Docket – September 27, 2018

Supreme Court of Virginia

Kerns v. Wells Fargo Bank N.A. (P), SCV (Kelsey) from Marchant.

The circuit court did not err in dismissing the plaintiff’s breach-of-contract claim against his mortgage lender. The contract claim accrued when the lender accelerated the balance due on the plaintiff’s loan — ultimately leading to foreclosure. The fact that no damage occurred until after after acceleration didn’t delay the limitations period. Because acceleration occurred more than five years before the plaintiff sued, the circuit court correctly concluded that his contract claims were time-barred.

Terry v. Irish Fleet Inc., SCV (McClanahan) from Petersburg (Baskervill).

A widow failed to state a claim against her late husband’s employer for his wrongful death (he was a taxi driver murdered by his passenger). The high court held that a voluntarily assumed duty to warn or protect against the danger of criminal assault by a third person should be confined to express undertakings. Because the plaintiff’s claim that the employer voluntarily assumed a duty to warn or protect her husband against the danger of criminal assault was based on an implied undertaking, her allegations are insufficient to state a claim. Three justices dissented.

U.S. District Court – Western District

Doe v. Alger, WDVA at Harrisonburg (Dillon).

Following a successful due process claim against James Madison University related to accusations of sexual misconduct, the court awarded the plaintiff $519,271 in fees, $41,408 in litigation expenses, and $13,500 in costs. The court imposed a modest reduction based on the plaintiff’s measure of success and based on certain block-billing entries.

Techint Solutions Grp. LLC v. Sasnett, WDVA at Harrisonburg (Dillon).

In an action to enforce an employee agreement, a government contractor obtained a preliminary injunction preventing its former employee from providing competing services to the plaintiff’s clients and from soliciting the plaintiff’s employees to leave their positions with the plaintiff. However, the evidence didn’t indicate the defendant’s failure to return the plaintiff’s property.

Virginia Circuit Courts

Commonwealth v. Rhodes, Fairfax (Bellows).

In a probation revocation proceeding, the defendant was not placed in an “unreasonable” position of lying or being punished for his silence. To rely on the Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination, he had to invoke it, which he never did. The terms of probation were not unreasonable, and a defendant may not use the Fifth Amendment as a shield against allegations of dishonesty.

Categories: Daily Dockets

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