Court: Supreme Court of Virginia
Opinion Date: April 15, 2021
Judge: LeRoy F. Millette, Jr.
Areas of Law: Personal Injury
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court awarding compensatory and punitive damages arising from Appellants’ intentional statutory torts of racial harassment and stalking, holding that the evidence was sufficient to support the award. William Ellis, a black man, worked for John Powell, a white man, and his company, Northern Virginia Kitchen, Bath & Basement, Inc. (NVKBB) as an independent contractor. A dispute arose when Ellis worked at the home of a certain homeowner, referred to as Ms. C. NVKBB filed a complaint against Ms. C and Ellis, alleging, inter alia, defamation. The circuit court granted partial summary judgment against Powell for violating Va. Code 8.01-42.1 and -42.3. Thereafter, the circuit court returned a verdict in favor of Ellis. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the circuit court did not err in denying NVKBB and Powell’s motions to strike and to set aside the jury’s verdict; and (2) there was sufficient evidence to support the award of compensatory damages.
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