De Novo: A Virginia Appellate Law Blog

De Novo: A Virginia Appellate Law Blog

Jay O’Keeffe practices with Johnson, Rosen & O’Keeffe LLC. in Roanoke, Virginia, where he splits his time between appellate and business litigation. read more

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A New Sheriff in Town?

Posted in Uncategorized
Juli Porto has an article in this morning’s VTLAppeal, Is There a New Sheriff in Town Named “A.H. Tingler”?, analyzing SCOVA’s subtle importation of Twiqbal through A.H. v. Church of God in Christ, Inc. and Tingler v. Graystone Homes, Inc. Thoughtful and recommended. Among other things, Juli notes that the Court cited Twiqbal in A.H., then… Continue Reading

Live Blogging the VBA Appellate Summit

Posted in Uncategorized
As I’m writing this, I’m attending the VBA’s Appellate Summit, a fantastic CLE that comes around every three years. This year, the appellate council made asked me to moderate a 50-minute panel about brief writing. They won’t make that mistake again! Thankfully, the outstanding–dare I say heroic?–contributions of panelists Judge Robert Humphreys, Don Jeffrey, and… Continue Reading

Binding Assignments of Error

Posted in Uncategorized
Binding assignments of error are a disaster, which is probably why Virginia is one of only eight states that still require them.* By way of background, Rule 5:17(c)(1) requires that Under a heading entitled “Assignments of Error,” the petition shall list, clearly and concisely and without extraneous argument, the specific errors in the rulings below upon… Continue Reading

Letters from Camp

Posted in Briefs, Uncategorized, Writing
So we decided to send Jack to sleepover camp this year. You remember Jack, right? Well, he’ a little older now. This is the first year that he’s eligible for camp, and he’s really been looking forward to it. We’ve been sending him letters every day, and we include the sports section from the local… Continue Reading

Legal Technology Update from VTLA Annual Convention

Posted in Uncategorized
I was lucky enough to spend the weekend in lovely Williamsburg, Virginia, home to this year’s VTLA annual convention. The highlights of the convention included (1) Justice Mims’s interview of Anne Marie Slaughter, (2) Anne Marie Slaughter’s brother‘s interview of Chief Justice Lemons, and (3) Kenneth Polite‘s talk on the power of the legal profession.… Continue Reading

I Wrote a Thing

Posted in Uncategorized
Hard as it may be to believe, I was actually writing stuff during the downtime between posts. People who ought to know better were kind enough to publish two of my articles: You Could Have Told Me That In The First Place: Five Tips That Might Have Saved A Young Lawyer A Lot Of Trouble,… Continue Reading

SCV Updates List of Acceptable Fonts!

Posted in Uncategorized
How could I have missed this?! On December 15, the Supreme Court of Virginia revised Rule 5:6 to update its list of acceptable fonts. (H/t Steve Emmert.) Until now, SCV briefs had to be printed in 14-point Arial, Courier, or Verdana. I’m on record as expressing mild disapprobation for that list. The new list is… Continue Reading

Good Advice from a Bad Man . . .

Posted in Uncategorized
. . . or at least, the author of the “bad-man theory” of the law. I was delighted to learn that Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., has his own wikiquote page. Here are some of his inspirational musings, which are sure to brighten your day: One has to try to strike for the jugular and let the… Continue Reading

Slightly off topic, but . . .

Posted in Uncategorized
The scariest moment in my life happened a few years ago. I’d taken Caroline and Jack down to the greenway, Roanoke’s riverside mixed-use path. It was a bright, cold day. Caroline was rambling along on her ridiculous Dora the Explorer bike, which was already two sizes too small. Jack had outgrown his balance bike but wasn’t yet… Continue Reading

New Paper: Appellate Experience is Correlated with Success on Appeal (at least for Appellees’ Counsel)

Posted in Uncategorized
I just finished reading a thought-provoking law review article summarizing a multiple regression analysis of a sample set of 200 Ninth Circuit opinions handed down between 2010 and 2013. No, really, it’s true. The study is Sisk, Gregory C. and Heise, Michael, ‘Too Many Notes’? An Empirical Study of Advocacy in Federal Appeals (February 17, 2015).… Continue Reading

Changes at the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals of Virginia

Posted in News, Uncategorized
Congratulations to our new Chief Justice Donald Lemons and to the jurists recently elected to Virginia’s appellate courts–SCV Justice-elect Arthur Kelsey and CAV Judges-elect Richard Atlee, Mary Grace O’Brien, and Wesley Russell. All begin their terms on February 1. (And no, I have no idea if “Justice- or Judge-elect” is actually the proper term for a new member of the court… Continue Reading

A Christmas Present for Appellants from the Fourth Circuit

Posted in Notice of Appeal, Uncategorized
On December 18, the Fourth Circuit gave appellants an early Christmas/timely Hanukkah/late Ramadan present when it clarified the requirements for a notice of appeal in Jackson v. Lightsey, Case No. 13-7291. Jackson is a deliberate-indifference Section 1983 action. I am deliberately indifferent to its treatment of the merits, but I am deeply interested in its holding on… Continue Reading

Adding Insult to Injury? Virginia Code Section 8.01-682 and the Mysterious $250 in Damages

Posted in Appellate Practice, Uncategorized
We get questions about this a lot. When the Supreme Court of Virginia issues a mandate affirming a judgment, it will sometimes include this line: ‘The appellant shall pay to the appellee two hundred and fifty dollars damages.”   Occasionally, the appellee maybe curious about his unexpected windfall. But when you’re on the wrong end of one… Continue Reading

The Most Important Part of a Fourth Circuit Brief?

Posted in Uncategorized
What’s the most important part of a Fourth Circuit brief–the festively colored cover? The elegant binding? The dead cockroach that your printer smooshed between pages 19 and 20?  Steve Klepper has a thought-provoking post over at the Maryland Appellate Blog in which he argues that the most important part of a Fourth Circuit brief is actually the request for oral… Continue Reading