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Recovering Damages for Assault

It seems as though new instances of sexual harassment, or outright sexual assault, monopolize the news headlines virtually every day. The perpetrators of such conduct are not limited to individuals who inhabit back alleys and darkened shadows of the inner city; but more often include corporate CEOs, politicians, entertainment moguls and television personalities.The victims of such physical abuse can be men or women. Regardless of gender, the victims have one thing in common, namely, the fact that they often feel powerless to take any action against the buser, beyond merely reporting the crime to the police.However, Virginia law DOES offer another option. In addition to involving law enforcement to criminal prosecute the perpetrators of these assaults, a victim is also entitled to pursue a civil action against the abuser for damages caused by the conduct. Such damages can include compensation for any bodily injuries, and medical bills associated with treatment for those injuries; as well as, mental anguish and emotional distress resulting from the conduct.

"DISCOVERY" - The Bane of All Litigation!

In virtually every form of litigation, from divorce and other family law matters; to a personal injury action; to a contract dispute; or, to a claim for legal malpractice, you can always count on having to participate in the process known as "Discovery." This will most often take the form of having to answer written questions, known as "Interrogatories;" and, having to produce documents sought through a "Request for Production of Documents." These will no doubt be extremely time-consuming; invasive of your privacy; and, oftentimes, seemingly irrelevant to the true matter at issue in the litigation. The "Discovery" process can also be quite expensive in terms of attorneys fees; however, here are a few helpful hints designed to minimize the fees that you will incur in traversing the "discovery" minefield:

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."

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