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Gentry Locke adds Two Associates

Brooke C. Rosen has joined the Firm as an associate. Ms. Rosen will work with the Business Law Practice Group of the firm handling a variety of transactional matters. Ms. Rosen earned her Juris Doctor cum laude from the Columbus School of Law at Catholic University, in Washington, D.C. in 2006. Prior to law school, Ms. Rosen worked for two years with Shrum, Devine & Donilon, a political and media consulting firm in Washington, D.C. She received her undergraduate degree from Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College in Nashville, Tennessee in 2001. Ms. Rosen is admitted to practice law in Virginia, and […]

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Partner Monica Monday receives statewide honor as “Leader in the Law”

Monica Taylor Monday, a Virginia attorney and Partner with the Roanoke, Virginia law firm of Gentry Locke Rakes & Moore LLP, has been recognized as a “Leader in the Law” for 2006 by Virginia Lawyers Weekly. Monday is one of only 15 Virginia lawyers to be honored at the inaugural awards ceremony on Nov. 30 in Richmond. According to Virginia Lawyers Weekly, the “Leaders in the Law” awards are given annually to Virginia lawyers who “are changing practice, advancing the law, improving the justice system and setting the standard for other lawyers.” Monday is a member of The Ted Dalton American […]

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New EEO-1 Report Approved

The EEOC’s revised EEO-1 report has been approved by the Office of Management and Budget, and becomes effective September 30, 2007. The EEO-1 is an anonymous report the EEOC uses to track the number of women and minorities in certain broad occupational categories. All private employers with 100 or more employees, as well as some federal contractors with 50 or more employees, are required to file an EEO-1 report annually. Employers will be expected to use the new form for the report due September 30, 2007. Until that time, employers are to use the previous EEO-1 form. The new EEO-1 […]

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English Only Spoken Here: National Cause for Politicians, but Litigation Landmine for Employers

The debates over immigration and border security have renewed focus on “English-only” policies. Across the country, efforts to formally make English the “national language” of the United States are gaining momentum. Earlier this year, the Senate overwhelmingly voted in favor of designating English the “national language” (63-34) to “promote national unity.” More recently, a town just outside of Dallas, Texas made national headlines for unanimously approving tough, local anti-immigration measures, including a provision naming English the town’s official language. Now, some companies are jumping on this bandwagon. Geno’s Steaks, a landmark cheese steak restaurant in Philadelphia, recently made national news […]

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Application of U.S. Employment Laws to Workers Employed Abroad

In today’s global economy, more and more companies employ workers in foreign countries – either non-U.S. citizens, or U.S. citizens employed abroad. These types of employment relationships present unique challenges for employers, including language and cultural differences that can be, or develop into, cultural barriers. Such cultural barriers have the potential to corrupt an employment relationship and lead to litigation. For this reason, it is essential that companies that employ workers abroad understand how U.S. employment laws apply to their foreign or “extraterritorial” employees. This article briefly examines the application of the major federal employment laws – the Fair Labor […]

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Gentry Locke clients win Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce Awards

The Roanoke, Virginia law firm of Gentry Locke Rakes & Moore congratulates Blue Ridge Medical Imaging Services and Integrity Windows and Doors for being honored with awards at the Chamber’s recent Small Business Awards Dinner. Blue Ridge Medical Imaging was named 2006 Small Business of the Year and also won in the Business to Business Services category. Integrity Windows and Doors won in the Manufacturing category. “This year

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Gentry Locke Takes the Lead in Electronic Discovery

New, sweeping rules governing Electronic Discovery will take effect on December 1st, 2006. These changes have profound implications for human resource and employment law dynamics. The Virginia attorneys of the Labor & Employment practice group at Gentry Locke Rakes & Moore have been actively attaining and providing training on this area of law. On October 6th, Gentry Locke hosted a CLE presentation to attorneys with the firm, as well as select outside referring counsel, to further understanding of the new laws affecting electronic communication. On October 12th, Todd Leeson and Paul Klockenbrink performed a CLE presentation for the benefit of the […]

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Permanent Total Disability Claims: Ripeness Issues

The Commission has addressed the issue of whether a claimant may file for permanent total disability benefits while he/she is still on an open award for temporary total disability benefits. The case law suggests that this procedure is not favored. “As a matter of practice, the Commission does wait until nearer the expiration of the 500 weeks before converting a temporary-total award to a permanent-total award since by that time, there is frequently no question as to whether the claimant is permanently and totally incapacitated.” Long v. DBR Const., Inc., VWC File No. 164-30-05 (decided July 6, 2000). Further, “an […]

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Retaliation: Western District of Virginia Decides First Retaliation Case Decision after Burlington Northern

In Burlington Northern v. White, 126 S.Ct. 2405 (June 22, 2006), the United States Supreme Court decided an important case that set forth a new test as to how courts would need to analyze Title VII retaliation claims. A recent decision by Chief Judge Jones of the Western District of Virginia gives us some helpful insight as to how retaliation cases may be analyzed after Burlington Northern. In Martin v. Merck & Co., 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 60830 (W.D. Va. Aug. 28, 2006), the Court granted summary judgment to Merck in a case involving allegations of race harassment, discrimination and […]

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Title VII Retaliation Claims After the Supreme Court Decision in Burlington Northern

On October 6, 2006, Mr. Paxton and Mr. Leeson presented on the above topic at the Virginia Bar Association’s Section on Labor and Employment Law’s 36th Annual Conference. This paper is a shortened version of the 23-page written paper that accompanied the presentation. Readers of this article who would like additional information on this topic should contact Mr. Paxton or Mr. Leeson. In June the United States Supreme Court decided an important Title VII retaliation case, Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railroad Co. v. White, 126 S. Ct. 2405 (June 22, 2006). The initial reaction was that this decision would […]

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Tips for Effective Cross-Examination

Organize. Do not necessarily follow the order of opposing counsel’s direct examination of the witness. Use principals of primacy and recency. What the jury hears first and last are most memorable. Utilize the Two Types of Cross-Examination, as Appropriate. There are two types of cross-examination, constructive and destructive. With constructive cross-examination, the lawyer seeks to get helpful testimony from the witness. Such testimony can corroborate the testimony of one of your witnesses or impeach another witness, either or both of which may be helpful to your case. The format, “Mr. Jones, can we agree that…?” is often useful in framing […]

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The Import of McGuinn

On November 17, 1987, National Linen Service v. McGuinn was decided by the Virginia Court of Appeals. Since that time, many questions have arisen concerning what constitutes a de facto award, when is the de facto award applicable, and what defenses, if any, survive an entry of a de facto award. In McGuinn, the claimant sustained an injury to his ankle in August 1983. Although the claimant had not filed a claim for benefits and no memorandum of agreement had been forwarded to the claimant, the carrier paid temporary total disability benefits from November 22, 1983 through December 17, 1984. […]

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FIVE EASY PIECES: Take Control of Punitive Damage Awards in Employment Litigation

A recent federal case re-emphasizes the importance of management training to avoid punitive damages in employment litigation. An Alexandria jury had awarded each plaintiff $600,000 in compensatory damages and $2 million in punitive damages on claims of racial harassment. White v. BFI Waste Services, LLC, 2006 U.S. App. LEXIS 12749 (4th Cir. May 23, 2006). But the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals held that, while the management training did not insulate the employer from all liability, the adoption and implementation of a comprehensive policy to address the issue did shield it from exposure to punitive damages. The company argued that […]

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Gentry Locke Adds Experienced Transactional Attorney

David N. Cohan has joined the Roanoke, Virginia law firm of Gentry Locke Rakes & Moore as an Associate, and will work with the Firm’s Business and Real Estate practice groups. Mr. Cohan will be bringing fifteen years of experience with both practical business and legal transactional skills to Gentry Locke’s growing land use and real estate development practice. Mr. Cohan is admitted to practice in Virginia. He earned his Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia School of Law and received his undergraduate degree from Rutgers University.  

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Gentry Locke Adds New Commercial Litigator

James J. (“Jay”) O’Keeffe has joined Gentry Locke Rakes & Moore, LLP in Roanoke, Virginia as an associate and will practice with the Firm’s commercial litigation group. Since completing law school and before joining the Firm, Mr. O’Keeffe had worked for Skadden, Arps in the Corporate and Litigation practice groups of its Washington, D.C. office. Mr. O’Keeffe is currently admitted to practice in Virginia and the District of Columbia. He earned his Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School in 2002, cum laude, and his undergraduate degree from the College of William & Mary in 1999, magna cum laude.

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ERISA Wake-Up Call: Self-Funded Plans Must Act to Protect Subrogation Rights

A recent U. S. Supreme Court decision has potentially far-reaching implications for self-funded health plans sponsored by many employers. Employers and their insurance companies will need to utilize effective monitoring systems to stay aware of health and medical-related lawsuits filed by plan participants if they hope to recover costs advanced. With the escalating cost of health care, employers unaware of this decision may find it difficult to exercise the subrogation or recoupment rights built into most company’s plans. In Sereboff v. Mid-Atlantic Medical Services, Inc. (“MAMSI”), decided May 15, 2006, the U.S. Supreme Court held that a health plan can […]

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Company Response to EEOC Charge

Our company has received Notice from the EEOC that a former employee has filed a discrimination charge. What do we need to know about the process? The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) is the federal agency that investigates charges of workplace discrimination, harassment, or retaliation under several federal employment laws such as Title VII, the ADA or the ADEA. When a person files a formal charge, the EEOC provides written “Notice” to the company and usually requests a response. Here is some information regarding the process. It may be helpful to know that persons file almost 80,000 charges a year […]

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Over 200 Employers Attended Gentry Locke Rakes & Moore’s Labor & Employment Symposium!

The Roanoke, Virginia law firm of Gentry Locke Rakes & Moore completed another very successful annual labor & Employment Symposium. Here are just a few of the comments we received. “I always find your seminars very informative. Thank you for your hard work for providing this program.”  HR Manager, Financial Institution with 65 employees. “I enjoyed this very much! It was my first seminar. The faculty was very passionate and involved in the topics.”  HR Manager, Wood Products Industry with 300 employees. “Survivor HR was fun and so informative! Great interaction.”  HR Director, Office Administrative Services with 40 employees.

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ERISA Issues Affecting Employers

ERISA is the Federal law governing employer-sponsored benefit plans, including health, life, pension and disability plans, established for employees. These plans can be self-funded or insured. Typically, employers engage a third party to administer the plan, such as an insurance company responsible for deciding whether to pay the benefits under the policy. Can a Plan Create Subrogation Rights? The answer is a resounding “maybe.” In 2002, the U. S. Supreme Court held that an employer’s health plan could not bring an ERISA claim against an employee for reimbursement of medical costs when the participant had recovered those same expenses from […]

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Celebrating Young Heroes!

Wally Amos, Creator of Famous Amos Cookies, Headlined 2006 Young Heroes Banquet Eight Area Students Honored for Overcoming Barriers, Achieving Success Wally Amos, creator of Famous Amos Gourmet Cookies, was the keynote speaker for the 2006 Young Heroes Award Banquet held Wednesday, May 10, at the Hotel Roanoke. The Roanoke, Virginia law firm of Gentry Locke Rakes & Moore was pleased to be a sponsor. The banquet honors area students in grades six through twelve who have overcome adversity, excelled in public service, or inspired others through their leadership, unselfish action, and strength of character. The 2006 winners are Kelly Berry, […]

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Mario Industries Awarded $1.528 Million Judgment Against Renaissance, Inc.

ROANOKE, Va. (March 20, 2006) – A total of $1.528 million in compensatory damages has been awarded to Mario Industries of Roanoke, in a lawsuit accusing Renaissance, Inc. of Roanoke and its executives Troy Cook of Vinton and Joe Cassell of Roanoke, of conspiracy, theft of trade secrets, interference with business expectancy, and two other counts. The jury also awarded $56,700 against Cook for punitive damages in his business dealings with Mario Industries, a family-owned contract lighting manufacturer and distributor that moved its headquarters to Roanoke in 1988. The Honorable Charles Dorsey presided over the trial in Roanoke Circuit Court, […]

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Are Noncompetition Agreements Worth the Paper They Are Written On?

Yes, but one size does not fit all. Recent Virginia Supreme Court decisions demonstrate the importance of properly tailoring an agreement to address the specific interests of the company and the activities of the employee. While the duration and geographic scope of the noncompetition agreement remain critically important, companies must now pay particular attention to the type of activity that they seek to prohibit their employee from performing. The activities which the employee is prohibited from performing should be limited to: (1) the same or similar type of work performed by the employee for the company and (2) activities that […]

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Role of the Business Community in Economic Development

Economic Development is the implementation of a very well-defined plan by a community, region or state to attract new businesses and help existing ones grow. Success depends on an awareness of the importance of growth, and sincere cooperation among regional governments, the business community and the general public. For Western Virginia, it may be the difference between being competitive and being left behind. The business of economic development should not be reserved only to our local governments. It is the responsibility of the business leaders in the Roanoke and New River Valleys and the Alleghany Highlands to assume a major […]

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Why Appropriate Land Use Planning Matters

Land is a finite resource. Planning for its use may determine the future of a community, and will likely be the difference between smart growth and haphazard or no growth. Understanding the concepts, terminology and process used in setting land use policy is the key to successful zoning decisions. What is a comprehensive plan? A comprehensive plan is a document containing the general principles and goals intended to guide land use decisions. Virginia law requires local governments to update their comprehensive plans every five years. A municipality will often invite its citizens to participate in this process. The result should […]

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New Communications Technologies Spawn Legal Issues

Communications technology changes almost daily. Often, both statutory and case law lag behind the new technology. In this dynamic environment, there is necessarily unpredictability that makes us all uncomfortable. As lawyers it is our role to bring some predictability that the business world demands. Here are several questions growing out of our reliance on this rapidly evolving technology. As an employer, may I monitor use of company computers by my employees? Congress enacted the Electronic Communications Privacy Act in 2003 when employee use of e-mail was not as wide spread. The ECPA is potentially broad enough to encompass electronic communication […]

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Land Renewal in Virginia: Is It Safer Today?

Over the last five to ten years, the remediation and redevelopment of contaminated property, commonly called “brownfields,” has become more prevalent, in part due to both federal and state legislation which makes remediation of contaminated property easier, and provides additional liability protections for those undertaking cleanups. A “brownfield” is generally defined as “real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant.” A state voluntary cleanup program, and new liability protections under federal and Virginia Brownfields Acts, are two of the major drivers of land […]

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Accountants to Veterinarians: Professional Liability a Concern

Accountants to Veterinarians: Professional Liability a Concern Issues arising from professional liability should be of great interest to professionals in today’s business environment. The general public has become increasingly aware of its legal and contractual rights and seemingly believe that a legal action may, and should, be initiated from any factual scenario that leads to an unexpected outcome. As lawyers, we are faced with these issues on a day-to-day basis – both from a preventative standpoint and in a representative capacity. What is a professional? Professionals are generally defined as those with specialized knowledge in a profession with labor and […]

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