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Blog: Opinions & Observations

“Making America Great Again” – An Immigration Attorney’s Perspective

January 31, 2017

Since November 8, 2016 – the date on which the United States voted Republican candidate Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States – I have received numerous inquiries about what a Donald Trump presidency would mean for U.S. immigration policy and the immigrants and nonimmigrants living in the United States. The questions have stemmed from curiosity, concern, and sometimes outright fear. While no one can predict exactly what will happen over the next four years,...

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Grounds for Divorce in Virginia

October 24, 2016

Whether one is contemplating a divorce or is going through a separation, amicable or hostile, it is important to note what the law requires in order to move forward with a divorce action.  In Virginia, there are three fault grounds for an absolute divorce: (1) adultery, sodomy, or buggery committed outside the marriage[1]; (2) conviction of a felony subsequent to the marriage[2]; and (3) cruelty and desertion after a period of one year form the date of the act.[3]  Adultery...

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Unmarked Cemeteries and Gravesites in ROW Projects

October 19, 2016

Of honour'd bones indeed. What should be said? All’s Well That Ends Well (2.3.1042). Valar morghulis. Valar dohaeris. A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 3, Chapter 74, Arya XIII. Despite the best-laid plans of right-of-way professionals, previously forgotten cemeteries or graveyards are sometimes discovered during the course of right-of-way projects. The words “cemetery” and “graveyard” bring with them images of ordered rows of graves with headstones or markers. There is no...

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Virginia Supreme Court Holds Teaming Agreement Unenforceable

September 28, 2016

In January 2016, I posted an Opinions & Observations column, Teaming Agreements in Virginia: Are They Enforceable?, dealing with the subject matter of whether teaming agreements are enforceable in Virginia. In that  column I mentioned that there was only one Virginia Supreme Court case dealing with this issue, W. J. Shafer Assocs. v. Cordant, Inc., 254 Va. 514, 493 S.E. 2d 512 (1997). Nevertheless, the reasoning of the Supreme Court in Shafer was followed by the United...

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Vocational Rehabilitation in Virginia

September 27, 2016

Under Virginia law an employer who has three or more regular employees in the same business is required to furnish workers’ compensation coverage at no cost to their employees. This includes vocational rehabilitation benefits. When an employee is injured on the job and is unable to resume usual job duties but still is able to work, an employer is required to furnish reasonable and necessary vocational rehabilitation services to an injured employee.  Vocational rehabilitation...

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Why You Need An Attorney When Selling Your Home FSBO (For Sale By Owner) - August 2016

August 01, 2016

For most people, a home is the most expensive thing that they will ever sell. While not as common, some individuals choose to sell their home "For Sale by Owner" (FSBO). The reasons may vary as sellers may want to be in charge of marketing or save the expense of a listing agent's commission. Starting the process of selling FSBO can be as easy as putting a "For Sale by Owner" sign in your front yard, and some brokerage services may offer to list your property on the multiple...

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Assisted Reproduction's Impact on Estate Planning and Administration in Virginia - July 2016

July 14, 2016

With the availability of Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART), families who once may not have been able to become parents except through adoption are often able to conceive a child by non-traditional means. However, just because you, as a parent, consider a child born by use of ART to be your child in the same way you would consider a child born to you without the use of ART to be your child, Virginia law does not always agree. This Opinions and Observations column...

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Can a Property Owner Evict a Tenant Who Contests Title in the General District Court? - July 2016

July 12, 2016

A recent Virginia case will make it much harder for purchasers of foreclosed properties to evict residents of the purchased property and could allow tenants to remain in the property until there is a decision on the validity of the foreclosure. In Parrish v. Fannie Mae[1], the Virginia Supreme Court held that when a resident in an eviction action challenges the title of the plaintiff, the General District Court may not have jurisdiction to hear the case. The General District...

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Why Do Banks Require Bank Counsel On Some Commercial Loans? - June 2016

June 24, 2016

I have been representing both borrowers and lenders on commercial transactions for over 30 years and I have frequently encountered this question from borrowers: Why does the bank need its own attorney in the transaction when the borrower is represented by counsel? Implicit in this question is the truism: Borrowers do not like to pay the legal fees of their own lawyer and they certainly don't like to also have to pay legal fees for the bank's attorney. The following are some...

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Environmental Law: The Supreme Court’s Hawkes Co. Decision May Help Save Your Project When Wetlands are Present - June 2016

June 01, 2016

By Jim Lang - June 2016 Image courtesy of Michael Mees Wetlands make it hard to build at a property.  This is especially significant in Hampton Roads, Virginia, due to the high prevalence of wetlands in this part of the country.  The builder and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Army Corps) do not always agree on the size of the wetlands footprint, with the builder needing the footprint to be small in order for the project to go forward, and the Army Corps claiming the...

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