(Posted May 2, 2024) After a quiet week to cap April, the justices begin May with a bang, issuing a published order today that resolves an interesting procedural issue.

Code §8.01-189 provides that the pendency of a suit brought merely to obtain declaratory relief “shall not be sufficient grounds for the granting of an injunction.” In a DJ action brought by owners of condominiums against the condo association, the Circuit Court of Virginia Beach refused even to consider awarding requested injunctive relief, citing that statute. The unit owners filed a petition for review.

Today, in Leggett v. The Sanctuary at False Cape Condominium Ass’n, the Supreme Court addresses the previously unresolved question whether the statutory language operates as a bar to any injunctive relief in DJ proceedings. The court concludes that injunctions are available in these cases, especially where other provisions of law give circuit courts the power to issue them.

Here, two other relevant statutes authorize injunctive relief. Courts may issue injunctions in suits alleging ultra vires corporate acts, and in actions challenging compliance with condominium instruments. The justices reason that §8.01-189 only bars injunctions based on the mere pendency of a DJ action, but doesn’t foreclose injunctive relief where it’s otherwise available. The court accordingly remands the case to Virginia Beach for a full review of the injunction request.

Today’s order cites two esteemed law professors – Kent Sinclair and the late Munny Boyd – for its conclusion. These scholars had previously opined on this undecided question, each correctly predicting the outcome of today’s ruling.

As with most published orders, we can’t know who wrote this one, but the panel comprised Justices Powell, Kelsey, and Russell. This order is unusual in that the court decides to publish it. That sticks out because normally the only decisions that the court chooses to publish are those issued by the full court, not by a panel. Petitions for review are among the very few exception to this practice.

Finally, as befits the expedited process for §8.01-626 appeals, the court decides this case very quickly. The petition hit the clerk’s office at Ninth and Franklin on March 28, just five weeks ago today; the association filed its brief in opposition 15 days later.