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Can I Keep Tabs on My Spouse or Child With a GPS Tracker?

In recent years, with the proliferation of smartphones and GPS technology, it has become increasingly common for individuals to discover that a spouse has been surreptitiously tracking their comings and goings using electronic means. As usually happens, it has taken the law some time to catch up with technology and establish in what situations such tracking is not acceptable - or legal.

What is "Underinsured Motorist Coverage", and How Could it Affect Me?

If you are injured as a result of an automobile accident, and the negligent driver has no insurance, you are entitled to pursue compensation for your injuries under the "uninsured motorist" provision of your own automobile insurance policy. However, what happens if the negligent driver does carry automobile insurance coverage, but only in the minimum amount required by the Commonwealth of Virginia, namely, $25,000?

An Overview of Virginia "Non-Compete" Law Part 1: Are Non-Compete Agreements Legal in Virginia?

Over the years, I have heard various myths about employment contracts, specifically as they relate to non-competition provisions. A typical "non-compete" clause provides that the employee cannot leave the company and solicit or provide similar services to the company's customers for a specific period of time. Often, the agreement further limits the employee's ability to participate in any similar business activities within a certain geographic radius of the company's endeavors.
I am surprised by the number of people who believe non-compete agreements are illegal in Virginia. This is simply not true. Clients often confuse "right to work" with its connection to non-compete agreements. In fact, Virginia is a "right to work" state; but, this has very little relation to the legality of a non-compete agreement.
The essential meaning of "right to work" is that a worker cannot be required to join a labor union as a prerequisite to employment within a specified field. That is a far cry from meaning that non-compete agreements are illegal, or that an employee who has signed a non-compete can always ignore its provisions and has a right to work wherever he or she wants.
To the contrary, under Virginia law, non-compete agreements are disfavored, but quite legal. Whether the agreement is enforceable is a slight, but important, distinction. Whether a non-compete provision is enforceable is a question for the Courts. Each agreement, in each industry, for each employee, is examined on a case-by-case basis. The employer bears the burden of proving that the agreement: (1) is drafted to protect the employer's legitimate business interest, (2) is not unduly burdensome on the employer's ability to earn a living, and (3) does not violate public policy. In making such a determination, a Court will look to the scope and reasonableness of the agreement's geographic and durational limitations.
Regardless, the determination is hugely important for the parties involved. Businesses must protect their interests against unfair competition. Workers need to make a living without fear of restraint on the ability to practice their craft.
With such high stakes, it behooves both employers and employees alike to consult with an experienced attorney in the event a non-compete agreement may be at issue. Don't hesitate to contact an attorney at the Duff Law Firm if you or your business requires assistance in litigating your non-compete agreement.

Why Do Attorneys Decline To Accept Certain Cases?

The best and most competent attorneys are careful to pick and choose which clients they will accept for legal representation. Sometimes, they have no choice but to decline representation, such as where they are unfamiliar with the area of law involved, or where they have ethical conflicts involving other interested parties. In many other instances, however, it is up to their discretion whether they will provide legal services to a potential client. 

Hiring An Attorney? - Get It In Writing!

The Virginia State Bar "strongly recommends" that attorneys always have written fee agreements with their clients, which describe the scope of the legal services to be performed, and the financial arrangements for payment of the attorney's fees. However, this is merely a suggestion, and not an absolute requirement; therefore, attorneys are far too quickly hired by clients through nothing more than a phone call or a handshake. While there is certainly nothing improper or unethical about this practice, the prudent client should always demand that the terms for employment of an attorney be clearly set forth in a written document. Here are a few reasons why this is important: 

Demand A Written Fee Agreement With Your Attorney

Under existing Virginia law, attorneys are not required to have written fee agreements with their clients. Notwithstanding the fact that the Virginia State Bar strongly recommends that all attorneys have such written fee agreements with clients, many attorney-client relationships are still being established "on a handshake."

How To Use Your Med-Pay Coverage

If your automobile insurance policy contains "Medical Payments" coverage, then you are definitely one of the "smart ones." This type of coverage is optional, and is frequently not included when you tell your agent that you want "full coverage" for your car. It is also relatively inexpensive, and should unquestionably be purchased by you.

I think that I lost my court case because my attorney made a mistake. Do I have any recourse?

You may. When you hire an attorney to represent you, it is implied that the attorney will competently represent you, and will exhibit the skill, care, and dispatch equal to the standard of care that the law imposes upon him. Your attorney need not be perfect, but there is still a minimum level of competence and diligence that he or she must exhibit in representing your interests. If your attorney fails do that, and you sustain financial losses as a result, then you may have a claim for legal malpractice.

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Duff Kronfeld & Marquardt P.C.
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Fair Oaks Commerce Center
Fairfax, VA 22030

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