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Kohl’s Department Stores, Inc. entered into a license agreement with Kohl’s Illinois, Inc., an affiliate of Kohl’s that operates retail stores in select states, but not Virginia, for the use of intellectual property managed and licensed by Kohl’s Illinois. Kohl’s paid royalties to Kohl’s Illinois, and when calculating its federal taxable income, Kohl’s deducted these royalty payments from its income as an ordinary and necessary business expense. Kohl’s Illinois, however, did not pay state income taxes on a substantial portion of the royalties. Kohl’s claimed that the royalty payments fell within the “subject-to-tax” exception to the add back statute. The Virginia Department of Taxation auditor required that the untaxed portion be added back to Kohl’s taxable income and issued a notices of assessment to Kohl’s for certain taxable years. The circuit court affirmed, concluding that only the portion of the royalties that was actually taxed by another state fell within the subject-to-tax exception. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the circuit court erred by failing to hold that Kohl’s Illinois need not be the entity that pays the tax for the subject-to-tax exception to apply. Remanded for a determination of what portion of the royalty payments was actually taxed by another state and therefore excepted from the add back statute. View "Kohl's Department Stores, Inc. v. Virginia Department of Taxation" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgments of the circuit court sentencing Defendant to serve a prison term before beginning his involuntary civil commitment. Defendant pleaded guilty to an offense committed in July and not guilty by reason of insanity to offenses committed in August. The circuit court accepted Defendant’s pleas. The court sentenced Defendant to five years’ incarceration for the July offense and ordered that he be involuntary committed on the August offenses. The court sent Defendant to serve his prison term for the July offense before Defendant’s involuntary civil commitment for the August offenses. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the circuit court did not abuse its discretion by sequencing Defendant’s prison term and involuntary civil commitment as it did. View "Williams v. Commonwealth" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the circuit court ruling favor of Loudoun County on Dulles Duty Free, LLC’s challenge to the County’s imposition of a business, professional, and occupational license (BPOL) tax on a substantial potion of Duty Free’s sales. Specifically, the circuit court concluded that the Import-Export Clause of the United States Constitution did not bar the County from imposing the BPOL tax. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that the BPOL tax as applied to Duty Free’s export goods in transit constitutes an impermissible impost upon an export in violation of the Import-Export Clause of the United States Constitution. View "Dulles Duty Free, LLC v. County of Loudoun" on Justia Law

Posted in: Constitutional Law

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James Gardner Dennis, an inmate in the Greenville Correctional Center, petitioned the circuit court to change his name to James Gardner Wright pursuant to Va. Code 8.01-217. The circuit court dismissed the application for lack of “good cause.” Dennis appealed, arguing that the circuit court erred in dismissing his application for lack of good cause because he asserted a religious purpose as the reason for his change of name. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the circuit court clearly failed to consider Dennis’s alleged reason for the application, as required by statute. The court remanded the case to the circuit court with direction to accept Dennis’s application and to proceed with a hearing before exercising its discretion in determining whether Dennis’s request for a name change should be granted. View "In re Dennis" on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Rights

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In this medical malpractice action, the Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the trial court denying Defendant’s motion to set aside the jury verdict in favor of Plaintiff. On appeal, Defendant argued that Plaintiff did not plead a claim for battery in her complaint and that the trial court erred in instructing the jury on battery and informed consent and in denying his motion to strike that claim. The Supreme Court agreed with Defendant, holding (1) the initial complaint did not allege a claim for battery, and the trial court erred in instructing the jury on battery; (2) Plaintiff failed to establish proximate causation in connection with a theory of informed consent; and (3) the appropriate remedy for the errors was a remand for a new trial on Plaintiff’s original theory of negligence. View "Allison v. Brown" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court dismissed the case filed by the Judicial Inquiry and Review Commission against Rudolph Bumgardner, III, Senior Judge of the Court of Appeals and Humes J. Franklin, Jr., Retired Judge of the Twenty-Fifth Judicial Circuit. The Commission asserted the Judge Bumgardner and Judge Franklin violated the Canons of Judicial Conduct as set out in Part 6, Section III of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia and that the violations were “of sufficient gravity to constitute the basis for censure or removal” by the Supreme Court. Upon consideration of the entire record, the Supreme Court held that there was not clear and convincing evidence showing that the judges violated the specified Canons as charged. View "Judicial Inquiry & Review Commission v. Bumgardner" on Justia Law

Posted in: Legal Ethics

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court dismissing Plaintiff’s medical malpractice action against Dr. J. Michael Syptak and Harrisonburg Family Practice. Plaintiff pleaded theories of intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligence, alleging that Dr. Syptak’s unsolicited and offensive sexual jokes and sexual innuendo caused her preexisting conditions to worsen. The trial court granted summary judgment to Dr. Syptak on the basis that Plaintiff was required to designate a qualifying expert to testify on the standard of care and causation. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Plaintiff’s failure to designate an expert to testify concerning proximate causation of her injuries was fatal to her case. View "Summers v. Syptak" on Justia Law

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The Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC (ACP) sought permission to enter Hazel Palmer’s property to conduct preliminary surveys in order to build a natural gas transmission line. When Palmer withheld her consent, ACP provided a notice of intent to enter her property pursuant to Va. Code 56-49.01. Palmer continued to deny permission, and ACP filed a petition for a declaratory judgment requesting a declaration of its rights under section 56-49.01. Palmer filed a plea in bar and a demurrer, arguing that section 56-49.01 applies only to domestic public service companies and is unconstitutional under Va. Const. art. I, 11 because it impermissibly burdens a fundamental right. The circuit court overruled Palmer’s plea in bar and demurrer. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) section 56-49.01 establishes the General Assembly’s intent that the entry-for-survey privilege be available to foreign natural gas companies that do business within the Commonwealth; and (2) Palmer’s fundamental property rights do not include the right to exclude ACP in this case. View "Palmer v. Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC (ACP) sent Landowners letters seeking permission to enter their properties to conduct preliminary surveys and studies in order to build a natural gas transmission line. When Landowners withheld their permission, ACP provided notices of intent to enter their properties pursuant to Va. Code 56-49.01. ACP then filed petitions for declaratory judgment against Landowners seeking an order declaring that the notices of intent to enter provided ACP with a right to enter Landowners’ properties. The circuit court issued a final order concluding that ACP was entitled to enter landowners’ properties pursuant to section 56-49.01. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded, holding that ACP’s notices were deficient because they did not “set forth the date of the intended entry” as required by section 56-49.01(C). View "Chaffins v. Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC" on Justia Law

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Clerks of court are statutorily designated custodians of court records, and therefore, The Daily Press must make its request to each jurisdiction’s clerk of court for certain court records rather than to the Office of the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court of Virginia (Executive Secretary). The Daily Press made a request to the Executive Secretary under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act asking for a searchable version of a database hosted on servers operated and housed at the Executive Secretary’s offices. The Executive Secretary reached out to the individual clerks whose information it hosted to request permission to provide this information to The Daily Press. More than half of the clerks objected. The Daily Press then filed a petition for a writ of mandamus to compel the Executive Secretary to honor the request. The trial court denied the petition for mandamus. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that court clerks were the expressly designated custodians of the public records sought by The Daily Press. View "Daily Press, LLC v. Office of Executive Secretary of Supreme Court of Virginia" on Justia Law

Posted in: Constitutional Law