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Davenport taking fight against lawyers to Va. Supreme Court

Michael Schwartz January 30, 2017 0

The Supreme Court of Virginia building in downtown Richmond. (Wikimedia Commons)

The Supreme Court of Virginia building in downtown Richmond. (Wikimedia Commons)

A downtown investment banking firm isn’t backing down in its legal battle with a group of attorneys from Richmond and Charlottesville.

Davenport & Co. plans to appeal to the Virginia Supreme Court a recent Richmond Circuit Court decision that dismissed its lawsuit against local attorney Douglas Palais, Charlottesville attorney Frederick Payne and several law firms.

Davenport was able to object to the judge’s initial ruling, which it did on Nov. 3, only to be shot down by the judge again on Nov. 29.

The firm on Dec. 11 filed a document in Richmond Circuit Court stating it is appealing the ruling to the state Supreme Court.

The planned appeal continues a dispute that began in Fluvanna County in 2011, when the rural municipality near Charlottesville sued Davenport related to the firm’s work on a county bond offering.

That original case was dropped in late 2014 after years of back-and-forth, with the locality publicly apologizing for inaccuracies in the case.

Those inaccuracies were ammunition for Davenport’s $15 million lawsuit filed in Richmond Circuit Court in late 2014 against Palais, Payne and their current and former law firms as it sought to blame them for the original case’s fallout.

Davenport’s suit claimed the attorneys knowingly made false claims against it while prosecuting the case in Fluvanna. It initially alleged counts including malicious prosecution, abuse of process and fraud and asked for a jury trial.

It never made it to a jury, after the defendants’ attorneys had all but one count dismissed. The last count was dismissed in October, but Davenport was given the ability to object to the judge’s ruling.

It argued the court erred in several ways, including its interpretation of “process” and its prior dismissal of the claim of malicious prosecution.

Davenport asked the court to reconsider its rulings and let the case go to trial on counts of abuse of process and malicious prosecution.

Ultimately, the judge again ruled against Davenport.

Davenport declined to comment about plans to appeal.

The firm is represented by McGuireWoods attorneys Jonathan Harmon, Dale Mullen, Robert Loftin and Steven Popps. Loftin said he could not comment without first consulting with the client.

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