Litigation

Courtroom And Gavel

Appellate Practice: Original Jurisdiction Of Virginia Appellate Courts

As discussed in our recent article, the Virginia General Assembly voted to allow most criminal defendants and civil litigants to have an appeal as of right to the Court of Appeals of Virginia starting on January 1, 2022. This means that Virginia lawyers will spend more time in the Commonwealth’s appellate courts and will need to rely more on appellate specialist attorneys. Vandeventer Black is ...
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Lady Statue of Justice

Appellate Practice: Standard of Review in Virginia Appellate Courts

As discussed in our recent article, the Virginia General Assembly voted to allow most criminal defendants and civil litigants to have an appeal as of right to the Court of Appeals of Virginia starting on January 1, 2022.  This means that Virginia lawyers will spend more time in the Commonwealth’s appellate courts and will need to rely more on appellate specialist attorneys. Vandeventer Black is ...
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Bottom View of Basketball Ring

U.S. Supreme Court Rules that the NCAA’s Limits on Education-Related Benefits Violate Federal Antitrust Law

In a recent unanimous decision, the Supreme Court of the United States in NCAA v. Alston ruled that the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) limits on education-related benefits are invalid under federal antitrust law. This decision will affect compensation rules for student-athletes and is perhaps a sign of potential changes ahead in the NCAA’s student-athlete compensation model. In Alston, NCAA Division 1 football and basketball student-athletes ...
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Virginia Has Created a New Right of Appeal for Civil and Criminal Litigants

Virginia Has Created a New Right of Appeal for Civil and Criminal Litigants

Until this last legislative session, Virginia was the only state in the nation without a right of appeal from civil judgments and criminal convictions.  However, the most recent General Assembly session passed, and the Governor signed, perhaps the most consequential piece of legislation affecting the Virginia legal system in many years: the creation of a right of appeal for most litigants, civil and criminal. Historically, ...
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Rusty Old Barrel in a Grass

Resolved, yet Unclear: Supreme Court Tightens CERCLA Contribution Claim Requirements

In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court ruled that a party’s right to contribution claims under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (“CERCLA”) after entering into a settlement arises only when the settlement agreement resolves CERCLA-specific liabilities.  This decision may call into question the effect of existing settlement agreements, the viability of ongoing contribution cases, and may revive the ability of  some parties ...
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Ionian Column Capital Architectural Detail

In Split Decision, Federal Circuit Affirms Agency Exclusion of Proposals

In U.S. Government procurements, most solicitations specify that noncompliance with its terms and conditions may cause a proposal to be determined unacceptable or be deemed non-responsive and excluded from consideration.  However, in some cases, the agency may alter the terms and conditions through pre-award discussions.  In Safeguard Base Operations v. United States, the Federal Circuit considered the latitude an agency has to make such alterations ...
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Employees Using Gadgets During Business Office Meeting

11 tips to survive your freshman year as an associate

Article published by the ABA Journal on April 8, 2021 ...
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Hand Signing an Agreement

Extraordinary Times Call for Extraordinary Force Majeure Clauses

Article published in Virginia Lawyer | April 2021 | VOL. 69 | The Construction Law and Public Contracts Issue | Page 14-17 ...
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Court Hallway

In Uninteresting Result, Federal Circuit Leaves Offeror Standing Outside the Courtroom

In order to bring an action in any United States tribunal, a party must have “standing.”  “The doctrine [of standing] limits the category of litigants empowered to maintain a lawsuit in federal court to seek redress for a legal wrong.”  Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, 136 S. Ct. 1540, 1547 (2016).  To establish constitutional standing a “plaintiff must have (1) suffered an injury in fact, (2) ...
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Courtroom And Gavel

“I Demand a Jury”: No Turning Back

At the beginning of most cases filed in state court, litigants must make up their mind whether they want to exercise their right to a jury trial.  This decision requires consideration of multiple factors such as: What kind of case is it?  Are the issues complex?  Is a jury likely to find one side or another sympathetic?  What many clients do not know, and may ...
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Federal Circuit Holds CICA Stay Clock Begins at Time of Debriefing When  Disappointed Offeror does not Avail Itself of Right to Ask Additional Questions

Federal Circuit Holds CICA Stay Clock Begins at Time of Debriefing When Disappointed Offeror does not Avail Itself of Right to Ask Additional Questions

No questions, no stay. The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit recently ruled on the interplay of debriefings and automatic stays.[1]  In NIKA Technologies v. United States, the Federal Circuit reversed a Court of Federal Claims (“COFC”) decision requiring an automatic stay of contract performance pursuant to the Competition in Contract Act (“CICA”) that had been previously denied by the Government Accountability ...
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court room

Federal Circuit Adopts Narrow Definition of “Printing” to Avoid Constitutional Separation of Powers Question

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit recently reversed a bid protest decision appealed from the Court of Federal Claims after the protester raised a constitutional question.  In Veterans4You LLC v. United States, the Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”), an executive branch entity of the United State government (“USG”), sought to procure cable gun locks with information on the VA’s suicide prevention hotline ...
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court room

To Infinity and Beyond Immediate Parties: The Fourth and Ninth Circuit Split on the Enforceability of “Infinite Arbitration Clauses”

Imagine walking into an AT&T store to sign up for a service plan and buy a new cellphone. Perhaps, you are excited to finally get your hands on the latest iPhone. At the same time your new phone is placed into one hand, a pen is placed into the other. You sign the dotted line at the bottom of the consumer service agreement. How carefully ...
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government contracts

Subpoena Power of Arbitrators Over Non-Party Documents

Arbitration is a means for parties to resolve disputes in a more efficient and less costly manner than seeking recourse through the judicial system.  The Federal Arbitration Act empowers the arbitrator to subpoena non-parties and their documents to an arbitration proceeding.  However, there is disagreement among the courts regarding the arbitrator’s power to compel pre-hearing document production from non-parties.  The federal circuits have approached this ...
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Supreme Court Extends Title VII Protections to LGBTQ Workers

Supreme Court Extends Title VII Protections to LGBTQ Workers

On June 15, 2020, the United States Supreme Court officially declared that LGBTQ persons are protected from discharge or discipline because of sex under the anti-discrimination provisions of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  The Court’s landmark decision came as somewhat of a surprise considering that the Court’s current conservative majority was expected to move in the opposite direction. The Court unequivocally ...
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“Zone of Reasonableness” Test Prerequisite Addressed by the Federal Circuit

“Zone of Reasonableness” Test Prerequisite Addressed by the Federal Circuit

The so-called “zone of reasonableness” standard has been long applied by federal courts and boards of contract appeals in evaluating contract interpretation when the contract is deemed ambiguous – meaning that it is susceptible to more than one reasonable interpretation. Ambiguity does not exist merely because the parties differ in their respective interpretations of the contract; rather, the parties’ interpretation must be reasonable, with that ...
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court room

Supreme Court Of Virginia Now Requires Votes Of Two Writ Panel Members To Grant An Appeal

Recently, the Supreme Court of Virginia decided to change its practice regarding the requirements for granting a petition for appeal to create a seemingly higher threshold. A party who wishes to appeal a lower court decision to the Supreme Court of Virginia typically may not take the appeal directly before the full Supreme Court.  In fact, the majority of cases never reach the stage where ...
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Understanding Spoliation and an Attorney's Role in Preventing the Destruction of Evidence

Understanding Spoliation and an Attorney’s Role in Preventing the Destruction of Evidence

  Click image for PDF version *This article originally appeared in the Journal of Civil Litigation, Vol. 28, No. 3 (Fall 2016), a publication of the Virginia Association of Defense Attorneys. It appears here with permission. [DISPLAY_ULTIMATE_PLUS] ...
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Federal Aviation Administration Finalizes Rules For Commercial Use Of Drones

Federal Aviation Administration Finalizes Rules For Commercial Use Of Drones

[DISPLAY_ULTIMATE_PLUS] LAW TIPS Authored by Attorney Jay Rixey, jrixey@vanblacklaw.com, 757-446-8600 The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently finalized the first operational rules, to be effective on August 29, 2016, governing the routine commercial use of small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), also known as drones. The new regulations – codified at Part 107 of the Federal Aviation Regulations – are the first major step toward integrating the ...
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Virginia Supreme Court Confirms  Employee Firings on the Spot

Virginia Supreme Court Confirms Employee Firings on the Spot

Law Tips Authored by Neil S. Lowenstein In a recent opinion involving a fired realtor, the Virginia Supreme Court confirmed that at-will employees can be fired on the spot, without any prior notice to the employee. The decision was unanimous, and noted that while the firing notice “must be reasonable,” advance notice was not required because, among other things, that would be contrary to the ...
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