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Devine v. Buki

Supreme Court of Virginia

January 8, 2015

NANCY W. DEVINE
v.
CHARLES Z. BUKI, ET AL

FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY. Harry T. Taliaferro, III, Judge.

Richard H. Stuart for appellant.

A. Davis Bugg, Jr. (Albert D. Bugg, III; Rumsey & Bugg, on brief), for appellees.

PRESENT: Lemons, C.J., Goodwyn, Millette, Mims, McClanahan, and Powell, JJ., and Lacy, S.J.

OPINION

[289 Va. 185] CLEO E. POWELL, JUSTICE.

Nancy W. Devine (" Devine" ) appeals the judgment of the trial court rescinding the sale of the property known as Rock Hall to Charles Z. Buki (" Buki" ) and Kimberly A. Marsho (" Marsho" ). Buki and Marsho assign cross-error to the trial court's denial of their claim under the Virginia Consumer Protection Act (" VCPA" ), Code § 59.1-196, et seq., and their request for punitive damages.

I. BACKGROUND

The present case involves the sale of Rock Hall, a wood frame house that is more than 200 years old, by Nancy and her husband, Donald M. Devine, Jr. (" Donald" ). The facts regarding the sale of Rock Hall and the subsequent lawsuit are the same as those discussed in the companion case of Donald M. Devine, Jr. v. Charles Z. Buki, et al., Va., 767 S.E.2d 459 (2015) (this day decided). Therefore, we will address only the facts that are particularly relevant to this case.

The trial court, in ruling on this matter, found that Nancy's involvement in the present

Page 883

case was limited to signing the contract agreeing to sell Rock Hall to Buki and Marsho for $590,000 (the " Real Estate Contract" ) and other documents pertaining to the sale of Rock Hall. It specifically noted that there was no evidence that Nancy took part in any of the fraudulent acts. Similarly, the commissioner made no finding with regard to Nancy or attributed any fraud, misrepresentation or concealment to her. According to the trial court, Nancy merely " reaped the benefit" of the sale of Rock Hall.

[289 Va. 186] Notwithstanding the fact that she committed no wrong, the trial court granted rescission of the Real Estate Contract against both Donald and Nancy. The trial court determined that it was fair and equitable to require Nancy " to be responsible jointly and severally with her husband for the repayment of the purchase price" of Rock Hall. The trial court also awarded prejudgment interest on the purchase price of Rock Hall, running from the date of closing. However, the trial court declined to award consequential damages or damages under the VCPA against Nancy.

II. ANALYSIS

On appeal, Nancy contends that the trial court affirmatively found that she committed no wrong and, therefore, could not award any remedy against her. She further argues that, having found that she committed no wrong, the trial court no longer had equitable jurisdiction over her. Finally, she asserts that, assuming the trial court did not err in awarding rescission, it erred in awarding Buki and Marsho prejudgment interest on the purchase price of Rock Hall. In their assignments of ...


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