Docket – October 11, 2018

Supreme Court of Virginia

Secret v. Commonwealth (P), SCV (McClanahan) from CAV.

The court upheld the defendant’s convictions for arson of an occupied dwelling and nine counts of attempted first-degree murder. The circuit court didn’t err in denying the defendant’s motion to suppress his confession, given after he waived Miranda rights properly read to him, because it was not the product of a deliberate and coercive two-step interrogation technique like the one proscribed in Missouri v. Seibert, 542 U.S. 600 (2004), and was not otherwise involuntary. Reviewing courts analyze an officer’s deliberateness in using unconstitutional interrogation techniques as a finding of fact, reversible only when plainly wrong or without evidence to support it.

The defendant’s convictions also were supported by sufficient evidence. Affirmed.

Quisenberry v. Huntington Ingalls Inc. (P), SCV (Millette) from EDVA.

An employer owes a duty of care to an employee’s family member who alleges exposure to asbestos from the employee’s work clothes, where the family member alleges the employer’s negligence allowed asbestos fibers to be regularly transported away from the place of employment to the employee’s home.

The court reached this conclusion in answer to a question certified from federal court. Three justices dissented.

Eaton v. Baer (U), SCV (per curiam) from Loudon.

The circuit court erred in denying the plaintiffs’ easement by necessity over the defendant’s land, which lies between the plaintiffs’ land and the public road. The decision below was based on the plaintiffs’ failure to prove that the county would approve a road they sought to build. But an easement by necessity is not predicated on whether or not a road can be built in the easement. Infeasibility of a particular aspect of a proposed path of an easement by necessity is not a basis for denying an easement altogether.

Reversed and remanded.

U.S. District Court – Eastern District

Hall v. The Coca-Cola Co., EDVA at Norfolk (Davis).

The plaintiff was injured when a product display fell on her, and the defendants removed her lawsuit from Norfolk Circuit Court to federal district court based on federal enclave jurisdiction over an injury occurring at a federally-owned military base.

In general, failure to allege facts showing title, consent, and acceptance by the federal government renders a notice of removal insufficient. Here, alleging ownership of the land satisfies one element, but enclave jurisdiction is not plausibly asserted without allegations of the state’s consent and the federal government’s acceptance. However, the notice contains imperfect allegations rather than missing ones. Therefore, the defendants seeking removal have leave to amend their notice, and the plaintiff’s motion for remand is denied.

Categories: Daily Dockets

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