Construction Law Insights

Van Buren v. Earl Ronald Poston & Old Meadow, LLC, 2017 Va. Cir. LEXIS 335 (Cir. Ct. Loudoun Cnty. Nov. 30, 2017)

Louise Van Buren (“Plaintiff”) filed a Complaint against Ronald Poston and Old Meadow, LLC (collectively “Defendants”) in an action to recover damages suffered due to an alleged breach of a residential construction contract between the parties. Upon purchasing a home in April 2016, Plaintiff agreed to use Poston and his company, Old Meadow, for needed renovations and repairs to the home. Old Meadow’s estimate for extensive work on the home expressly noted that any changes would be accomplished by mutually agreed upon change orders.

Chilton-Belloni v. Angle ex rel. City of Staunton, 294 Va. 328 (2017)

The Supreme Court of Virginia ruled on an appeal of two related zoning actions that had been tried together. It addressed whether the circuit court had properly relied on principles of res judicata to refuse to stay an injunction brought by the City of Staunton’s Zoning Administrator against a landowner pending further proceedings before the City’s Board of Zoning Appeals (“BZA”). It also considered whether the circuit court properly granted the injunction against the landowner. The Court concluded that the circuit court had erred and reversed and remanded the injunction.

Kalergis v. Comm’r of Highways, 294 Va. 260, 805 S.E.2d 395 (Oct. 26, 2017)

The Kalergis family (“Kalergis”) owned a farm in Albemarle County that featured certain structures which constituted improvements upon the land. In February 1994, VDOT acquired just over half of the property, which included said improvements, from the Kalergis for $1,150,000 for use in a future highway project called the Western Bypass. The price had been determined by an appraisal of the market value, which valued the land at $286,110 and the improvements at $863,890.

Johnston v. Stephan, 2017 Va. Cir. LEXIS 309 (Cir. Ct. Fairfax Cnty. Oct. 23, 2017)

The Stephans owned real property in Great Falls, Virginia, and hired a general contractor to construct a home on the property. On February 15, 2010, the general contractor and Cole (“Defendant”) entered into a subcontract pursuant to which Defendant installed a roof on the home. Three years later, the Johnstons (“Plaintiffs”) purchased the home form the Stephans. In January 2014, Plaintiffs demanded that Defendant perform further work on the roof, and Defendant declined. On April 5, 2017, Plaintiffs sued Defendant, alleging that Defendant’s refusal to work on the roof violated consumer protection law and breached an alleged contractual warranty.

Under the current law in Virginia, there is no time limit on when the Commonwealth of Virginia or any of its agencies (ex. VCU, UVA, Virginia Tech, etc.) can bring a lawsuit against contractors for alleged defects in public construction projects. The rule is that “no time runs against the king” and is codified in Virginia Code § 8.01-231 (“No statute of limitations which shall not in express terms apply to the Commonwealth shall be deemed to bar any proceeding by or on behalf of the same.”).

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