Justia Construction Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Supreme Court of Virginia
Stafford County v. D.R. Horton, Inc.
The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the circuit court concluding that the cluster development plans submitted by two developers were not subject to planning commission review under Va. Code 15.2-2232, holding that the circuit court erred.Two real estate developers proposed to build conventional subdivisions and then reconfigured their previously approved subdivisions into cluster developments. The county planning department advised the developers that they would need to undergo another comprehensive plan compliance review in accordance with section 15.2-2232 because their new plans significantly deviated from the previously approved plans. The developers sought writs of mandamus requiring the county to approve the plans and writs of prohibition preventing the county from ordering a comprehensive plan review. The circuit court ruled in favor of the developers and entered an order directing the county to approver the cluster development concept plans. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the approvals of prior subdivision plans did not foreclose the requirement of a section 15.2-2232 review by the planning commission of different plans later submitted. View "Stafford County v. D.R. Horton, Inc." on Justia Law
Davis Construction Corp. v. FTJ, Inc.
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court holding that a general contractor was liable for construction materials provided by a supplier to one of the general contractor's subcontractors, holding that the distinct circumstances of this case permitted the supplier to obtain relief for the general contractor's unjust enrichment.General Contractor contracted with Subcontractor to assist with a residential condominium project. Subcontractor agreed to purchase materials from Supplier and to pay Supplier for materials delivered. General Contractor and Subcontractor entered into a joint check agreement specifying a method for how Supplier would be paid for the materials it shipped to the job. Supplier ultimately shipped $252,062 in materials for which it was not paid due to the Subcontractor's financial difficulties. General Contractor ultimately used those materials to complete the project. Supplier sued General Contractor and Subcontractor alleging breach of contract and unjust enrichment. Supplier obtained a default judgment against Subcontractor. After a trial, the court ruled for Supplier in its claim of unjust enrichment against General Contractor. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the joint check agreement did not foreclose relief; (2) General Contractor was not being compelled to pay twice for the materials; and (3) Supplier was permitted to obtain relief for General Contractor's unjust enrichment. View "Davis Construction Corp. v. FTJ, Inc." on Justia Law
Curley v. Commonwealth
The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the trial court’s denial of Defendant’s motion to suppress and upholding his convictions for several drug and firearm-related offenses, holding that probable cause existed for the warrantless search of Defendant’s vehicle.Defendant argued in support of his motion to suppress the evidence discovered during the warrantless search of his vehicle that the police lacked probable cause to conduct the search. The trial court denied the motion, concluding that Defendant’s furtive movements, nervous demeanor, and possession of a digital scale containing suspected cocaine residue provided the requisite probable cause. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that, under the facts of this case, there was sufficient evidence to establish that the police officer had probable cause to search Defendant’s vehicle because there was a “fair probability” that contraband or evidence of a crime would be found. View "Curley v. Commonwealth" on Justia Law
Desai v. A. R. Design Group, Inc.
Defendant recorded a mechanic’s lien for work done on two properties that had been placed in a trust. The trustee filed a petition challenging the validity of the liens, arguing that the memoranda for mechanic’s lien were defective because they failed to specifically name the trustee, improperly identified the claimant, and failed to list either a date from which interest was claimed or a date on which the debt was due. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the memoranda for mechanic’s lien either complied with the relevant statutes outright or were substantially compliant. View "Desai v. A. R. Design Group, Inc." on Justia Law
Hensel Phelps Construction Co. v. Thompson Masonry Contractor, Inc.
In 1997, Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University awarded General Contractor a prime contract for construction work. General Contractor hired Subcontractors to complete portions of the project. Sureties acted as sureties to Subcontractors. After construction was substantially completed, Virginia Tech made final payment to General Contractor in 1999, which made final payment to Subcontractors. All work was concluded in 2000. In 2012, Virginia Tech asserted a claim against General Contractor seeking compensation for the cost of remedying defective workmanship. In 2014, General Contractor settled the claim with Virginia Tech and, the same year, filed this action alleging breach of contract and common law indemnity claims against Subcontractors and breach of contract claims against Sureties. In 2015, the court dismissed the case in its entirety, concluding, as relevant to this appeal, that the statute of limitations barred the breach of contract claims. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the statute of limitations had run by the filing of the suit in 2014, and because any breach of Subcontractors occurred at the time of their respective performances, the statute of limitations had similarly run against Sureties. View "Hensel Phelps Construction Co. v. Thompson Masonry Contractor, Inc." on Justia Law
William H. Gordon Assocs. v. Heritage Fellowship, United Church of Christ
Church entered into an engineering contract with Civil Engineer (Engineer) to design site plans for a rain tank system. Church entered into a contract with General Contractor (GC) for the construction of the rain tank. After GC installed the rain tank, the tank collapsed. Engineer designed and GC installed a different storm water management system, but Church refused to pay GC for installing the new storm water system. GC sued Church for payment, and Church counterclaimed against GC for breach of contract. Church filed a third-party claim against Engineer for repair and replacement costs it was found to owe GC because of the rain tank collapse. Church filed a separate suit against Engineer. The circuit court concluded that the rain tank collapse was the failure of Engineer, entered judgment for GC on its claims against Church, and awarded Church damages for delay and other damages associated with removing and replacing the rain tank. Engineer appealed. The Supreme Court (1) affirmed the judgment of the circuit court finding Church’s claims timely and Engineer liable on Church’s breach of contract claims; and (2) reversed the circuit court’s judgment granting Church damages in the form of construction loan interest that was not incurred as a result of the breach of contract. Remanded. View "William H. Gordon Assocs. v. Heritage Fellowship, United Church of Christ" on Justia Law