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Commonwealth v. Residents Involved in Saving the Env't

Citation: 30 ELR 20486
No. No. 0769-99-2, (Va. Ct. App., 03/21/2000)

The court vacates a lower court's award of attorneys fees to a group of residents who challenged a state environmental agency's issuance of a solid waste facility permit to a solid waste company to construct and operate a landfill facility. In the underlying case, a lower court originally issued an order affirming the permit. After the residents appealed, the lower court set aside the permit and remanded the matter to a state agency to make an explicit determination as to whether the landfill facility poses a substantial present or potential danger to human health or the environment. The residents then sought and were awarded attorneys fees by the lower court. However, the court first holds that the lower court lacked jurisdiction to award attorneys fees and costs to the residents for legal services rendered. The lower court only had control over the matter up until the 21st day after it issued its initial order affirming the permit. That initial order did not reserve jurisdiction to the lower court to award attorneys fees at a later time, nor did the court enter a subsequent order modifying, vacating, or suspending its original order within those 21 days. In addition, the appellate courts in the underlying case did not instruct the lower court to award attorneys fees.

The full text of this decision is available from ELR (4 pp., ELR Order No. L-197).

Counsel for Appellants
John R. Butcher, Ass't Attorney General
Attorney General's Office
900 E. Main St., Richmond VA 23219
(804) 786-2071

Counsel for Appellees
Clarence M. Dunnaville Jr.
Hill, Tucker & Marsh
509 N. Third St., Richmond VA 23219
(804) 648-9073