In brief: A city of lawyers, the point of no return and a quote that still stings

In brief: A city of lawyers, the point of no return and a quote that still stings

Case study

Cities are always involved in one sort of minor litigation or another, typically for unpaid taxes, but over the past two years, Charlottesville has been embroiled in a lot of high-profile cases, mostly as a defendant. Having a hard time keeping up? We are, too. Let’s review.


  • The city, downtown businesses and neighborhood associations sue armed militias and Unite the Right participants for militaristic violence August 12.

Charlottesville Parking Center

  • Mark Brown’s suit over Water Street Parking Garage rates filed in 2016.
  • Charlottesville filed a counterclaim.
  • Current status: In mediation

Fred Payne, Monument Fund et. al.

  • Suit to prevent removal of Confederate statues, motion to remove tarps.
  • Current status: Next hearing is December 6

Albemarle County

  • Objects to city overriding county law at Ragged Mountain Natural Area to allow biking.
  • Charlottesville has filed a counterclaim.
  • Current status: Motions hearing is December 6

Joy Johnson et. al. [filed by Jeff Fogel]

  • Demands that the city fire Hunton & Williams, claims City Manager Maurice Jones had no authority to hire Tim Heaphy’s law firm to do a review of city actions August 12.

Natalie Jacobsen and Jackson Landers

  • FOIA suit to force city to produce August 12 safety plans.
  • Current status: The reporter plaintiffs had to amend the complaint naming the city rather than the police department, and no new hearing date has been set.

Granted bond

Chris Cantwell. Staff photo

“Crying Nazi” Chris Cantwell—whose name comes from a tearful video he posted to the web before turning himself in to police for allegedly using pepper spray at the August 11 tiki-torch march at UVA—literally cried when he was granted a $25,000 bond December 4. He won’t be released from jail until he can find a place to stay, according to the judge.

More sick animals

On the heels of Peaceable Farm owner Anne Shumate Williams being convicted of 25 counts of animal cruelty in Orange County, the Louisa County Sheriff’s Office is hoping to save about 500 animals in what appears to be a similar case. This time, goats, emus, sheep and a peacock are among the neglected critters. Charges are pending for the 77-year-old and her two adult sons who run the farm.

Quote of the Week

Nikuyah Walker. Photo by Eze Amos

“Systemic racism does not fall on the backs of two black men.” —Councilor-elect Nikuyah Walker at the December 4 City Council meeting

Point of no return

John Casey. Courtesy Cramer Photo

Former University of Virginia professor and award-winning author John Casey will not return to teaching creative writing at the school this spring. UVA is currently investigating at least three Title IX complaints from former students who claim he sexually harassed them.

Better than a 9-5

Airbnb announced last week that homestay hosts in Charlottesville and Blacksburg have earned $2.3 million during the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech football seasons since 2016.

Rights waived

Daniel Borden, charged with malicious wounding for his part in the August 12 Market Street Parking Garage beatdown of Deandre Harris, waived his right to a preliminary hearing in Charlottesville General District Court December 4. He’ll go before the grand jury in December.

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