Justia Civil Procedure Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Virginia
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The Funny Guy, LLC sued Lecego, LLC, claiming that it was not paid for work it did for Lecego. Funny Guy alleged that Lecego had agreed to pay approximately ninety-seven percent of the fees claimed in an attempt to resolve the dispute but later refused to do so. The trial court sustained Lecego’s demurrer, finding that no such settlement ever existed. Thereafter, Funny Guy again sued Lecego asserting two alternative theories of recovery - breach of contract and quantum meruit. The trial court dismissed this second suit on the basis of res judicata, concluding that these two alternative theories of recovery could have been, and should have been, asserted in the first suit. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court properly applied res judicata in this case. View "The Funny Guy, LLC v. Lecego, LLC" on Justia Law

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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 to enjoin the use of the current district map in future elections. Subpoenas duces tecum were served upon several members of the General Assembly (the Virginia Senators) and the Division of Legislative Services (DLS) demanding production of certain documents and communications. Claiming legislative privilege, the Virginia Senators and DLS (collectively, Appellants) filed motions to quash. The circuit court denied the motion to quash, holding that the legislative privilege does not extend to DLS or to documents and communications between members of the General Assembly and consultants, DLS, or other third parties. When Appellants refused to comply with the production order, the court held Appellants in civil contempt. The Supreme Court vacated the portion of the order holding Appellants in contempt, holding that the circuit court abused its discretion by holding Appellants in contempt because the material sought in the subpoenas duces tecum were protected by the legislative privilege. View "Edwards v. Vesilind" on Justia Law

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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 the general district court. The Parrishes alleged that the foreclosure was invalid because their deed of trust incorporated 12 C.F.R. 1024.41(g), which, they asserted, prohibits foreclosure if a borrower submitted a completed loss mitigation application more than 37 days before the foreclosure sale. They alleged that they had submitted such an application. The court awarded Fannie Mae possession. On appeal, Fannie Mae argued that the court should exclude any defense contesting the foreclosure’s validity because the lower court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to try title in a proceeding on unlawful detainer. Fannie Mae contended that because the circuit court’s subject matter jurisdiction on appeal from the general district court was derivative of the general district court’s jurisdiction, the circuit court also lacked jurisdiction. The court awarded Fannie Mae possession. The Supreme Court of Virginia vacated, restoring the parties to their status quo before the unlawful detainer proceeding. Courts not of record lack power to try title unless expressly conferred by the General Assembly. The court cited Code sections 16.1-77(3) and 8.01-126 and acknowledged the practical implications of its holding. View "Parrish v. Fed. Nat'l Mortgage Ass'n" on Justia Law

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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 officer ordered her reinstatement snf advised that, under the terms of RRHA’s Grievance Policy, “[e]ither party may . . . appeal the decision to the Circuit Court of the City of Richmond, Virginia.” The circuit court reversed that decision as “‘contradictory to law’” under Code 2.2-3006. The Supreme Court of Virginia reinstated the hearing officer’s decision, holding that the circuit court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to hear RRHA’s appeal. Either party may appeal a hearing officer’s decision to a circuit court for review on grounds that it is “contradictory to law,” Code 2.2-3006(B), but no such right is available when the challenge to the decision presents a question whether it is“consistent with policy,” RRHA did not make a prima facie showing for invoking judicial review of the hearing officer’s decision under Code 2.2-3006(B) because the substance of RRHA’s appeal challenged only the hearing officer’s interpretation and application of RRHA’s policies. View "Andrews v. Richmond Redevelopment & Housing Auth." on Justia Law

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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 Estates subdivision. In 2005, Powell and 3 MAC prepared an addendum, stipulating that Powell would receive the lot designated as Lot 1 on the preliminary subdivision plat. Several times over the next few years, Powell allegedly asked 3 MAC to convey Lot 1, but in 2012, 3 MAC sold the lot to Ashdon for $110,000. Powell sued, alleging breach of contract and fraudulent conveyance, and sought the imposition of a constructive trust upon Lot 1. After a settlement, the trial court dismissed Powell’s claim against Ashdon with prejudice, releasing Powell’s claim to Lot 1. Powell asked the court to impose a constructive trust upon the remaining land owned by 3 MAC that had not yet been sold, “Lot A,” which was subject to the Bank’s recorded first-lien deed of trust. The court held that the Bank had constructive knowledge of Powell’s rights and imposed the constructive trust. The Supreme Court of Virginia reversed and entered judgment for Powell in the amount of $110,000. Powell failed to distinctly trace her claim to the property that was the subject of the constructive trust. View "Bank of Hampton Roads v. Powell" on Justia Law

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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, an adult, had a sexual relationship with Plaintiff from 1971 through 1975 while Plaintiff was a minor. Plaintiff reached the age of majority in 1975. Defendant filed a plea in bar asserting that the suit was barred by the pertinent statute of limitations. The circuit court sustained the plea in bar and dismissed Plaintiff’s suit with prejudice, holding that Va. Code 8.01-249(6), which revives an expired statute of limitations in certain cases of childhood sexual abuse, was inapplicable in this case. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that section 8.01-249(6) was inapplicable in this case. View "Haynes v. Haggerty" on Justia Law

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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 the authority of Va. Code 8.01-335(B), the circuit court entered a final order stating that the case was discontinued and stricken from the docket. In 2015, JSR filed a motion to reinstate the case. The circuit court denied the motion, concluding that just cause and sufficient grounds did not exist for granting Plaintiff’s motion. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that, once a plaintiff has complied with the timeliness and notice requirements of Va. Code 8.01-335(B), the circuit court does not have discretion to deny a procedural motion to reinstate a case that has been discontinued or dismissed pursuant to the statute based on lack of “good cause” or “just cause.” Remanded. View "JSR Mechanical, Inc. v. Aireco Supply, Inc." on Justia Law

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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 misnomer that misnamed Defendant. Plaintiff subsequently moved to nonsuit her claim, and the trial court granted the nonsuit. In 2012, Plaintiff refiled her complaint properly naming Defendant. Defendant filed a special plea in bar asserting that Plaintiff’s claim was barred by the statute of limitations. Specifically, Plaintiff argued that the 2011 complaint did not toll the statute of limitations where Plaintiff failed to correct the misnomer within the time period contemplated by Va. Code 8.01-6. The trial court sustained Plaintiff’s plea in bar. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that although Plaintiff was not properly named in the 2011 complaint, there was no doubt that she was the party identified, and therefore, the tolling provisions of Va. Code 8.01-229(E) applied, and Plaintiff’s 2012 complaint was timely filed. View "Richmond v. Volk" on Justia Law