JSR MECHANICAL, INC.
AIRECO SUPPLY, INC.
FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY Lon E. Farris, Judge
PRESENT: Lemons, C.J., Goodwyn, Mims, McClanahan, Powell, and Kelsey, JJ., and Millette, S.J.
LEROY F. MILLETTE, JR., SENIOR JUSTICE.
In this appeal we review the meaning and application of Virginia Code § 8.01-335(B) on the question of whether a circuit court has discretion to deny a procedural motion to reinstate a case that has been discontinued or dismissed under this subsection of the statute when the party seeking reinstatement has complied with the timeliness and notice requirements. Upon a review of the statute as a whole, and its legislative history, we conclude that such discretion does not exist. We therefore reverse the judgment of the circuit court denying the motion to reinstate.
I. FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS
On July 23, 2010, JSR Mechanical ("JSR") filed a complaint against Aireco Supply, Inc. ("Aireco"), alleging breach of contract and negligence. The complaint sought $38, 000 in damages. Aireco filed an answer on August 19, 2010. There were no further pleadings filed by the parties for the next four years.
Code § 8.01-335(B) provides:
Any court in which is pending a case wherein for more than three years there has been no order or proceeding, except to continue it, may, in its discretion, order it to be struck from its docket and the action shall thereby be discontinued. The court may dismiss cases under this subsection without any notice to the parties. The clerk shall provide the parties with a copy of the final order discontinuing or dismissing the case. Any case discontinued or dismissed under the provisions of this subsection may be reinstated, on motion, after notice to the parties in interest, if known, or their counsel of record within one year from the date of such order but not after.
On January 31, 2014, under the authority of Code § 8.01-335(B), the circuit court entered a final order stating that the case had been pending for over three years with no proceedings and was therefore discontinued and stricken from the docket.
On January 23, 2015, JSR filed a motion to reinstate. JSR alleged that Aireco allowed Tyrone Fletcher to make purchases using JSR's account without authorization; that Fletcher was convicted of criminal charges in Maryland and ordered to pay $35, 000 in restitution; that despite hearings for violation of his probation, Fletcher had continued to be noncompliant; and that JSR no longer believes recovery is possible through the restitution order. As the only remaining avenue to recover the balance was to proceed against Aireco, JSR sought to reinstate the suit. JSR attached copies of the Maryland docket to its motion, which also included a certificate of service to Aireco.
On January 30, 2015, the circuit court heard the motion. That day, the court entered an order stating: "Upon consideration of the motion and arguments of counsel for the Parties, it appearing to the Court that just cause and sufficient grounds do not exist for granting Plaintiff's motion, it is hereby ORDERED that Plaintiff's Motion to Reinstate is hereby DENIED." JSR now appeals.
A. Sufficiency of the Record
Before we address the merits of the case, we first address whether the record, as submitted by JSR on appeal, is sufficient to allow us to reach its assigned error. Aireco urges that we dismiss the case for failure to file a ...