Right Result Wrong Reason

The post title is plagarized, um, no its not, I’ve given attribution, from the VA Bar CLE weekly update.

Formerly under Virginia law, cases in which a party had failed to present an argument in the trial court were not eligible for the appellate courts to apply the "right result for the wrong reason" doctrine. This was so because the trial court had not had an opportunity to rule on the argument that was being raised for the first time on appeal. In Perry v. Commonwealth, 280 Va. 572, 580, 701 S.E.2d 431, 436 (2010), the Virginia Supreme Court reversed this interpretation of the doctrine and held that a party’s failure to present an argument in the trial court does not preclude affirmance under the "right result for the wrong reason" doctrine as long as all of the necessary evidence to support the argument was presented at trial.
The Court stated that consideration of the facts in the record and whether additional factual evidence would be necessary to support the newly advanced reason is the proper focus of the application of the doctrine. The Court further agreed with the U.S. Supreme Court that an appellee may also "urge in support of a decree any matter appearing in the record, although his argument may involve an attack upon the reasoning of the lower court or an insistence upon matter overlooked or ignored by it." (quoting United States v. Am. Ry. Express Co, 265 U.S. 425, 435 (1924)). The application of the doctrine was also addressed in a civil case decided the same day, but the Court reached the opposite result where the facts of the case developed at trial that should have supported the newly stated ground were in conflict. Banks v. Commonwealth, 280 Va. 612, 618, 701 S.E.2d 437, 440-41 (2010).

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