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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 Defendants were liable for tortiously interfering with their own contract and in therefore finding that their tortious interference could serve as the predicate unlawful act for statutory business conspiracy. Plaintiff, Read Properties, LLC, filed a complaint against Defendants, Francis Hospitality, Inc. and Delta Educational Systems, Inc., alleging breach of contract, intentional interference with contract, and statutory business conspiracy. The circuit court found in favor of Plaintiff on all claims. The Supreme Court affirmed as to the breach of contract claim and otherwise reversed, holding (1) Defendants could not tortiously interfere with their own contract; and (2) because Plaintiff’s underlying claims of tortious interference with a contract against Defendants failed, its claims of statutory business conspiracy must also fail. View "Francis Hospitality, Inc. v. Read Properties, LLC" on Justia Law

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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 that an agreement between the parties defeated Sweely’s breach of contract claim and that Sweely failed to state a claim for fraud. SunTrust loaned Sweely $18.3 million and later sought to recover collateral when Sweely defaulted and threatened bankruptcy. SunTrust and Sweely negotiated an agreement that provided Sweely with another opportunity to pay its debt, but when Sweely failed to do so, SunTrust took action against the collateral. Thereafter, Sweely filed this lawsuit. The circuit court sustained SunTrust’s demurrer to the complaint and dismissed all counts with prejudice. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the circuit court did not err in (1) interpreting the agreement to preclude Sweely’s breach of contract claim, and (2) ruling that the fraud claims failed because Sweely had not alleged any justifiable reliance on SunTrust’s alleged misrepresentation. View "Sweely Holdings, LLC v. SunTrust Bank" on Justia Law

Posted in: Contracts

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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 consecutively and vacated Defendant’s sentences because they were run concurrently. The circuit court sentenced Defendant to five years for two violations of section 18.2-308.2(A) and ordered that the sentences run concurrently. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that the trial court erred in ordering that the sentences for Defendant’s two convictions run concurrently. The Supreme Court affirmed and remanded this case for resentencing, holding (1) the court of appeals properly interpreted section 18.2-308.2(A); and (2) mandatory minimum terms of confinement ordered pursuant to 18.2-308.2(A) must run consecutively with any other sentence, including other mandatory minimum terms ordered pursuant to the statute. View "Botkin v. Commonwealth" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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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 dismissing all of Lindsey Parker’s claims against it, including both vicarious and direct liability claims, holding that the circuit court correctly dismissed the direct liability claims but erred in dismissing the vicarious liability claim on demurrer. Parker sued Carilion and two Carilion employees, alleging that they had disclosed her confidential medical information to others. Parker served process on Carilion but did not serve either employee. The circuit court sustained Carilion’s demurrers. The Supreme Court held (1) Parker’s notice of appeal was timely; (2) the circuit court erred in granting the demurrer to the extent that it dismissed Parker’s respondent superior claim against Carilion; and (3) the circuit court properly found that Carilion was not directly liable under Fairfax Hospital v. Curtis, 254 Va. 437, 442 (1997) or under the doctrine of negligence per se. View "Parker v. Carilion Clinic" on Justia Law

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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 reference to the subdivision plat. Landowner owned Parcel E, which was located in a property owners’ association (Association). The dispute concerned whether Landowner owned the portion of Hibiscus Drive, a road forming the northeast boundary of Parcel E, between the road’s edge and its center. The circuit court that Parcel E extended only to the edge of Hibiscus Drive and entered judgment for the Association. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that because nothing in the deed expressed a contrary intent, Parcel E ran to the center of Hibiscus Drive by operation of the rule of construction. View "Ettinger v. Oyster Bay II Community Property Owners’ Ass’n" on Justia Law

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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 that there was no support for Malik’s assertion that GMU’s decision to classify her as an out-of-state student was arbitrary, capricious, or otherwise contrary to law. Malik filed a petition in the circuit court for review of GMU’s final administrative decision to deny her in-state tuition. After two hearings, the circuit court found GMU’s decision to be contrary to Virginia law and arbitrary and capricious. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the circuit court exceeded the scope of its review by reweighing the evidence and substituting its judgment for that of GMU; and (2) ample evidence supported GMU’s conclusion that Malik failed to carry her burden of proving that she was an in-state student for purposes of tuition. View "George Mason University v. Malik" on Justia Law

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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 the trial court’s sentencing order, as drafted, did not comply with Virginia law. On appeal, Defendant argued that the sentence imposed by the trial court did not conform to Va. Code 19.2-295 and 19.2-295.2 and improperly extended the maximum sentence fixed by the jury of seven years in prison. In reversing, the Supreme Court held that the court impermissibly lengthened the sentence fixed by the jury from seven years to ten years, which the Virginia Code does not authorize. View "Thomas v. Commonwealth" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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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 finding that Defendant was in violation of the conditions of his probation, holding that the admission of hearsay evidence in the probation revocation proceeding did not violate Defendant’s right to confront witnesses against him under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Defendant was convicted of rape. After he was released on probation, the circuit court issued a capias for Defendant’s arrest on the ground that he had violated the conditions of his probation. At a probation revocation hearing, the circuit court ruled that certain hearsay evidence was admissible. The circuit court ultimately determined Defendant to be in violation of the conditions of his probation. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the circuit court did not violate Defendant’s right to confront witnesses against him. View "Johnson v. Commonwealth" on Justia Law

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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 confession and did not err in denying Defendant’s motions challenging the sufficiency of the evidence of his specific intent to commit murder. On appeal, Defendant argued that his confession, given after he was informed of his Miranda rights, was the product of an intentional and coercive interrogation technique proscribed in Missouri v. Seibert, 542 U.S. 600 (2004) or was otherwise involuntary. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding (1) Defendant’s post-Miranda warning inculpatory statements were voluntary, and thus admissible; and (2) the evidence was sufficient to establish Defendant’s specific intent to commit attempted first-degree murder. View "Secret v. Commonwealth" on Justia Law

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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 allowed asbestos fibers to be regularly transported away from the place of employment to the employee’s home. Three years after Wanda Quisenberry was diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma caused by exposure to asbestos dust and fibers, Wanda died. Plaintiff alleged that Wanda was exposed to asbestos when her father brought home on his clothes asbestos fibers from his place of work, that Employer had reason to know of the dangers that asbestos posed to workers’ family members, and that Employer was negligent in failing to exercise reasonable care to sufficiently warn workers not to wear work clothes home. Employer sought to dismiss the action on the basis that Virginia precedent did not support imposing a legal duty on an employer for injury to an employee’s family member that occurred outside the premises. The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia then issued a certification order requesting that the Supreme Court consider this dispositive question of law. The Supreme Court answered as set forth above, holding that the take-home duty is recognized by Virginia law. View "Quisenberry v. Huntington Ingalls Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury