A case stemming from the use of a right of way on commercial property in St. Thomas. In November of 2000, Parcel No. 14 Estate Contant was divided into four parcels.  Parcel No. 14A was purchased by Gejan, Inc., Parcel No. 14B was purchased by Hubert King, and Parcel No. 14C was purchased by Alexius Perkins.   Parcel No. 14D was granted to the three as tenants in common to use as a private right of way.   


Continue Reading Easement not Easy for St. Thomas Companies to Interpret

Forum non conveniens is the discretionary power of a court to decline its jurisdiction in cases where another court may more conveniently hear a case. As the U.S. Virgin Islands is roughly 1000 miles from the U.S. mainland, an individual or company faced with litigation may see this doctrine arise.  The U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals handled the question in a case involving parties from foreign countries.


Continue Reading What is Forum Non Conveniens and is it Important?

A declaratory judgment is a court judgment which sets out the rights of parties but without ordering any action or awarding damages. Courts will entertain this motion to stop controversies with a clarification of the law at the initiation of a lawsuit instead of waiting until both parties have presented their arguments.  For instance, a corporation may request a court to decide if a new tax is applicable to their business before the company pays it.


Continue Reading Arbitrator’s Decision on Procedural Issue Stands in Hotel Case

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 12(b)(1) concerns a court’s subject matter jurisdiction to hear a case. You can not just bring a lawsuit where you want against someone because you want to. If a judge decides that a plaintiff doesn’t have standing or the proper connection to an injury, the court will not have jurisdiction to hear the case and must dismiss it.   


Continue Reading Standing Needed to Bring Suit in Federal Court for the U.S. Virgin Islands

For those who practice in the courts of the Virgin Islands, there is a weary acceptance that justice will come, but it might not come quickly.  Sometimes—either due to the complexity of a case or a court’s congested docket—a motion or petition will linger on a judge’s docket for months or (in extreme cases) even years.  In these situations, a litigant has only two choices:  Sit back and wait for a ruling or try to get the case moving with a writ of mandamus.


Continue Reading No Escape from Limbo: The Virgin Islands Supreme Court Denies a Writ of Mandamus

Summary judgment is a decision by the judge that the claim asserted has no factual issues that need to be given to the jury, and the case may be decided as a matter of law. This rids the court of factually unsupported claims and defenses where one of the parties convinces the judge that the factual issues either do not exist or they are not material, thereby avoiding trial and allowing the judge to make the decision.  Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 56 speaks to this type of motion and states that summary judgment may be entered after adequate time for discovery against the party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party’s case, which that party would bear the burden of proof at trial.


Continue Reading Summary Judgment Used to Filter Out Unsupported Claims

Stotesbury v. Pirate Duck Adventure, LLC, Slip Copy, 2013 WL 5508131 (D.V.I. October 1, 2013).

In a recent case in the District Court of the Virgin Islands, Division of St. Thomas-St. John, Defendants sought to exclude portions of Plaintiffs’ proposed experts’ testimony. Senior District Judge Donetta W. Ambrose of the U.S. District Court of the Virgin Islands, applying Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharm., Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993), wrote that in order to decide Defendants’ motions to exclude expert testimony the trial court judge must determine whether the proposed expert will testify to expert knowledge that will assist the trier of fact to understand or determine a fact at issue. This means that a preliminary assessment must be conducted of whether the reasoning or methodology underlying the testimony is scientifically valid and of whether that reasoning or methodology properly can be applied to the facts in issue.


Continue Reading Evaluating the Admissibility of Expert Testimony

In a recent case, the Appellant, Hani Khalil, asked the Supreme Court of the U.S. Virgin Islands to hear his argument concerning the Superior Court’s orders, which ruled on his motion in opposition to a motion for attorney’s fees and prejudgment interest filed by the Appellee, Guardian Insurance Company


Continue Reading Rules Are Meant to be Followed, Especially When Appealing a Case