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Virginia Supreme Court

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Death of a Co-Administrator Doesn’t Cancel Survivor’s Rights

Thu, 06/05/2014

Bartee v. Vitocruz: After the death of Tonia Begley, Robert Bartee and Wiley Begley were awarded co-administrators of Tonia’s estate. Wiley subsequently died as well and, after the death Bartee filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Tonia’s physician. The trial court dismissed the lawsuit on the grounds that both of the estate’s administrators were not present.


The Supreme Court of Virginia reversed the dismissal of the lower court, ruling that as the sole surviving administrator, Bartee has the full legal capacity to file a lawsuit concerning Tonia’s estate. The death of a co-administrator does not vacate the power or authority of the remaining, surviving administrator.

Read the full decision here

Private Property Versus Expressed Easement

Thu, 02/27/2014

Beach v. Turmin: The Turims are beneficiaries of a piece of property that is part of a subdivision, which neighbors property owned by Barbara Beach. There is a private walk between the two properties that is actually owned by Beach. Beach erected a wall and poured cement over some stairs that were part of this walkway, making it non-accessible to the Turmins. The Turmin’s filed suit, requesting the pathway to be restored and the wall to be removed on the grounds that the Turmin’s had an easement to that land.


The Supreme Court of Virginia ruled in favor of Beach on the grounds that the property was, by nature and deed, the private land of Beach and that she had full authority to build the wall and change the stairs. The subdivision deed that the Turmin’s held did not include access to the stairs or give them a right to the pathway.

Read the full decision here

Immunity Denied with Government Irresponsibility

Fri, 01/10/2014

Robertson v. Western Virginia Water Authority: After the W. VA Water Authority’s sewage line burst on Robertson’s property causing major damage, Robertson filed suit against the Authority for compensatory damages. The Authority motioned for summary judgment on the basis that the sewer was a government functioning line and thus subject to government immunity.


The Supreme Court of Virginia reversed the decision of the lower courts by dismissing the Authority’s motion for immunity. The Court ruled in favor of Robertson because the Court ruled that the Authority’s responsibility included maintenance and operation of the sewer system, which they failed to do adequately.

Read the full decision here