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Blog: Opinions & Observations

New Laws in Virginia Effective July 1, 2021

June 29, 2021

Here’s a brief summary of some of the more notable laws passed by the 2021 Virginia legislature. Most new laws take effect on July 1st. A common theme is that they are generally considered defense-friendly, but not all. You should consult an attorney or read the code if you want to know specifics. End of the Death Penalty On March 24, 2021 Virginia became the first southern state to abolish Capital Punishment. Since 1976 when the U. S. Supreme Court upheld capital...

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From Leash Laws to Dog Bites: Your Legal Responsibilities as a Dog Owner

June 14, 2021

According to the Virginia Department of Health Animal Contact and Human Health Statistics, more than 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs each year in the United States. Approximately 39% of these bites occur outside the dog’s home. [1] Any dog of any breed may bite. There is no way to know if a dog is a biter by only their breed, size, or age. As a dog owner, it is your responsibility to follow the law, not only for the safety of others, but also for the safety of...

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Marriage Reconciliation Agreements: the Lex Pacificatoria before the Last Resort of Divorce

June 03, 2021

When the world suffers wars and threats of wars, our global community sometimes overcomes by reconciling conflicts through peace treaties. The Lex Pacificatoria means “law of the peacemakers,” and refers to this art of negotiating peace agreements to end a state of war or to create permanent peace. It would not be an overstatement to say that many people experience personal wars in their lives when going through separation or divorce.  Some may seek this Lex...

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How Do I Seize Assets after I Win a Civil Lawsuit?

May 19, 2021

Many people assume that if they prevail in a civil court case and the Judge enters a judgment order against the Defendant, the successful Plaintiff will automatically get paid.  Unfortunately for many successful Plaintiffs, winning the lawsuit is just the first step in recovering the funds which they are owed. When a Defendant loses a civil case and has a judgment entered against her/him, she/he is known as a “judgment debtor.”  The successful Plaintiff is called the...

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Willful Misconduct: An Employer’s Tool to Bar Virginia Workers’ Compensation Benefits

April 30, 2021

Under Va. Code §65.2-306, an employee who otherwise suffered a compensable workplace accident may be denied workers’ compensation benefits if the employer proves that the employee was engaged in a form of willful misconduct at the time of the accident.  Whether an employee’s conduct rises to the level of willful misconduct is a question of fact that will be determined by the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission.   When an employee places him/herself into a...

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Addressing Landowner Arguments for Stricter Review of Public Projects in the Wake of the 2013 Eminent Domain Amendment

April 29, 2021

The amendment to Article I, section 11 of the Virginia Constitution that became effective January 1, 2013, restricted the power of eminent domain and expanded the right to compensation in certain clearly defined ways.  It also included two broader policy statements that counsel for landowners have seized upon to argue that courts should subject takings to more scrutiny than in the past.  While these arguments have a surface appeal, a closer examination reveals that...

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Virginians Can Protect Personal Data under New Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act

March 19, 2021

It is no secret that businesses have been collecting, buying, and selling personal information about consumers for years.  It is a safe bet that every time you interact with a company it is recording the information it receives and building a profile on you based on demographic data, such as your shirt size or whether you own a pet, and your personal preferences for consumer goods. Companies use this information to better market their goods and services to you, but...

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Local Firm with International Significance: Virginia Supreme Court’s Rejection of Oyster Bed Leaseholders’ Inverse Condemnation Claim Draws International Recognition

January 29, 2021

Not every legal issue results in high octane litigation.  Not every lawsuit is appealed to and decided by a state’s highest court.  Nor does every case achieve celebrity status.  However, every so often a novel legal issue does just that.  In December of 2020, the Supreme Court of Virginia decided a unique legal issue that had been the subject of prolonged litigation and has since received international recognition.  The case, Johnson v. City of Suffolk, was featured...

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What Does Fair Market Value Mean?

January 19, 2021

Generally, fair market value is the price an asset would sell for on the open market between a willing buyer and a willing seller. Though the wording may vary, the definition is fairly consistent across the various fields the phrase is used.  Recently, the Supreme Court of Virginia considered the specificity of this phrase in the case of Ann M. Wilburn, et al. v. Anthony John Mangano. The phrase “fair market value” appeared in a will and codicil’s option to purchase...

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COVID-19, Workers Compensation Immunity, and Coverage under Commercial General Liability Insurance Policies

December 18, 2020

There will be employees who contract the coronavirus and claim they were infected by a fellow-worker at the jobsite or in the office.  Then these employees will bring a personal injury suit against their employer to recover money damages or, in the case of a fatality, their estate will bring a wrongful death action against the employer.  This article outlines proposed legislation in the Congress and in the Virginia General Assembly that, if enacted, will allocate...

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