Who said appellate opinions have to be dry?

Nearly 40 years later, the Department of Forensic Science was able to conduct DNA testing on the evidence in the case. That testing indicated that none of the biological evidence gathered at the scene and from the victim matched Watford. Based on this finding, he petitioned the Supreme Court for a writ of actual innocence to clear his name.

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Claim preclusion is now governed in Virginia by Rule 1:6. If you can raise a given claim in an action, but choose not to do so, you’re generally barred from asserting that claim in subsequent litigation. This prevents the practice of “claim-splitting,” whereby a plaintiff can subject a defendant to the annoyance of multiple lawsuits. The Sisters had asserted that Brother’s suit raised claims that could have been brought during the first suit – specifically, he could have sued earlier to impeach the will due to his power of attorney.


Ah, but there’s a zinger coming:

Author: Joe Schall, College of Earth and Minerals Sciences, The Pennsylvania State University.

Undeterred, Tesla sought review by the DMV Commissioner. It had better luck this time; the Commissioner approved the application. VADA then filed an appeal to circuit court under the Administrative Process Act.


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In the Supreme Court, the personal rep assigned error to the trial court’s ruling based on hearsay and speculation. The assignment said nothing about relevance, the ultimate basis for the court’s exclusion of the evidence. Because you must assign error to what the court actually did, the Supreme Court finds this assignment to be waived.

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While I find myself a bit skeptical of this contention, the issue dies without a resolution on the merits. The trial court originally ruled in a letter opinion that this statement was inadmissible hearsay and was speculative. After the evidentiary hearing I described above, the court ruled that the statement was irrelevant to the triable issue.

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Tesla, the maker of high-tech electric vehicles, applied to the DMV for permission to open a dealership in Richmond. VADA asked for leave to intervene, and the DMV hearing officer allowed that; the officer subsequently denied the application after what I assume was opposition from VADA.

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There’s one more issue, but here, some sloppy drafting by an appellate lawyer dooms the appellant. The patient’s sister offered testimony that the patient had stated after the surgery, “I thought this would be an easy operation.” The personal rep contended that this helped to prove that the doctor had misled the patient.

Jan 28, 2007 · Eat food

The trial court didn’t buy this, and neither do the justices. The Supreme Court acknowledges that lay witnesses can offer opinions, but those are generally restricted to matters within the witness’s own perception. Here the daughter was simply speculating about what her mother would have done, and no witness can do that.