Carole Chestnut appealed a judgment in favor of her aunt, Elsa Goodman. The jury found Chestnut liable for negligent misrepresentation when she convinced Goodman to give her an interest in her property on St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands in exchange for Chestnut’s promise to move in and care for Goodman in her advancing age.
Continue Reading Misrepresentation Requires a Promise to Act Now

Curtis V. Gomez, Chief Judge of the District Court of the Virgin Islands, recently heard a motion by the plaintiffs to substitute a party in the matter of Richards v. Marshall.  The action was initiated in 2009. Plaintiffs Barbara Richards and several other tenants ("Tenants") alleged that they sustained various injuries after being exposed to toxic mold allegedly present in a building owned by the defendants, Alfred Marshall and Sydney Katz, doing business as A & S Realty Associates (“A & S Realty”).Continue Reading VI Court Rules on Substitution of Parties to Action

Judge Michael C. Dunston, in the Superior Court of the Virgin Islands, Division of St. Thomas and St. John was asked to rule on a bank’s motion to dismiss in a contract dispute arising from the sale of a condominium in Cacciamani and Rover Corporation v. Banco Popular, 2013 WL 3759824 (V.I.Super. July 10, 2013).Continue Reading What is “Unjust Enrichment” in a Breach of Contract Claim

Did you know that the health reform legislation signed by President Obama includes a Small Business Health Care Tax Credit?  This credit is designed to assist small businesses with the cost of covering their employees.

If you are a small employer here on the U.S. Virgin Islands with less than 25 full-time equivalent employees, pay an average wage of less than $50,000 a year, and pay at least half of employee health insurance premiums, then this tax credit may help your company.Continue Reading Does Your Business Qualify for a Small Business Health Care Tax Credit?

BoltNagi Senior Associate and Virgin Islands Bar Association (VIBA) President-Elect Nycole A. Thompson attended this year’s ABA Bar Leadership Institute (BLI) in Chicago, March 13-15, 2013. Sponsored by the ABA Standing Committee on Bar Activities and Services and the Division for Bar Services, the ABA Bar Leadership Institute is the premier program for bar association leaders. The program features a variety of substantive courses in bar leadership and management and attracts Presidents, President-elects and Executive Directors of bar associations large and small from throughout the country.Continue Reading BoltNagi Attorney Attends ABA Bar Leadership Institute

Attorney Nycole A. Thompson with BoltNagi PC appealed her client’s conviction for aiding and abetting the unauthorized possession of a firearm. Thompson argued that the trial court’s admission, over her objections, of a certificate of non-existence of record (“CNR”) stating that her client did not have a gun license in District of St. Croix violated her client’s Sixth Amendment right to confront the witnesses against him because the person who prepared the certificate did not testify at trial and her client did not have the previous opportunity to cross-examine the person who prepared the exhibit.Continue Reading Confrontation Clause Bars Surrogate Testimony

Federal authorities in New Jersey recently announced the disruption of an international smuggling ring that prosecutors said brought hundreds of illegal immigrants to the United States, including many young women who worked as dancers at strip clubs to repay their passage.

U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said four people from New Jersey, one from Massachusetts, and one from Texas are each charged with one count of conspiracy to bring illegal immigrants into the United States through the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.Continue Reading Feds Bust Human Traffickers With VI Connections

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals this past week became the highest court in the nation to draw a clear line establishing what school districts are legally permitted to do to control student expression on the Internet.  The Court with jurisdiction over the U.S. Virgin Islands sided with public school students stating that they cannot be punished for off-campus speech that fails to cause a substantial disruption to in-school activities,.

In the majority opinions for Layshcock v. Hermitage School District and J.S. v. Blue Mountain School District — two simultaneous opinions filed by the entire Third Circuit in Pennsylvania — the judges held that administrators are limited in their ability to restrict student speech that occurs outside of school.Continue Reading Third Circuit Sides with Students Right to Online Speech

Forcible Entry and Detainer (“FED”) actions are governed by title 28, sections 751 through 794 of the Virgin Islands Code. Virgin Islands Port Authority v. Joseph, 2008 WL 2329281 (V.I.,2008). These sections provide for summary adjudication of a limited class of simple eviction proceedings. As described by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in C.M.L., Inc. v. Dunagan:
The Virgin Islands Code provides an action for forcible entry and detainer as a peaceful alternative to the often violent consequences of property owners exercising their right of self-help. Suarez v. Christian, 19 V.I. 1586 (D.V.I.1981). In exchange for revoking their right of repossession by force, the statute provides a simple summary proceeding, with time requirements substantially shorter than those provided in ordinary civil actions and with the issues sharply restricted. In such a summary proceeding, a property owner under certain specified circumstances, can quickly receive a judicial declaration of his right of occupancy and an order directing the marshal to remove the defendant and restore possession to the property owner. Where a tenant is retaining possession by force, relief is available in a summary FED proceeding only if there “is an undisputed oral or written lease agreement, and rent is due and owing thereon; or [t]here is an undisputed oral or written lease which has expired.” Conversely, “a FED cause of action will not lie where [t]itle to the premises is in question; or [w]here there is proved to the Court to exist a bona fide question of the existence of a lease at law or in equity, which has not yet expired.” Inter Car Corp. v. Discount Car Rental, 21 V.I. 157, 159 (Terr.Ct.1984).

Id. (citing, C.M.L., Inc. v. Dunagan, 904 F.2d 189, 190-91 (3d Cir.1990)) (paragraph indention omitted).
 Continue Reading Eviction: A Peaceful Alternative to Self-Help