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Blog: Opinions & Observations

Highlights of Bills and New Laws in Virginia for 2019

June 26, 2019

Each January the Virginia General Assembly convenes to consider passing new laws and repealing old ones. Delegates and State Senators meet for six or eight weeks in alternating years with the extra two weeks in years when a budget is voted on. We had a 47-day session this year with sine die (closing day) on February 24. Generally, the new laws become effective on July 1st with exceptions for either immediate or delayed enactment. More than 3,000 bills were introduced. Some...

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Beyond the Non-Disclosure Agreement: How to Protect Your Company’s Confidential Information

June 18, 2019

My colleague Brent Haden recently posted an insightful article about non-competition covenants. As he noted, such covenants, when properly drafted, can be enforceable.  However, many courts subject non-competes to intense scrutiny because of their effect on competition and limitation on the ability of workers to obtain employment.  Some states, such as California and Washington, have even gone as far as to refuse to enforce any non-competition agreement.  As a result, many...

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Non-Compete Agreements in VA – What Is Enforceable and What You Should Consider

May 06, 2019

As our society and workforce has become more mobile, the presence of non-competition covenants has increased.  What does that mean in today’s workforce for employees and employers?  In Virginia, covenants not to compete are disfavored and will only be enforced if specific requirements are met.  To be enforceable in Virginia, a non-competition covenant must (i) be narrowly drawn to protect a legitimate business interest, (ii) not be unduly burdensome on the employee’s ability...

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What to Do if You Have Been Charged with a Tidal Wetlands Violation

April 11, 2019

In Virginia, wetlands are protected by law.  The Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC), working in in close coordination with the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and local Wetlands Boards, have the responsibility to preserve and prevent the destruction of tidal wetlands while also accommodating necessary economic development in a manner consistent with wetlands preservation.  Va. Code §28.2-1301(B). Construction activities in tidal wetlands areas are highly...

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Must-Have Legal Documents for Parents

April 02, 2019

The birth of a child creates new priorities and responsibilities.  Parents go into survival mode, structuring their schedules around feedings and naps, which later transforms into shuttling children to and from school, music lessons, sporting events, and other activities.  Somewhere in the shuffle, it’s common for parents to put off preparing a will until “things quiet down,” which in many cases will not be  until the kids are much older.  In the meantime, they cross their...

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How to Avoid Common Estate Planning Oversights and Errors

November 05, 2018

Estate planning is about more than just having a will; it’s planning for both incapacity and for death, making difficult situations easier to handle, and protecting yourself and your loved ones.  Although most of us don’t like to think about it, chances are that you or one of your loved ones will suffer a disability or period of incapacity during your lifetime; and of course, death is a certainty.  Doing a little planning up front will give you peace of mind in knowing that...

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Subcontractors Can Sue the Owner of a Construction Project in Virginia in Limited Circumstances

August 22, 2018

Owners typically control the money on a construction project.  Subcontractors do not have a contract with the owner and therefore have limited rights against the owner.  When something goes wrong with the general contractor, if the owner has not paid the general contractor, there are some avenues for a subcontractor to assert a claim directly against the project owner. A subcontractor’s best remedy against a project owner is to file a mechanic’s lien.  Subcontractors must be...

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Naturalization Requirements, Eligibility and Common Causes for Concern

August 14, 2018

The United States has specific requirements that must be met in order to apply for naturalization (U.S. citizenship).  Generally speaking, a non-U.S. citizen must be a lawful permanent resident (“green card” holder) of the U.S.A. for a period of five years prior to being eligible for naturalization.  If the foreigner is married to a U.S. Citizen who is the same citizen who sponsored them for lawful permanent resident status, then they may apply for citizenship after three...

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Highlights of Bills and New Laws in Virginia

July 01, 2018

Each January the Virginia General Assembly convenes to consider passing new laws and repealing old ones. Delegates and State Senators meet for six or eight weeks in alternating years with the extra two weeks in years when a budget is voted on, such as this year. Generally, the new laws become effective on July 1st with exceptions for either immediate or delayed enactment. This year the General Assembly considered 3,722 bills. Some were continued to the 2019 session, others...

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When Is an Employer Liable for an Employee's Workplace Misconduct?

June 25, 2018

This month, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision addressing when employers can be held liable for the actions of their employees.  Garnett v. Remedi SeniorCare of Virginia, LLC concerned a situation where an employee went on sick leave for a day.  While she was gone, her supervisor told her coworkers that she was having gynecological surgery and, therefore, must have an STD.  The employee sued the supervisor and her employer for defamation.  In its opinion,...

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