Devine, Donald v. Buki

289 Va. 162, 767 S.E.2d 459

Devine, Donald v. Buki, 289 Va. 162, 767 S.E.2d 459

Record No: 140301

(As published by the Virginia Supreme Court)
In a suit by purchasers of a home for rescission of the transaction and related relief, the fact that the trial court found that the selling husband’s wife did not engage in any wrongful conduct in the sale did not mean that it lost equitable jurisdiction to enter relief against the husband. That the sellers owned the property as tenants by the entireties has no effect here. The conceded failure of the husband to disclose certain damage to the house supported the purchasers’ claim for fraud in inducing them to complete the transaction, and thus the trial court did not err in granting rescission. Restitution is limited to the amount of benefit received by the adverse party and here the consequential damages awarded are more akin to compensatory damages, for which plaintiffs had abandoned their claim. In a fraud suit a chancellor has discretion to award attorney’s fees to a defrauded party and there is no showing of abuse of that discretion here. The circuit court erred in awarding prejudgment interest under Code § 8.01-382 because plaintiffs failed to request that remedy in their pleadings. On plaintiffs’ claim of cross-error for failure to award them punitive damages, no abuse of the court’s discretion has been shown. The judgment is affirmed in part and reversed in part, and the case is remanded for further proceedings.