October 4, 2016
The Virginia Supreme Court granted a motion to dismiss filed by St. John, Bowling, Lawrence & Quagliana, ending a case brought against the Region Ten Community Services Board. Jim Bowling represented Region Ten in litigation brought against the agency by the plaintiff, an individual receiving services from Region Ten. When the plaintiff lost at the trial court, he attempted to appeal the trial court decision to the Virginia Supreme Court. In lieu of filing a lengthy and time-consuming Brief in Opposition to the Petition for Appeal, Mr. Bowling filed a succinct Motion to Dismiss, pursuant to Virginia Supreme Court Rule 5:4. The Motion argued, among other things, that the Assignments of Error were insufficient and that the appeal should be dismissed. The Motion also asked the Court to stay the proceedings until the Motion was decided.
The Supreme Court granted the motion to stay the proceedings, obviating the need to file a Brief in Opposition to Appeal, and subsequently granted Region Ten’s motion to dismiss the petition on the basis of insufficient assignments of error.
October 17, 2016
Rhonda Quagliana will present a Virginia CLE® seminar for attorneys titled “Representing Clients in Title IX Investigations of Sexual Misconduct on College Campuses” in Charlottesville, Virginia. Over the past seven years, college and university campuses have seen a substantial increase in the number of allegations of sexual assault and other forms of sexual misconduct. The process by which colleges and universities investigate and adjudicate these allegations has generated heated controversy throughout the nation, as colleges and universities implement new and controversial procedures to meet their obligations under Title IX, and as students and their families attempt to navigate the life-changing consequences that may result from a report of sexual misconduct.
The seminar introduces attorneys to the legal concepts that govern how colleges and universities investigate and adjudicate allegations of sexual misconduct against their students. It provides practical advice to attorneys in this unique legal setting—those representing accused students, complainants, witnesses, and those representing colleges and universities. It explores the difficulties that students face in proceedings that are neither criminal nor civil in nature. And it explores the rapidly developing case law delineating the obligations of colleges and universities, as well as the rights of the accused students.
On May 9, 2016, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals decided a precedent-setting case in Goines v. Valley Community Services Board, et al. that has been cited frequently since its publication. St. John, Bowling, Lawrence & Quagliana attorneys Jim Bowling and Francesca Fornari represented a mental-health evaluator, who was alleged to have erroneously concluded that the plaintiff suffered from a mental illness and that he posed a threat to the safety of his neighbors. The plaintiff was involuntarily committed to a hospital for five days. The District Court held on a motion to dismiss that the mental-health evaluator did not violate any of the plaintiff’s constitutional rights, and dismissed the case against her. The plaintiff appealed the decision to the Fourth Circuit, where Jim Bowling successfully argued that the information contained in the Prescreening Report, which had been attached to the Complaint, was sufficient to provide probable cause for the emergency mental-health detention. The Fourth Circuit upheld the District Court’s dismissal of the case against the mental-health evaluator. The Goines opinion is an important decision out of the Fourth Circuit, because it sets forth the legal standards governing under what circumstances the contents of documents attached to a Complaint should be treated as “true” for purposes of a motion to dismiss.