Articles Posted in Personal Injury

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For nearly a decade, Petitioner, as a pro se litigant, has filed numerous pleadings in the Supreme Court, all of which have been meritless. In 2017, the Supreme Court issued a rule to show cause against Petitioner, directing her to show cause why she should not be prohibited from filing any future pro se petition for appeal, or other pleading in the court, without first obtaining leave of court. In the underlying case, Petitioner field a complaint against Defendant alleging breach of contract and gross negligence. The trial court dismissed the case with prejudice. Petitioner unsuccessfully petitioned the Supreme Court for an appeal. The Supreme Court denied Adkins’ petition for rehearing and instructed the clerk to comply with this order as it pertains to future filings, finding it necessary to impose a pre-filing injunction against Petitioner in this court. View "Adkins v. CP/IPERS Arlington Hotel LLC" on Justia Law

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Gina Coutlakis filed a third amended complaint against CSX Transportation, Inc., the train’s conductor, and the train’s engineer (collectively, Appellees) alleging that Appellees’ negligence resulted in the death of her husband, James Coutlakis, after he was struck by a part of the train. Appellees demurred, arguing that James’s contributory negligence was evident on the face of the complaint, and therefore, Gina’s claim was barred. Further, Appellees asserted that Gina’s reliance on the last clear chance doctrine was misplaced. The trial court sustained the demurrer. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Gina’s third amended complaint contained sufficient allegations to survive the demurrer and that a rational jury could conclude the last clear chance doctrine applies based upon the facts pled and any reasonable inferences therefrom. Remanded. View "Coutlakis v. CSX Transportation, Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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In February 2012, Sheryl Ricketts was involved in a motor vehicle accident. Ricketts underwent surgery for her injuries. In January 2014, Ricketts filed a complaint alleging that Charlie Strange’s negligence was the direct and proximate cause of the accident. Strange moved to summary judgment, alleging that Ricketts lacked standing to pursue her claim because, in September 2012, she had filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition in the bankruptcy court. Strange argued that because Ricketts failed to properly exempt her negligence claim from the bankruptcy estate, the claim was assertable only by the trustee in bankruptcy. The circuit court agreed and granted summary judgment in favor of Strange. The circuit court subsequently denied Ricketts’s motions to correct a misnomer in her complaint or substitute the bankruptcy trustee as the proper plaintiff. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the circuit court (1) properly granted Strange’s motion for summary judgment because Ricketts did not properly exempt her negligence claim from the bankruptcy estate, and therefore, Ricketts lacked standing to pursue it; and (2) did not err by denying Ricketts’s motions for leave to amend her complaint. View "Ricketts v. Strange" on Justia Law

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Two property owners’ associations (POAs) sued various owners and developers of parcels in a shopping center, claiming that the shopping center’s sediment basins discharged sediment into a creek that flowed into a lake owned by the POAs. The POAs asserted two common-law rights of action, trespass and nuisance, and sought an award of compensatory and punitive damages along with an injunction abating the ongoing sediment incursion. The circuit court sustained pleas in bar brought by Defendants asserting the five-year statute of limitations, concluding that the incursion of sediment had been occurring for more than five years before the suit was filed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the circuit court did not err in applying the statute of limitations to the POAs’ claim of trespass damages and in denying the POAs’ motion for summary judgment. View "Forest Lakes Community Ass’n, Inc. v. United Land Corp. of America" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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Dr. Matthew Mayr, a surgeon, mistakenly fused the wrong level on Michael Osborne’s spine. Catherine Osborne, Michael’s wife and the administrator of his estate, filed suit, alleging that Dr. Mayr was negligent and that he committed a battery. Thereafter, Plaintiff nonsuited her negligence claim and proceeded to trial exclusively on her battery claim. The trial court entered judgment for Plaintiff. At issue on appeal was whether Plaintiff could proceed on a theory of battery or whether the law confined Plaintiff to recovery under a negligence theory. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) battery and negligence constitute distinct theories of recovery, with distinct elements of proof; and (2) the undisputed facts of this case did not support a claim for battery. View "Mayr v. Osborne" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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Plaintiff filed suit against Defendant seeking damages arising from personal injuries she claimed to have sustained when a vehicle being operated by Defendant struck the rear bumper of the vehicle Plaintiff was operating. Defendant admitted liability, and the trial was limited to the issue of damages. The jury awarded a verdict in favor of Plaintiff but awarded her no damages. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the trial court did not err in denying Plaintiff’s motions to set aside the verdict and for a new trial; and (2) the trial court did not err in excluding a racially charged statement made by Defendant at the scene of the vehicle accident. View "Gilliam v. Immel" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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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 filed an action in detinue seeking the return of the ring. McGrath demurred to Dockendorf’s complaint, arguing that it was barred by Va. Code 8.01-220, the “heart balm” statute. The trial court found that the ring was a conditional gift and that section 8.01-220 did not bar the action in dentine for recovery of the ring. The court then ordered McGrath to either return the ring within thirty days or it would enter judgment in the amount of $26,000 for Dockendorf. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the heart balm statute does not bar a detinue action to recover conditional gifts, such as an engagement ring, that were given in contemplation of marriage. View "McGrath v. Dockendorf" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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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 negligence. The trial court granted summary judgment as to Carter, concluding that, as a matter of law, a jury could not find Carter’s actions constituted gross negligence. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that, although Carter’s efforts to render assistance when Caleb fell in the water may have been inadequate or ineffectual, they were not so insufficient as to constitute a complete neglect for Caleb’s safety, which is required to establish gross negligence. View "Elliott v. Carter" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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For fifteen years, litigation between Hugh Caperton and his companies and Donald Blankenship and his companies involved trips to many courts, including suits in circuit courts in Virginia and West Virginia, proceedings in the U.S. district court for the southern district of West Virginia, and appeals to the Supreme Courts of Virginia, West Virginia Supreme Court and the U.S. In this case, Caperton and his companies filed suit in Virginia in 2010, bringing many of the same tort claims as they did in 1998 in the circuit court of West Virginia. In the 1998 case, the Supreme Court of West Virginia ultimately determined that a forum selection clause in an agreement between the parties required that suit be brought in Virginia. In this case, the circuit court held that res judicata barred Plaintiffs' claims. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the circuit court erred in determining that res judicata operated to bar Plaintiffs' action. Remanded. View "Caperton v. A.T. Massey Coal Co." on Justia Law

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The Board of Supervisors of Fluvanna County filed a complaint against Davenport & Company asserting that Davenport, which served as the financial advisor to the Board, knowingly made false representations and used its fiduciary position to persuade the Board to hire Davenport as an advisor regarding the financing of the construction of a new high school. Davenport filed a demurrer to the complaint, which the circuit court granted on the basis that the separation of powers doctrine prevented the court from resolving the controversy because the court would have to inquire into the motives of the Board's legislative decision making. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the Board effectively waived its common law legislative immunity from civil liability and the burden of litigation, and therefore the circuit court erred in sustaining Davenport's demurrer on these grounds.View "Bd. of Supervisors of Fluvanna County v. Davenport & Co. LLC" on Justia Law