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Blog: Opinions & Observations

How Citizens' Environmental Lawsuits Can Stop Pollution - September 2015

September 24, 2015

by James T. Lang The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (“DEQ”) have primary responsibility for enforcing the environmental laws and regulations in the Commonwealth of Virginia. There are times, however, when the EPA or the DEQ are unwilling or unable to take action against a polluter who is contaminating water, air or land in violation of environmental law. Sometimes the government fails to act because the...

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Eminent Domain: From Biblical Times to the Present - September 2015

September 22, 2015

by D. Rossen S. Greene I: A Brief History of Eminent Domain: A French jurist of the early 19th century, Merlin de Douai, claimed that the earliest known reference to the use of eminent domain is in the Old Testament in the Book of Kings, which describes the acquisition of Naboth’s vineyard by King Ahab: “And Ahab spake unto Naboth, saying, give me thy vineyard, that I may have it for a garden of herbs, because it is near unto my house: and I will give thee for it a better...

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As Coastal Migration Continues, Waterfront Property Owners Encounter Complicated and Costly Environmental Regulations - September 2015

September 15, 2015

by James T. Lang Waterfront property owners in Hampton Roads are privileged to enjoy the ambiance and a fantastic view, in addition to a highly valuable set of riparian property rights.[1] These benefits however come at a cost. Waterfront owners must be prepared to carry the expense of operating their properties in compliance with a multi-faceted and complicated web of federal, state and local legal environmental requirements designed for and specifically applicable to...

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The Department of Labor’s Proposed Overtime Changes - August 2015

August 04, 2015

by Jeffrey D. Wilson Many employers rightfully view the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) as a minefield, and it is one that may soon be even more dangerous. The FLSA requires employers to pay their employees one-and-a-half times their regular pay rate for any hours worked in excess of 40 a week. However, Sections 13(a)(1) and (17) provide exceptions for bona fide executive, administrative, professional, outside sales, and computer employees....

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Child Support, Spousal Support... Parent Support? - June 2015

June 03, 2015

by Patrick L. Maurer We have all heard of child support and spousal support. They are regular concepts in any family attorney’s day. But, few of us who regularly engage in family law cases have ever had to deal with parent support. Va. Code Ann. §20-88 (Michie, 2009) in part provides the following: It shall be the joint and several duty of all persons eighteen years of age or over, of sufficient earning capacity or income, after reasonably providing for his or her own...

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What do Construction Lawyers Do? - May 2015

May 07, 2015

by Jack Rephan [1] In the legal profession, there are lawyers whose practice includes, to a varying degree, the representation of owners, contractors, subcontractors, material suppliers and designers or other parties involved in the construction industry, in matters involving commercial construction project, both private and public, as well as residential construction projects. Attorneys who devote a major portion of their practice to construction and public contract law...

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Employment Authorization for H-4 Dependent Spouses of Certain H-1B Nonimmigrants Under the New DHS Rule - April 2015

April 15, 2015

by Anne C. Lahren On February 25, 2015, the Department of Homeland Security ("DHS") issued a final rule amending DHS regulations to extend eligibility for employment authorization to certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants seeking employment-based lawful permanent resident status. This final rule, effective May 26, 2015, supports DHS goals of attracting and retaining highly skilled foreign workers by helping to alleviate some of the hardship caused by...

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Falling in Love Across Borders - March 2015

March 23, 2015

by Anne C. Lahren They say you can’t help who you fall in love with, and love is complicated even under the best of circumstances. Things become even more complex when love crosses international borders. The United States immigration and nationality laws govern the legal processes for foreign nationals who desire to live and work in the United States, including specific rules and requirements for fiancé(e)s and spouses of U.S. citizens. Whether you are a U.S. citizen who met...

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Relocation Litigation and the Application of the "Best Interests of the Child" Standard - February 2015

February 09, 2015

by Alysha Allen Some of the most contentious child custody litigation involves the fight over whether a parent may relocate with a child. The Code of Virginia does not specifically address relocation of a custodial parent. As with any Virginia custody litigation, the paramount concern in relocation cases is the best interests of the child. Before a court permits a custodial parent to relocate with a child, it must determine that the relocation is in the child’s best...

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Walking Through a Subcontract Minefield Without Stepping on a Mine - January 2015

January 20, 2015

by Jack Rephan The typical standard form of subcontract agreement in use by general contractors throughout the country may contain a minefield of provisions which can prevent or make it difficult for subcontractors to get paid for their work or for changes in their work or for delays. Because, in most cases, general contractors are reluctant to eliminate or modify some of these provisions, it is important that subcontractors not only carefully read their subcontracts before...

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