Friday, March 11, 2005

Bushel of opinions from Judge Wilson of the W.D. Va.

In Cellco Partnership v. Board of Supervisors of Roanoke County, Judge Wilson upheld the County's denial of a special use permit for a cell tower, applying state law and the federal Telecommunications Act.

In Wiatt v. Marrs, Judge Wilson concluded that the plaintiff could bring her Title VII claim against the "Montgomery County Sheriff's Office," notwithstanding the defendant's claim that there is no such entity. Indeed, there are cases to support the defendant's view of the case, but Judge Wilson took a view more in the spirit of the Rules, perhaps, and concluded that the claim was stated against the Sheriff in his official capacity.

In Shashi, Inc. v. Ramada Worldwide, Inc., Judge Wilson granted Ramada's motion for a preliminary injunction against further use of its trademarks, in a case against a former franchisee that had been booted for failure to measure up to Ramada's standards. Ramada was nominally the defendant, but had removed the case and counterclaimed for injunctive relief. In this case, Judge Wilson applied the Blackwelder test, considering the harm resulting from wrongful use of a trademark.

In Short v. McEathron, Judge Wilson granted summary judgment for some and denied some for others among the defendants sued in a section 1983 case in connection with an inmate suicide at the Warren County jail. The defendants were seven deputy sheriffs. The Court found there was a question of fact as to deliberate indifference for five of the seven jailers.

In Donald's Electric and Refrigeration Service, Inc. v. United States, Judge Wilson granted the government's motion to dismiss, where an employer brought suit seeking relief from penalties imposed for late payment of employment taxes, on the theory that it should be excused because its tax person had been impaired by mental illness.

In Freeman v. Potter, Judge Wilson denied the government's motion to dismiss plaintiff's claim for breach of an agreement settling a Title VII case, and stayed the case for the pendency of EEOC proceedings on the plaintiff's retaliation charge.

In Miller v. Luttrell, Judge Wilson found one of the defendants not liable in a wrongful death case arising out of an accidental shooting, where the plaintiff claimed the father was responsible for not keeping his gun away from his son, who was age 17 at the time of the accident. As to the son, who was in default in the civil case and is now in prison for involuntary manslaughter, the Court entered an award of damages of $258,306.

In Wachovia v. Ranson, Judge Wilson applied the Fourth Circuit's ruling in Wachovia Bank, N.A., v. Schmidt, 388 F.3d 414 (4th Cir. 2004), and dismissed for lack of diversity jurisdiction.

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