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Blog: Opinions & Observations

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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Virginia Supreme Court Rejects Oyster Bed Leaseholders’ Inverse Condemnation Claim

December 14, 2020

The Supreme Court of Virginia has reaffirmed its century old precedent that leaseholders of oyster beds hold limited property rights and are not entitled to make an inverse condemnation claim against a governmental entity when such entity’s actions cause damage to oyster grounds by way of causing the water running over the grounds to become polluted.  In Johnson v. City of Suffolk, leaseholders of certain oyster grounds in the Nansemond River filed an inverse...

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Opening the Door to Social Media Content through Discovery

October 02, 2020

The abundance and sophistication of social media platforms has changed our society.  Social media is impacting our personal and professional worlds.  For the most part, it has been a positive tool.  Today, we can connect with people across the world, exchange ideas, and expand our network all just with the click of a button.  In the legal community, social media has the potential to change the way attorneys search for and uncover evidence.  Due to the enormous...

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Virginia’s New Series LLC – Uses, Benefits and Drawbacks

September 11, 2020

As of July 1, 2020, the “Series Limited Liability Company,” became the newest addition to Virginia’s legal entity landscape.  Set forth in a new Article 16 of Virginia’s Limited Liability Company Act, Virginia’s act is modelled on the Uniform Protected Series Act and brings a relatively new business structure to Virginia.  Essentially a variant of a traditional limited liability company, a Series limited liability Company (“Series LLC”) attempts to provide the...

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Perfecting and Successfully Enforcing a Mechanic’s Lien and Dealing with a Lender’s Priority

August 14, 2020

It goes without saying that any mechanic’s lien must be timely filed and must meet all the statutory requirements under the applicable lien statute, not only if the lien claimant expects to enforce its lien, but also if a lien claimant expects to have its mechanic’s lien enforced ahead of the lender’s lien, perfect the lien in accordance with the local statute, and meet any deadline and other requirements for instituting and successfully prosecuting an action to...

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Employers Can Seek Termination of Workers’ Compensation Indemnity Benefits Through Employer’s Application for Hearing

July 13, 2020

An Employer's Application for Hearing allows an employer to suspend or terminate workers’ compensation benefits of an injured employee who is under an open indemnity award.  There are certain instances when an employer can request that workers’ compensation benefits be stopped.   An employer may choose to file an Employer’s Application for Hearing and request that the injured worker’s compensation benefits be terminated if:  the worker refuses vocational...

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New Virginia Employment Laws Effective July 1, 2020

June 30, 2020

Virginia has traditionally been viewed as an employer-friendly state.  Part of that reputation arises from the fact that it had relatively few wage payment regulations and that state courts were closed to most employment-related claims.  Instead, employees had to bring their discrimination claims in federal court, where there were statutory caps to damages, and they had to rely on the Department of Labor and Industry to pursue any wage payment claims.  Not any...

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New Laws in Virginia Effective July 1, 2020 and Noteworthy Actions by the Virginia Legislature

June 29, 2020

Many of the new laws passed in the 2020 legislative session reflect concerns that dominated the news last year, such as legalizing marijuana, mass shootings and gun control. The 2021 session will, no doubt, have bills introduced reflecting current concerns raised by the Black Lives Matter movement and COVID-19. Decriminalization of Marijuana Penalties for offenses involving personal possession of up to one ounce of marijuana are now a civil violation and no longer a...

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