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Jurisdiction Cases Summarized By Injury Lawyer

This page within Virginia Tort Case Law is a compilation of cases reported by the Virginia Supreme Court and summarized by Brien Roche dealing with the topic of Jurisdiction. For more information about court jurisdiction see the pages on Wikipedia.


See Va. Code § 8.01-328.1 as to long arm jurisdiction.

See Va. Code § 8.01-328.1, which states that using computer or computer network located in Virginia shall constitute act in Virginia for purposes of “long arm jurisdiction.” For purposes of this sub-section, “use” and “computer network” shall have the same meanings as those contained in § 18.2-152.2.


2011 Davis v. County of Fairfax, 282 Va. 23, 710 S.E.2d 466.
Case from General District Court appealed to Circuit Court and then non-suited. Plaintiff then re-filed in General District Court. General District Court dismissed due to lack of jurisdiction. The plaintiff then appealed to the Circuit Court and thereafter to the Court of Appeals. The Circuit Court, in the second action, lacked jurisdiction since what plaintiff should have done, after the non-suit, was simply re-file in the Circuit Court.

2006 Bowie v. Murphy, 271 Va. 126, 624 S.E.2d 74.
As a general rule, courts lack subject matter jurisdiction to resolve issues of church governance and disputes over religious doctrine. This prohibition arises from the religion clauses of the Constitution. In this case, the circuit court improperly ruled that it lacked jurisdiction to resolve defamation claims since these involved issues properly left under the exclusive control of the church. That decision was incorrect since the court’s involvement would not have entangled it in issues regarding church governance or matter of faith and doctrine. That is, in this case, these issues could have been resolved by reference to neutral principles of law without reference to issues of faith and doctrine.

2001 Cha v. Korean Presbyterian Church of Wash., 262 Va. 604, 553 S.E.2d 511.
Former pastor brought wrongful termination, tortious interference with employment, and defamation claims against church and individual members. Supreme court held that under Free Exercise Clause, trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to resolve claims against church and its members.

1999 Gilpin v. Joyce, 257 Va. 579, 515 S.E.2d 124.
Appearance in lawsuit for any purpose other than questioning jurisdiction of court, service of process or venue is general, not special appearance even though accompanied by claim that appearance is only special. Defendant in this case, more than year after action was filed, voluntarily appeared, filed counterclaim and discovery, as such, made a general appearance. General appearance is waiver of process and confers personal jurisdiction on court. Va. Code § 8.01-277 only applies for processes actually served on defendant. Likewise, Rule 3:3 only applies where there has been service of process. In this case, defendant made voluntary general appearance without service of process.

1999 Peninsula Cruise, Inc. v. New River Yacht Sales, Inc., 257 Va. 315, 512 S.E.2d 560.
Plaintiff in Virginia purchased boat from defendant in Florida. Defendant initially agreed to deliver boat to South Carolina but was paid additional consideration to deliver boat into Virginia. Defendant’s employees physically transported boat within Virginia’s boundaries and delivered boat to plaintiff in Virginia. Defendant’s employees had telephone conversation with plaintiff discussing the status of certain repairs and improvements and thereafter, advised plaintiff that it should have necessary repair work done and forward repair invoices to defendant. The repair work was done in Virginia. All of this is sufficient to establish personal jurisdiction over the defendant.

1993 Krantz v. Airline Pilots Ass’n, 245 Va. 202, 427 S.E.2d 326.
Defendant and plaintiff were both union members. Plaintiff was labeled as “scab” because of non-participation in strike. Defendant urged other union members at plaintiff’s prospective place of employment to “pass the word” that plaintiff was “scab.” This transmission was posted on various bulletin boards in computer center electronic switchboard operated by union in Herndon, Va. Plaintiff sued defendant for tortious interference with contract. Individual defendant utilized computer bulletin board with intent that other union members would then contact plaintiff’s prospective employer and state negative things about plaintiff. Without access to this computer bulletin board, defendant could not have induced termination of expected relationship, and as such this constituted act within this commonwealth, and therefore personal jurisdiction exists.

1992 Gallop Leasing Corp. v. Nationwide Mut. Ins. Co., 244 Va. 68, 418 S.E.2d 341.
Declaratory action by insurer to determine whether misrepresentations by insured voids policy. New York leasing agency also joined as defendant. No personal jurisdiction as to agency since no cause of action asserted against agency arising from its actions in Virginia.

1990 Witt v. Reynolds Metals Co., 240 Va. 452, 397 S.E.2d 873.
Plaintiff injured in auto accident with truck in state of Alabama. The truck was loaded in Alabama. Plaintiff is resident of Virginia. Defendant corporation is authorized to conduct business in Virginia and was served through their registered agent in Virginia. Defendant was foreign corporation. Trial court erred in dismissing due to lack of personal jurisdiction.

1990 Morrison v. Bestler, 239 Va. 166, 387 S.E.2d 753.
Jurisdiction embraces several concepts: (1) subject matter jurisdiction authority to adjudicate a class of cases; (2) territorial jurisdiction authority over persons, things or occurrences located in a defined geographic area; (3) notice jurisdiction effective notice to party or if in rem, seizure of res; (4) other conditions of fact that must exist which are demanded by unwritten or statute law as prerequisites of authority of court to proceed to judgment. Subject matter jurisdiction defense may be raised at any time. Defects in other jurisdictional elements must be properly raised before trial court. Filing requirements for malpractice cases under § 8.01-581.2 are mandatory procedural requirements but do not go to subject matter jurisdiction of court.

1981 Nerro v. Ferris, 222 Va. 807, 284 S.E.2d 828.
Plaintiff could not domesticate California personal injury judgment against Virginia resident where plaintiff was collaterally estopped from relitigating jurisdictional fact determined in earlier case. In enforcing foreign judgment, court may look at jurisdiction over person and subject matter.

1973 Golding Bros. v. Overnite Transp. Co., 214 Va. 270, 199 S.E.2d 676.
Discussion of long arm statute of New York as it relates to Virginia corporation doing business in New York.

1971 Kolbe v. Chromodern Chair Co., 211 Va. 736, 180 S.E.2d 664.
Purpose of Virginia’s long arm statute is to assert jurisdiction over nonresidents who engage in purposeful activity in this state. It is single-act statute requiring only one transaction in Virginia.

1968 Walke v. Dallas, Inc., 209 Va. 32, 161 S.E.2d 722.
Long arm statute should be applied retroactively; statute remedial only. It does not disturb vested right nor create new obligation, it merely supplies remedy to enforce existing right.

1966 Texaco, Inc. v. Runyon, 207 Va. 367, 150 S.E.2d 132.
Venue is distinguished from jurisdiction.

1963 Lucas v. Biller, 204 Va. 309, 130 S.E.2d 582.
Objection for want of jurisdiction of subject matter may be taken by demurrer, motion or in any way by which subject may be brought to attention of court or may be ruled on sua sponte.

1949 Travelers Health Ass’n v. Commonwealth, 188 Va. 877, 51 S.E.2d 263.
Minimum contacts test applied.

1945 Nolde Bros. v. Chalkley, 184 Va. 553, 35 S.E.2d 827.
Objection to subject matter jurisdiction may be raised by demurrer, motion or any other way to bring it to attention of court, or may be entertained sua sponte by court.

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Jurisdiction Cases Summarized By Injury Lawyer

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