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Blog: Opinions & Observations

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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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,...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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