. Commonwealth  
Date: February 22, 2018
Docket Number: 161527

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the trial court denying Appellant’s petition to change his name. Appellant, Brian Wendall Jordan, was serving a term of incarceration when he underwent a religious conversion....

Osburn v. Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control  
Date: February 22, 2018
Docket Number: 161777

Justia Opinion Summary: In this appeal from a state employee grievance proceeding, a hearing officer’s decision upholding the termination of Nathan Osborn, a special agent with the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC), was no...

Dixon v. Sublett  
Date: February 22, 2018
Docket Number: 170350

Justia Opinion Summary: In this medical malpractice action in which a jury rendered a verdict in favor of Plaintiff, the circuit court erred in denying Defendant’s motion to strike Plaintiff’s evidence on the ground that Plaintiff failed to pro...

D'Ambrosio v. Wolf  
Date: February 22, 2018
Docket Number: 170521

Justia Opinion Summary: In this complaint seeking to impeach a will on the grounds of undue influence and lack of testamentary capacity, the Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the circuit court sustaining Defendants’ plea in bar on the grou...

Martin v. Lahti  
Date: February 22, 2018
Docket Number: 170524

Justia Opinion Summary: In this medical malpractice action, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in excluding certain statements proffered by Plaintiff. On appeal, Plaintiff argued that the trial court erred in excluding statements th...

Kellogg v. Green  
Date: February 22, 2018
Docket Number: 170643

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the ruling of the circuit court sustaining the a plea of res judicata and dismissing this breach of contract action. In his plea of res judicata, Defendant argued that Plaintiff was barred fro...

Commonwealth v. Duse  
Date: February 12, 2018
Docket Number: 180173

Justia Opinion Summary: The circuit court erred in granting Defendant, who was charged with first-degree murder, pre-trial bail. Because Defendant was charged with first-degree murder, for which the maximum sentence was life imprisonment, the...

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