Articles Posted in Virginia Supreme Court

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The Judicial Inquiry and Review Commission filed the present complaint against Jacqueline Waymack, judge of the sixth judicial district, pursuant to the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. The Commission asserted that its charges against Judge Waymack for allegedly violating the Canons of Judicial Conduct were well founded in fact and that the violations were of sufficient gravity to constitute the basis for censure or removal by the Court. The Supreme Court dismissed the complaint, concluding that there was not clear and convincing evidence that Judge Waymack engaged in either "misconduct" or "conduct prejudicial to the proper administration of justice" under Va. Const. art. VI, 10. View "Judicial Inquiry & Review Comm'n v. Waymack" on Justia Law

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After his employment was terminated at Horizon House, Michael Ford filed a complaint against the three corporate employers vested with the authority to fire him, including the Horizon House homeowners association. James Mansfield served as counsel to Horizon House. Ford sent a demand letter and a draft complaint marked "for settlement purposes only" to numerous individuals and entities. Ford then filed a complaint, substantially similar to the draft complaint, in the U.S. district court against several defendants, including Mansfield. Mansfield subsequently filed a complaint against Ford and others (Defendants), alleging that he was defamed by statements made about him in the draft complaint. The circuit court sustained Defendants' demurrers, ruling that the allegations made in the draft complaint, sent before the lawsuit was filed, were privileged. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the circuit court did not err in finding that absolute privilege attached to the draft complaint. View "Mansfield v. Bernabei" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs, Northern Virginia Real Estate and its principal broker, Lauren Kivlighan, filed an eight-count second amended complaint against McEnearney Associates, its real estate agent Karen Martins, and David and Donna Gavin (collectively, Defendants), alleging conspiracy to harm in business, interference with contract expectancy, and defamation. The trial court eventually entered an order granting Plaintiffs' motion to nonsuit all counts and dismissing the case as to all counts and all parties. Defendants subsequently filed motions for sanctions against Plaintiffs and Plaintiffs' counsel, Forrest Walpole, seeking attorneys' fees and costs and arguing that Plaintiffs violated Va. Code Ann. 8.01-271.1 by filing the suit without any basis in fact, without support in law, and with improper purposes. The trial court granted the motions. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the trial court did not err when it imposed sanctions jointly and severally against Plaintiffs and Walpole; and (2) the trial court applied an objective standard of reasonableness in concluding that the facts of this case could not support a reasonable belief that the Plaintiffs' claims along with the damages sought were well grounded in fact or law as required by section 8.01-271.1. View "N. Va. Real Estate v. Martin" on Justia Law