Month: May 2015

Vandeventer Black LLP Achieves Victory for Client at U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

Norfolk-based litigators Mark Coberly and Dustin Paul successfully defended an appeal to the United States Fourth Circuit of their client’s $800,000 trial court verdict.

Mark and Dustin were successful at the Eastern District of Virginia District trial court obtaining summary judgment for their client.  The Court found there were no material facts in dispute, and the Plaintiff was entitled to judgment against the vessel M/V HEBEI PRINCE for bunker fuel that was provided to the vessel when it was supplied in the United Arab Emirates.  The fuel was never paid for after the charterer of the vessel financially collapsed.

In an April 17, 2015 published decision the Fourth Circuit confirmed that international companies that supply maritime fuel to vessels can include a choice of law provision in their agreements that selects U.S. law.  In this case, the fuel supplier included a provision in its order confirmation and delivery receipts that indicated the transaction was subject to the fuel supplier’s terms and conditions on its webpage.  The terms and conditions then provided for the application of U.S. law.

The application of U.S. law is of particular importance to international fuel suppliers.  The U.S.’s Commercial Instruments and Maritime Lien Act provides a unique remedy for those that provide fuel or other “necessaries” to ships.  The Act creates a lien upon the vessel so long as someone with apparent authority orders the ship’s supplies and the supplier does not have actual notice that the requesting party lacked authority to order the necessaries.  Typically, the order is placed by a vessel charterer who has possession of the vessel, but has no ownership interest in the vessel.  The vessel then operates as collateral.  Once a lien has been created, a vessel can be arrested in any U.S. port and held as security for a claim even if the vessel has no other connections to the United States.

Mark and Dustin are part of Vandeventer Black’s Maritime and Admiralty Law team and represent domestic and international interests in virtually all areas of marine law.  The team offers one of the most diverse ranges of maritime-related legal services in the country and has the depth and experience to handle the full spectrum of maritime legal issues that arise.  The team has extensive trial experience in federal courts on the U.S. East and Gulf Coasts, as well as Virginia state courts.

Long Term Nursing Care Malpractice Defense Victory – $2,000,000 Claim Dismissed

Vandeventer Black’s Mark Brennan and Maggie Finnegan recently successfully defended one of the nation’s largest nursing home companies resulting in dismissal of $2,000,000 claim. Claims made against our client included (a) nursing care negligence in failing to prevent an elderly female with dementia from sustaining multiple falls in a long term nursing facility resulting in a fracture of the left femur and (b) that the facility failed to prevent an alleged sexual assault upon her by another resident. Brennan and Finnegan were able to persuade the court to compel the plaintiff to arbitration. The arbitration trial was conducted on March 10-11, 2015, at which Finnegan and Brennan proved that the cause of the fracture was bone disease rather than trauma from a fall, and with this, the sexual encounter had resulted in no harm or damages to the plaintiff.  Finnegan and Brennan were able to convince the arbitrator to adopt their arguments in dismissing the $2,000,000 claim. “We had excellent medical expert witnesses and fact witnesses who completely refuted the testimony of the plaintiff’s medical expert witness at trial” said Brennan.

Vandeventer Black LLP Attorneys Selected as 2015 Super Lawyers Rising Stars

4 attorneys from the law offices of Vandeventer Black LLP were selected as 2015 Super Lawyers Rising Stars. Eligibility for inclusion requires candidates either be 40 years old or younger, or in practice for 10 years or less. Annually, less than five percent of lawyers in each state are selected to receive this honor.

Named from the Norfolk office, Megan Caramore, Immigration; Richard Crouch, Business / Corporation; Dustin Paul, Civil Litigation: Defense.

“We are excited to be recognized for this exclusive award and are proud of our exceptional attorneys,” said Mike Sterling, Managing Partner. “Collectively, the experience of our lawyers allows us the ability to offer multiple legal services to businesses.”

Vandeventer Black LLP Attorneys Selected as 2015 Super Lawyers Rising Stars

4 attorneys from the law offices of Vandeventer Black LLP were selected as 2015 Super Lawyers Rising Stars. Eligibility for inclusion requires candidates either be 40 years old or younger, or in practice for 10 years or less. Annually, less than five percent of lawyers in each state are selected to receive this honor.

Named from the Norfolk office, Megan Caramore, Immigration; Richard Crouch, Business / Corporation; Dustin Paul, Civil Litigation: Defense.

“We are excited to be recognized for this exclusive award and are proud of our exceptional attorneys,” said Mike Sterling, Managing Partner. “Collectively, the experience of our lawyers allows us the ability to offer multiple legal services to businesses.”

12 Vandeventer Black LLP Attorneys Selected as 2015 Virginia Super Lawyers

Vandeventer Black LLP attorneys from Norfolk and Richmond were selected by their peers as 2015 Virginia Super Lawyers. Annually less than five percent of all lawyers in Virginia are selected for this honor.

Named as Virginia Super Lawyers from the Norfolk office were Dean Buckius, Employment & Labor; Deborah Casey, Real Estate; Mark Coberly, Transportation / Maritime; William Franczek, Construction Litigation; Patrick Genzler, Surety; Patrick Herman, Estate Planning & Probate; Neil Lowenstein, Construction Litigation; Michael Sterling, Government Contracts.

From the Richmond office, Business Litigation; Douglas Palais, Securities Litigation.

“It is our goal to demonstrate excellence in the practice of law,” said Mike Sterling, Managing Partner.

Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters business, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. Annual selections are made using a rigorous multi-phased process which includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates, and peer reviews by practice area.

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