Docket – October 1, 2018

U.S. District Court – Eastern District

United States v. Ritchie, EDVA at Newport News (Jackson).

Expert testimony from a former Drug Enforcement Agency chemist regarding the synthetic drug “spice” would have been cumulative and, thus, not material to the defendants’ convictions for drug crimes.

At trial, the defendants had been allowed to produce two other experts who offered the same substantive testimony, which failed to convince the jury. Still, the 4th Circuit vacated the convictions and remanded to determine whether the excluded third expert’s testimony was material so as to violate the defendants’ Sixth Amendment rights. The district court concluded that testimony from a third expert wouldn’t have changed the jury’s rejection of their opinions.

U.S. District Court – Western District

Richardson v. Welch, WDVA at Roanoke (Jones).

The Virginia Department of Corrections is entitled to summary judgment as to a plaintiff’s claim that, while incarcerated, he has been wrongfully denied proper observance of the Nation of Islam Month of Fasting in December, according to his beliefs. When he is served food during Ramadan that does not comply with his personal fasting practice, he can simply discard those items and eat the remainder of his meals. He has not presented evidence showing that doing so would deprive him of a significant portion of his nutritional intake.

Motion for summary judgment granted.

Atchariyakornchai v. Frederick Cty. Sanitation Auth., WDVA at Harrisonburg (Dillon).

A plaintiff alleging race discrimination against his employer failed to state a claim for discrimination under the Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act. His alleged report to his supervisor of the agency’s failure to test water was not a request or demand for money or property from the Commonwealth, and there was no “claim” that was false or fraudulent. Thus, he didn’t sufficiently allege that he engaged in activity protected under the Act.

Partial motion to dismiss granted.

Volvo Grp. N. Am. LLC v. Truck Enters. Inc., WDVA at Roanoke (Dillon).

A group of mid-Atlantic commercial-truck dealerships is preliminarily enjoined from selling or transferring any stocks, assets, or other interests until the court determines Volvo’s rights. Allowing an existing sales deal to go forward, when it likely is not a bona fide offer, would force Volvo to exercise undetermined rights or lose its rights of first refusal. It would be difficult or impossible to calculate a precise monetary harm as a result. While the defendant businesses may be harmed in being managed by a reluctant owner, such harm is likely due to the defendants’ failure to structure the sales in a way that does not breach the agreement.


Virginia Circuit Courts

Va. Div. of Child Support Enforcement v. Curran, Fairfax Cir. (Oblon).

A party can’t appeal the amount of a civil appeal bond set by a JD&R district court to a circuit court without also appealing the JD&R court’s underlying substantive ruling. Here, the JD&R court set the appeal bond amount as equal to the amount it found the defendant owed in child support: over $27,000. He challenges this amount as bond (not as arrears), but there’s no mechanism for appealing a civil appeal bond separately from substantive legal issues.

The defendant’s appeal must be dismissed for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction.

Categories: Daily Dockets

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