Released Civil Case Decisions
By: Mike Windsor, firstname.lastname@example.org
Opinions from the Virginia Supreme Court: None.
Published Opinions from the Virginia Court of Appeals:
Patel v. Rabinowitz (11/1/22): In 2011, a New Jersey court entered a judgment against Patel for $8.7 million. The court appointed a receiver to collect the now $15 million judgment. The receiver alleged that Patel engaged in a fraudulent scheme with family and friends to conceal assets. The receiver sought to issue a subpoena for banking records on Sonabank in Virginia. The receiver obtained a document subpoena from the Superior Court of New Jersey and sought to domesticate it in Virginia under the Uniform Interstate Depositions and Discovery Act (UIDDA), Virginia Code §§ 8.01-412.8 to 8.01-412.15. Patel moved to intervene and quash the subpoena in Virginia. The court granted the motion to intervene, but denied the motion to quash, and Patel appealed.
The appellate court noted that a “state has a significant interest in protecting its residents who become non-party witnesses in an action pending in a foreign jurisdiction from any unreasonable or unduly burdensome discovery requests.” The court noted that Virginia has a procedure for submitting interrogatories to a debtor, but the creditor did not pursue that discovery. The court held that a subpoena duces tecum is limited to a “known” bailee or debtor, not a “suspected” bailee or debtor. The court added that “that Virginia is in the small minority of jurisdictions in the United States that do not make pretrial discovery rules broadly available to assist a judgment creditor in executing a judgment.” Reversed and rendered.
Boyd v. Weisberg (11/15/22): In 2011, Weisberg executed an agreement with To Charge Virginia, LLC (“TCV”) to solicit potential customers for TCV’s credit card processing services. Weisberg would be paid “fifty percent (50%) of the Gross Processing Revenue” while a solicited account was active. Between 2011-2013, Weisberg notified TCV that her payments were not accurate. Boyd, the sole and managing member of TCV, refused to let Weisberg examine TCV’s books, and Boyd sought to terminate the agreement based on Weisberg’s breach of a confidentiality clause. Weisberg’s attorney sent a demand letter to TCV, and threatened to sue. The next day, Boyd set up To Charge Nevada, LLC (“TCN”) and transferred TCV’s assets to TCN. Weisberg sued. During the suit, Boyd dissolved TCN, and allegedly transferred its assets to VeriPay, LLC, an entity that did not actually exist. Boyd apparently informally “resurrected” TCN as VeriPay. At trial, Weisberg testified that TCV breached their agreement, and Boyd fraudulently transferred its assets. Boyd argued that Weisberg had the burden to prove that she did not violate the agreement. Boyd also argued that Weisberg was not a “creditor” under the fraudulent conveyance statute. A jury awarded Weisberg $350,000 damages and attorney’s fees, and Boyd appealed.
Many of Boyd’s complaints related to the jury charge and verdict form. The Court of Appeals first noted that Boyd waived his errors relating to the jury charge and verdict form because he expressly agreed to them at trial. The court held that there was no error in awarding attorney’s fees against Boyd, since he was a participant in a fraudulent conveyance under § 55.1-400. Affirmed.
*English v. Quinn (11/29/22): In a case of first impression, the court held that the Virginia Supreme Court’s emergency orders entered between March 16, 2020, and July 8, 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, tolled and extended all statutes of limitations, not just those that would have expired during the tolling period.
Wintergreen Homestead, LLC v. Pennington (11/29/22): A small cemetery was established over 200 years ago on a 59-acre tract that included a family home. The traditional access route to the cemetery ran up the driveway. The 59-acre parcel was subdivided into a 47-acre parcel that contained the cemetery, and several smaller parcels. The current access route crosses two of the smaller parcels. Around 2013-2014, the owners of the smaller parcels began refusing access over their property. Visitors began using another route that only crossed over the 47-acre tract. Descendants and the owners of the 47-acre tract filed suit under VA Code § 57-27.1 seeking injunctive and declaratory relief that the path is a traditional access route to the cemetery, and to allow them to use the path when accessing the cemetery. The trial court found that the path was a traditional access route but denied the requested relief on the basis that the statute only applied to land on which a cemetery is located, and not adjacent land. Affirmed.
Unpublished Opinions from the Virginia Court of Appeals:
Total Quality Logistics v. Riverside Turf, LLC (11/1/22): In 2020, Total Quality Logistics (“TQL”), a freight broker, contacted Riverside to arrange transport of sod to a soccer field. Through a series of emails, they arranged times, locations, prices, and other details. TQL said that since Riverside was not on its creditor list, it must prepay $16,200, which Riverside did. On the first day of pick-up, TQL could not arrange sufficient trucks, and the pre-cut sod died. TQL refunded the amount paid, but would not pay for the dead sod, or the workers who were on site to install the sod. Riverside filed a warrant in debt. TQL made a special appearance and objected to venue. TQL relied on a 2012 credit application of “Riverside Farm d/b/a Riverside Turf” that set venue by agreement in Ohio. Riverside argued that the venue provision did not apply because (1) it did not rely on credit for the transaction, and (2) it was formed as a separate entity after the agreement with Riverside Farm. The trial court denied the special appearance and entered judgment for damages against TQL. TQL appealed.
The appellate court noted that despite shared ownership the Riverside entities were separate and distinct, and that Riverside did not assume the obligations of Riverside Farms. Additionally, the emails between TQL and Riverside were sufficient to form a contract. Affirmed.
Morris v. Elias (11/9/22): Pro se appeal. No transcript = no error.