• Virginia Supreme Court Opinions Affecting Local Government Law: September 12, 2014
  • September 19, 2014 | Author: Andrew R. McRoberts
  • Law Firm: Sands Anderson PC - Richmond Office
  • The Virginia Supreme Court issued opinions this morning. After last term issuing no opinions significantly affecting Virginia Local Government Law (at least not in this author’s judgment), this term resulted in two both related to law enforcement — one tort case and one “gap” pay case. As always, congratulations to the winners!

    The case summaries are taken from the Virginia Supreme Court opinions website. Click on the case number to read the opinion.

    131162 Kohn v. Marquis 09/12/2014 In an action for the wrongful death of a police recruit injured by blows to the head during training at a police academy, the circuit court did not err in granting summary judgment for the defendants on a plea in bar and dismissing the action. The facts showed that decedent suffered an injury that appeared suddenly at a particular time and place, was caused by an identifiable incident or sudden precipitating event, and resulted in an obvious mechanical or structural change in the decedent’s body. Even if there were prior injuries sustained during decedent’s preceding three months of training, the injuries on the day he collapsed and fell into a coma contributed to his death and established an injury by accident compensable under the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act. Accordingly, the circuit court did not err in granting summary judgment on the plea in bar and in holding that the exclusivity provision of the Act, Code § 65.2-307(A), bars this action. The judgment is affirmed.

    131815 Bailey v. County of Loudoun 09/12/2014 In an action by law enforcement personnel in a county sheriff’s office concerning the obligation under the Virginia Gap Pay Act, Code § 9.1-700 et seq., to pay employees at least at a one and one-half overtime rate for hours of work in excess of the employees’ regularly scheduled work hours but less than the federally established maximum limit after which an overtime rate must be paid, two of the employment practices of the defendant sheriff’s office violate the Act’s provisions as set out in Code §§ 9.1-701(A) and -703: a “debiting leave” scheme applied when, within a single work period, a deputy works overtime hours and takes sick leave, and an “exchange hours” system implicated for overtime hours during a particular work period. A third practice, described as “force flexing,” when a deputy accrues hours in addition to regularly scheduled work hours such as through overtime work or holiday duty, but the sheriff’s office prohibits the deputy from working a full scheduled shift and sends the deputy home before sufficient hours are accrued to earn overtime, is permissible under the Act’s provisions as set out in Code §§ 9.1-701(A) and -702 and does not violate the plaintiffs’ contractual employment rights. The case is remanded to the circuit court for further proceedings concerning the plaintiff’s damages for the two violations found, in accordance with this opinion.