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Flashcards in Local Government Law Deck (55):

Does sovereign immunity apply to the Commonwealth in all suits for money damages caused by negligence of a state employee?

No. VA consents to suits for negligence by state employees if done within the scope of employee
Limit is $100,000


How much notice must be given to the Commonwealth by plaintiff for suits against Commonwealth?

12 months after the accrual of the cause of action

still applies even though in torts the period is 2 years


A trial court has the power to vacate a default judgment or decree on the grounds of fraud within ______.

two years of rendition


When are voters privileged against civil arrest?

on day of election, going to and from voting place


What requires a nonparty deponent to bring documentary evidence with him to a deposition?

Subpoena duces tecum


Is the right of appeal waived from a conviction in juvenile or domestic relations district court if the defendant pays a fine or begins to serve a sentence?

No. Not waived.


When is the VA Supreme Court deemed to be sitting in division?

When three of the justices are convened.


When may a party in a civil action inform the jury of the amount of damages sought by plaintiff?

In both the opening and closing statements.


A notice of appeal must be filed within ___ of entry of final judgment?

30 days
filed in circuit court


When is Supreme Court discretion to hear a petition not allowed?

In cases involving the death penalty.


What does the court issue when an appeal is granted?

Certification of Appeal to all counsel.


When service of documents is made by mail, how many days are added to the prescribed period?

Three days.


To appeal a case from general district court to circuit court, the appeal must be taken within ____

10 days of entry of judgment by noting the appeal in writing with the clerk of the general district court


When service of documents is made by e-mail, fax, commercial delivery, how many days are added to the prescribed period?

one day


When may a party not make a motion for summary judgment?



What is a city in VA?

communities with defined boundaries and population of 5,000 or more
cities are completely of counties and counties cannot tax the city


What does Dillon's Rule apply to?

counties not cities


What is the limit on general obligation bonds that a locality can issue?

no more than 10% of assessed valuation of real estate
- revenue anticipation bonds
- special fund bonds


Can a locality in VA impose an income tax?

Most of funding comes from property taxes


Can a locality license business based on the gross receipts of the activity?

Yes. Not an income tax.


What is required for a valid ordinance?

1) prior published noticed worded to alert the residents who will be affected
2) majority vote of the governing body at public meeting
3) ordinance is reasonable certain in application (not vague)


Who has the burden to challenge the validity of the ordinance?

Burden rests on the party challenging the ordinance.
- complaint for declaratory judgment


How often does the comprehensive plan composed of zoning ordinance and map need to be updated?

5 years


Who can grant exceptions to zoning requirements?

Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) can grant exceptions called variances


How are appeals of zoning orders taken?

Notice to the Board of Zoning Appeals within 30 days of decision by zoning administrator


To grant a variance what needs to be demonstrated?

1) strict enforcement would be an undue hardship not shared by other properties within zoning district; and
2) granting would not be detrimental to surrounding properties


Can locality outlaw subdivisions?

No. Cannot impose a moratorium on development


If a grandfathered use of land is destroyed, does it need to comply with new zoning when being rebuilt?

Grandfathered means can continue use, but cannot rebuild, enlarge or alter


How long is the period for disuse for a grandfathered use to be treated as abandoned?

two years of disuse.


How are appeals from the board of zoning appeals taken?

30 days after decision by filing a writ of certariori in circuit court
appeal based on:
1) incorrect legal rules
2) preponderance of evidence that decision was in error based on facts


A contract beyond a localities power is called?

ultra vires and is unenforceable
- apparent authority of major or executive officer is not sufficient


Does the Virginia Tort Claims Act apply to locality?

No waiver for localities.
Counties have absolute immunity


What must be done before bringing an action against a locality?

Claim must be presented to locality for allowance
30 days after notice of disallowance then appeal to circuit court


What are examples of proprietary functions that localities do not enjoin sovereign immunity?

1) road maintenance
2) public water, sewage, storm drainage, gas, and electricity
3) housing authorities


What are factors to determine whether lower level employee are immune from liability?

1) nature of function (public v. private)
2) extent of government's interest
3) degree of control and direction
4) exercise of judgment and discretion


If a school board obtains insurance are they immune from tort claims?

No. Waived sovereign immunity up to limit of insurance policy


Can a plaintiff bring an action against employees of localities for gross negligence and intentional torts?

Yes. Can sue employees personally, but not the locality

Must give notice of 6 months after cause of action arises


What is an inverse condemnation action?

When property is taken indirectly without formal condemnation


Sale of land by locality required what?

Ordinance or resolution passed by 3/4 of the governing body


How long can localities lease real property?

Limited to 40 years.


When a locality operates a recreational facility, the city may be liable only for _____ negligence in its operation.

Gross or wanton negligence.


When suing a locality, does an oral report satisfy the notice requirement?

No. must be in writing. Can be oral to member of the city, who makes a written report.


For an action against a locality, is snowplowing considered a government or proprietary function?

Government, because it is a mix of government/proprietary.
Government because responding to an emergency (snow on roads)
Proprietary because it is maintenance of roads


Can a locality build a new road, parking garage, and park to attract a new company, if open to public?

Yes. Open to public without interference from new company.


Can a locality offer a $10 million loan to attract a new company to the locality? The loan is financed from a general obligation bond.

No. Localities do not have power to borrow money unless authorized by charter.
All general obligation bonds subject to a ceiling of no more than 10% of assessed real property


When can a locality exercise eminent domain?

1) public need for the property, declared in ordinance or resolution by governing body of locality
2) municipality made a good faith offer to purchase property and cannot agree
3) owner of land is incapacitated, nonresident, unknown or cannot be found


Can a locality in VA abate taxes to attract a new corporation to locality?

No, taxes must be uniform for the same class of subjects.
Power to tax is a positive grant from the state legislature.
Locality main tax is property tax.


How much notice must a plaintiff give a country before bringing an action alleging negligence?

within 6 months from when the action accrued.


A municipality that operates a public recreational facility is ___

liable only for gross or wanton negligence.


Is garbage collection a governmental or proprietary function?

Government - when there is both then it is governmental.


Is maintaining a library a governmental or proprietary function?

Localities may receive immunity


Is plowing the streets after a snowstorm a governmental or proprietary function?



What can a plaintiff with a tort claim involving property damage do if the locality claims sovereign immunity?

Plaintiff may waive the tort and sue on an implied contract for pay to property wrongfully damaged or taken for public purpose under the "takings" clause.


If a city is engaged in proprietary function and thus not able to claim sovereign immunity, can the city still raise a defense of contributory negligence?

Yes. Contributory negligence will bar recovery.


Is abatement of a public nuisance considered a taking?

No. within the police power of a city and not subject takings. Thus no compensation is required.