Articles Posted in Virginia Supreme Court

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Michael Paugh was involuntarily committed after a hearing by a special justice. Paugh appealed. After another hearing, the circuit court found that the involuntary commitment order was valid and denied Paugh's appeal. Paugh again appealed, arguing primarily that the circuit court erred in using the date that the special justice entered the order committing him as the date upon which to evaluate the evidence on his appeal rather than the date of the circuit court hearing. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the circuit court used the incorrect date in this case because the court was statutorily required to determine whether Paugh met the requirements for involuntary commitment on the date of the circuit court hearing; and (2) the evidence was insufficient to commit Paugh as of the date of the circuit court hearing. View "Paugh v. Henrico Area Mental Health & Developmental Servs." on Justia Law

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The Doctors Company (TDC), a professional liability insurance company, sought a determination that its coverage of policyholder Women's Healthcare Associates (WHA) did not apply to a pending breach of contract action relating to WHA's participation in the Virginia Birth-Related Neurological Injury Compensation Act (the Birth Injury Fund). The Davidson family filed the underlying breach of contract action against WHA, alleging that they entered into an express contract with WHA partly in reliance on WHA's participation in the Birth Injury Fund, and WHA materially breached the contract by failing to pay into the fund as represented to the Davidsons. The circuit court ruled against TDC and in favor of WHA and the Davidsons, finding that the policy covered the claim alleged by the Davidsons in their complaint against WHA. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the underlying action was covered by the insurance policy; and (2) therefore, TDC must both defend and indemnify WHA in the underling breach of contract action. View "The Doctors Co. v. Women's Healthcare Assocs." on Justia Law

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At issue in this appeal was whether the circuit court erred in allowing Plaintiff to take a nonsuit as a matter of right pursuant to Va. Code Ann. 8.01-380(B) based on its determination that Plaintiff's prior voluntary dismissal in federal court was not a nonsuit under section 8.01-380. In Virginia, a plaintiff may take only one nonsuit as a matter of right. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court did not err in finding that Plaintiff was permitted to take a nonsuit as a matter of right pursuant to section 8.01-380(B), holding (1) Va. Code Ann. 8.01-229(E)(3) does not confirm or suggest that a voluntary dismissal taken pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 41(a)(1)(A)(i) is a nonsuit for purposes of section 8.01-380; and (2) Plaintiff's prior voluntary dismissal in federal court was not substantially equivalent to Virginia's nonsuit in this regard. View "Inova Health Care Servs. v. Kebaish" on Justia Law

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Maritess Lopez died from aspiration pneumonia secondary to a surgery performed by Dr. Matthew Galumbeck. Plaintiff, Lopez's husband, brought a wrongful-death action against Galumbeck, another doctor, and Plastic Surgery of Tidewater. The trial entered judgment in favor of Plaintiff. Galumbeck appealed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in (1) denying Galumbeck's motion for a mistrial due to a juror's alleged misconduct; and (2) admitting unpaid medical bills into evidence. The Court additionally held that Galumbeck's assertions that the trial court erred in prohibiting him from introducing a surgical log into evidence or from using it to refresh a nurse's recollection and in allowing testimony and evidence on a collateral matter were not preserved for appeal. View "Galumbeck v. Lopez" on Justia Law

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Jean Moreau & Associates brought this suit against the Health Center Commission for the County of Chesterfield (HCC), a municipal corporation, seeking a declaratory judgment and alleging claims for breach of contract and quantum meruit. The circuit court dismissed Jean Moreau's claims. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) because Jean Moreau did not comply with the mandatory procedural requirements of the Virginia Public Procurement Act in bringing its breach of contract claim against HCC, the circuit court did not err in concluding that the claim was barred; and (2) the circuit court did not err in concluding that Jean Moreau's quantum meruit claim was barred by the doctrine of sovereign immunity for HCC's development and operation of Springdale, an independent living facility, because (i) municipal corporations performing governmental functions are immune from quantum meruit claims, (ii) HCC was not entitled to absolute immunity simply because it was created by a county and not a municipality, but (iii) Springdale served a governmental function.