Month: July 2015

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17 Vandeventer Black LLP Attorneys Selected as 2014 Legal Elite

Vandeventer Black LLP attorneys have been selected as Virginia’s Legal Elite.  Begun in collaboration with the Virginia Bar Association in 2000, this year 1,315 Virginia lawyers nominated 3,461 of their peers in 16 legal categories.

Attorneys from the law offices of Vandeventer Black LLP include: Christopher Ambrosio (Business Law); Anne Bibeau (Labor/Employment); Nash Bilisoly (Appellate Law); Mark Brennan (Health Law); Richard Crouch (Real Estate/Land Use); William Franczek (Alternative Dispute Resolution); Geoffrey Hemphill (Taxes/Estates/Trusts/Elder Law); Neil Lowenstein (Construction); Richard Ottinger (Legislative/Regulatory/Administrative); Dustin Paul (Young Lawyer – under 40); Michael Sterling (Construction); Jane Tucker (Intellectual Property).

“Vandeventer Black is proud of our history, our heritage, and having so many of our seasoned attorneys recognized as Virginia’s Legal Elite demonstrate our success in looking forward, continuing to do great work, and not resting on our laurels,” said Michael Sterling, Managing Partner.  “Any attorney will tell you there is no substitute for preparation. Preparing in every capacity is what we’ve been doing since 1883 and this constant effort is reflected in this honor.”

Lawyers are allowed to vote for attorneys in their own firms, but they also must vote for an equal numbers of attorneys outside their firm.  “Outside” votes are scored higher than “inside” votes in arriving at a final score for any nominee. This year marks the 15th edition of the Legal Elite in Virginia Business.

EDVA Win for Two Vandeventer Black Litigators

In a recent Federal maritime case in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Norfolk-based litigators Richard Ottinger and Dustin Paul won a summary judgment defense verdict for their client. This is one of only a handful of opinions that has ever applied the qualified immunity doctrine to a negligence action under maritime law.

The suit alleged that a training instructor leading a tactical boating course for Virginia law enforcement officials was negligent in his instruction. While another student was at the vessel’s helm, the complaint alleged the operator improperly executed a maneuver causing the vessel to “catch a chine,” the vessel stopped abruptly, and threw the plaintiff against the vessel causing her a variety of injuries. The suit sought to hold the instructor liable for the accident.

While the training was sponsored by a non-profit boating association, the instructor was an employee of the State of Louisiana. He was participating in the training under directions from his superior at the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. The state was paying the instructor to lead the training, and the association was covering his lodging and food expenses.

The Court entered summary judgment in favor of the instructor on a defense of qualified immunity. Qualified immunity shields government officials from liability for discretionary actions taken as part of their official duties. The Court granted the Motion finding the instructor to be immune from suit given that he not violated a clearly established constitutional or statutory right of the plaintiff.

Richard and Dustin are part of Vandeventer Black’s Maritime and Admiralty Law Department and represent domestic and international interests in virtually all areas of marine law. The Department 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.

Vandeventer Black Litigator Receives Prestigious Peer Rating

Norfolk, VA. (July 16, 2015) – Vandeventer Black LLP’s Anne G. Bibeau has received an AV Preeminent® Peer-Review Rating(Litigation, Labor and Employment, and Insurance) from Martindale-Hubbell®, the legal profession’s most prestigious rating service.

Bibeau works from Vandeventer Black’s office in Downtown Norfolk, and is a partner in the firm’s Labor Department. Bibeau focuses her practice on Labor & Employment Law, General Litigation, and Tax Litigation. She represents clients before federal, bankruptcy, and state courts, arbitrators/mediators, and administrative agencies, including the EEOC and NLRB. She advises clients on sexual harassment, workplace investigations, the Family and Medical Leave Act, disability law, labor relations, and other labor and employment law matters.

The Martindale-Hubbell® AV Preeminent® rating is the highest possible rating for an attorney for both ethical standards and legal ability. The “AV” designation represents the pinnacle of professional excellence, and is achieved only after an attorney has been reviewed and recommended by his/her peers, including members of the bar and the judiciary.

Multinationals in Kristiansand – Mobilizing for the Future

Norway is becoming an important trading partner for the United States. (Norway is the 5th fastest growing source of FDI into the US according to the US Bureau of Economic Analysis.)  Vandeventer Black’s Katharina B. Powers recently visited Norway to meet with Norwegian and US companies. On May 21st the City of Kristiansand, Norway, in cooperation with the American Chamber of Commerce / Norway (AmCham) held a full-day symposium, “Multinationals In Kristiansand – Mobilizing for the Future”, which focused on attracting international businesses to the city.  Interesting speakers from Citigroup, BI Business School, and Merce gave presentations.  The day also included visits to three US-owned companies in Kristiansand – National Oilwell Varco, Air Products and Chemicals, Inc., and Oceaneering International, Inc. These visits are important in an effort to assist both US and Norwegian companies in pursuing business opportunities and to guide these companies in how to navigate cultural and legal challenges.

Another Vandeventer Black Victory

Anne G. Bibeau, Esq., a partner with Vandeventer Black LLP, recently won summary judgment in an insurance defense suit. The plaintiff, an incapacitated adult, had been severely injured while in the care of defendant Community Direct Services, Inc. (CDS). The plaintiff petitioned for declaratory judgment that two insurance policies issued to CDS—one by Vandeventer’s clients, certain underwriters with Lloyds of London (“Certain Underwriters”), and the other by another insurer—provided coverage for plaintiff’s injuries. Our clients Certain Underwriters had issued their policy to CDS after the plaintiff’s accident. Because CDS had failed to disclose the accident when applying for the insurance policy, Certain Underwriters rescinded the policy when it was revealed that CDS provided false information on its insurance application. We moved for summary judgment on the basis that the policy was rescinded, and that even if the policy had not been rescinded, it would not provide coverage because several policy exclusions applied. The court granted summary judgment, holding that the known claims exclusion applied because it was undisputed that prior to the policy’s inception, CDS had received written notice from plaintiff’s counsel that plaintiff was about to file suit.

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