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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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bryan weltands oo article photo

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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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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Aquaculture oyster farming "off the bottom"

Waterfront Property Owners: Riparian Rights vs. Oyster Aquaculture Companies

June 06, 2018

Riparian property rights are the reason that people pay extra to live “on the water”.   Jim Lang authored a widely-read article in June 2013 that explains why riparian property rights command such great value.   The homes on Sandfiddler Road in Sandbridge, Virginia, give a practical example that further proves the premium value that the market attaches to riparian property rights.  Up and down the five miles of Sandfiddler Road, the homes on the east side – the side facing...

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Borrowed Servants on Virginia's Waterfront: A Muddied Predicament for Employers

May 30, 2018

Third party access to waterfront property has become a norm and necessity for most waterfront businesses.  Preventing third party access often results in lost business opportunities and profits.  In some cases, prevention can result in breach of contract or tortious interferences with business suits brought against the property owner and/or operator.  Yet, allowing third party access complicates employment relationships at the worksite and the legal responsibilities of the...

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