Monday, September 17, 2007

On last week's Virginia Supreme Court rulings

Friday was decision day in the Virginia Supreme Court, the first of the fall. Here is the synopsis page. The VLW Blog has several posts on the decisions.

Here from the Norfolk paper, here from The Hook, here from the Richmond paper, and here from the Roanoke paper are stories about the decision in the Highland County wind farm case. The opinion is Miller v. Highland County, by Justice Keenan. It decides procedural issues related to the zoning.

Here from the Washington Post and here from the AP are stories on the tree injunction case, modernizing the tree law of the Commonwealth. The opinion is Fancher v. Fagella, by Senior Justice Russell. In this opinion, the Court replaced one judge-made rule with another, with unknown effects on property rights throughout the Commonwealth, in the interests of modernity and urbanization.

What's interesting is the Court almost adopted the Blackwelder test for injunctive relief, see Blackwelder Furn. Co. v. Seilig Mfg. Co., Inc., 550 F.2d 189 (4th Cir. 1977). The Court says, by way of advisory opinion: "The decision whether to grant an injunction always rests in the sound discretion of the chancellor, and depends on the relative benefit an injunction would confer upon the plaintiff in contrast to the injury it would impose on the defendant. Any burden imposed on the public should also be weighed. Akers v. Mathieson Alkali Works, 151 Va. 1, 8-9, 144 S.E. 492, 494 (1928)." Maybe Blackwelder adopts the Akers v. Mathieson Alkali test.

Here is a story from the Norfolk paper on the FOIA case decided against the Norfolk Airport Authority. The opinion is Fenter v. Norfolk Airport Authority, by Senior Justice Stephenson.

from the Leesburg paper is an article on the Supreme Court's decision reversing an order imposing a writ of mandamus against a town official, as part of a long-running dispute between Leesburg and a developer. The opinion is Umstattd v. Centex Homes, G.P., by Senior Justice Russell.

the Newport News paper reports on the Supreme Court's decision upholding a multi-million dollar verdict in an asbestos case. The opinion is John Crane, Inc. v. Jones, Admin'x.

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