BMHJ Blog: Legal Information, Resources, & News

Trial Court’s Denial of Sovereign Immunity Reversed by the Virginia Supreme Court

Nicole L. Antolic
January 19th, 2021
By: Nicole L. Antolic

Recently, Julia Judkins secured a victory in the Virginia Supreme Court when it granted a Petition for Interlocutory Appeal pursuant to Va. § Code 8.01-670.1(B) and reversed the trial court’s denial of the petitioners/defendants’ plea in bar in Ann Marie Francis v. Patricia Fitzgerald, et al., Circuit Court Case No. CL18-2643. The issue on appeal was whether the trial court improperly denied the defendants’ plea in bar and subsequent motion for reconsideration as to their entitlement of sovereign immunity.

This case arises from an assault on the plaintiff by a fifteen-year-old foster child. The defendants were social workers and employees of an immune entity previously dismissed from the case. In coordinating the placement of a fifteen-year-old foster child, they obtained information about the child from various sources and performed assessments to determine whether there was a family that appropriately met the best interests of the child. The defendants followed state mandated procedures and guidelines and exercised their own professional judgment and discretion in making these determinations. Ultimately, they identified the plaintiff as a potential foster parent for the child in part because of her experience fostering other children of the same age and because she had other children of the same age. Following placement, the defendants arranged planning meetings to determine what services the child might require to help him adjust to his new environment and whether and when therapy might be appropriate. Despite the initial success of placement, after returning home from a week with his grandparents, the child attacked the plaintiff with a baseball bat causing significant injuries.

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Moving Cases to Conclusion and Thinking Outside the Box

Melissa H. Katz, Esquire
September 22nd, 2020
By: Melissa H. Katz, Esquire

How do you move a case to conclusion if you can’t agree on a settlement and a jury trial is light years away? Since both parties have a common interest in expeditious and successful case closure, alternative methods of deciding the case should be considered. It is more important than ever to think outside the box of traditional methods of case resolution given the backlog of cases COVID-19 has created in our court systems.

Whether liability, damages, or both, are at issue, remote mediation, trial by judge, or arbitration, with or without high-low agreements, are viable options of adjudication. This article will focus on arbitration and suggestions to avoid missteps, disagreements and derailment.

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GDC Practice in the Time of Covid-19

Angela M. London
August 4th, 2020
By: Angela M. London

The legal profession, like many other industries, has experienced significant upheaval as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Since mid-March, many lawyers and law firms have utilized work from home policies to ensure that attorneys and staff stay productive and meet their obligations to clients. However the initial uncertainty of the coronavirus resulted in the closure of courthouses to the public throughout the Commonwealth.

According to the Supreme Court of Virginia, from March 16, 2020, with the issuance of the Court’s first COVID Order, to May 1, 2020, the General District Courts of Virginia continued approximately 413,000 cases to a later date. This has created a significant backlog that these courts must now work through.

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Pandemic Depos: Working remotely means taking depositions remotely

Martin Schubert, Esquire
July 27th, 2020
By: Martin Schubert, Esquire

In these difficult times, cases continue being filed, deadlines continue to approach, and the Supreme Court of Virginia has allowed discovery to proceed. In order to keep the cases, clients, and adjusters on track with their cases, the attorneys at Bancroft, McGavin, Horvath & Judkins, P.C. are using platforms such as Zoom and Webex on a near daily basis to conduct depositions. We have prepared processes for presenting exhibits to witnesses, best practices for taking the depositions, processes for avoiding unfair or improper conduct by deponents, and even customizing the deposition notices to ensure a fair, reasonable, and effective process.

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Accord and Satisfaction (Criminal Defense)

Charles J. Nucciarone, Esquire
February 18th, 2020
By: Charles J. Nucciarone, Esquire

Associate Charles Nucciarone recently represented a client accused of a simple assault and battery under Virginia Code Sec. 18.2-57, a misdemeanor offense. In addition to examining the law and the facts of the case for potential defenses, Mr. Nucciarone also turned to Virginia Code Section 19.2-151. That code section refers to what criminal defense attorneys commonly refer to as an “Accord and Satisfaction.” Under that code section, in a criminal case where the charge is a misdemeanor and one for which there is a civil remedy, the complaining witness may acknowledge, in writing, that he or she has received “satisfaction” for the injury form the defendant, the court may then dismiss the charge against the defendant.

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This blog and the information provided has been prepared by Bancroft, McGavin, Horvath & Judkins, P.C. (“BMHJ”) for information purposes only and is not intended nor to be construed as legal advice. This blog may contain the opinions of the members and associates of this firm on various legal issues and is not legal advice. Read More