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U.S. Department of Justice Will Not Prosecute Senator Phillip Puckett

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December 12, 2014, Abingdon, Va. – Today the United States Attorney’s Office agreed to not prosecute Senator Phillip Puckett following their investigation into events surrounding his resignation in June of 2014.

A letter released by Timothy J. Heaphy, United States Attorney for the Western District of Virginia, states “After reviewing facts gathered during the investigation, considering potentially applicable statutes, and consulting with the Public Integrity Section at the Department of Justice, we have decided not to pursue federal criminal charges for acts surrounding Senator Puckett’s resignation. We are accordingly closing our investigation of this matter.”

According to Thomas J. Bondurant, Jr. of Gentry Locke Rakes & Moore, LLP, the lead defense attorney for Senator Puckett, “It’s a shame that Senator Puckett had to go through months of what amounted to torture during this investigation, when it was clear to us from day one, based upon the facts and the law, that no crime was committed. We’re pleased with this result.”

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Gentry Locke Welcomes Two Associate Attorneys to the Firm

The Virginia law firm of Gentry Locke Rakes & Moore, LLP is pleased to announce the addition of two new attorneys to the firm, Nicole Poltash and Scott Stephenson. Nicole A. Poltash is a member of Gentry Locke’s Construction law and Commercial Litigation practice groups, where she represents general contractors, subcontractors, trade contractors, suppliers, and design professionals. Nicole is a contributing author to two blogs:Virginia Construction Law Update at www.VAConstructionLawUpdate.com, and Virginia OSHA Law News at www.VaOSHALawNews.com. Originally from Los Angeles, California, Nicole graduated magna cum laude from the University of Richmond School of Law and earned her undergraduate degree with […]

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Gentry Locke’s Josh Johnson Elected President of Federal Bar Association Roanoke Chapter, Abigail Murchison is FBA Secretary

Gentry Locke Attorneys is please to announce that Joshua C. Johnson has been appointed president of the Federal Bar Association’s (FBA) Roanoke chapter. As the premier bar association serving the federal practitioner and judiciary, the FBA monitors, advocates and keeps its member attorneys abreast of federal issues that impact the practice of federal lawyers and the courts, provides opportunities for judges and attorneys to interact professionally and promotes high standards of professional competence and ethical conduct. At Gentry Locke, Josh Johnson litigates complex commercial cases with a focus on construction and government regulatory matters. Josh is the chair of Gentry Locke’s e-discovery […]

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Nine Gentry Locke Attorneys Recognized as “2014 Legal Elite” in Virginia

Nine attorneys in the Virginia law firm of Gentry Locke Rakes & Moore have earned recognition among the 2014 Legal Elite in Virginia. Each year, Virginia Business magazine asks all in-state members of the Virginia Bar to nominate and select attorneys whom they hold in the highest regard or would recommend to others across 16 practice areas. The following Gentry Locke attorneys are among a prestigious roster chosen by their peers: J. Rudy Austin: Civil Litigation G. Franklin Flippin: Business Law Gregory J. Haley: Real Estate/Land Use Joshua C. Johnson: Construction K.  Brett Marston: Construction Monica T. Monday: Appellate Law […]

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13 Gentry Locke Attorneys Featured in “2014 Super Lawyers” US Business Edition

The Virginia law firm of Gentry Locke Rakes & Moore, LLP is pleased to announce that thirteen attorneys have earned recognition in the2014 Super Lawyers Business Edition—an annual resource that serves as the go-to guide for more than 50,000 general counsel and executives in charge of making legal hiring decisions. This publication recognizes top lawyers from firms of all sizes across the country that handle Business and Transactions; Construction, Real Estate and Environmental; Employment; Intellectual Property; and Litigation. Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters business, is a research-driven, peer-influenced rating service of outstanding lawyers who have attained a high degree of peer […]

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Victim of Surgeon’s Wrongful Cutting and Failure to Timely Treat Awarded $1M by Jury

The results of client matters depend on a variety of factors unique to each matter. Past successes do not predict or guarantee future successes.

Gentry Locke for the Plaintiff City of Martinsville Court Our client needed her gallbladder out and went to a general surgeon. A rule with respect to general surgery is that a surgeon cannot clip and cut any anatomy unless the surgeon is positive about the anatomy that he/she is clipping and cutting. There is a procedure known as the “critical view of safety” that, if used appropriately, positively identifies the anatomy that should be clipped and cut while removing a gallbladder. While the general surgeon was removing our client’s gallbladder, she was unsure of the anatomy and did not utilize […]

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Why You Should ALWAYS Utilize Passcodes

While we wait for the days of retina scanners to unlock our smartphones — á la movies like Batman (1966 version), Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982), and GoldenEye (1995) — we must wrestle with whether or not to enable our devices with the now standard thumbprint security identification. In case you missed it, Virginia Beach Circuit Court Judge Steven C. Frucci ruled that requiring a criminal defendant to provide his passcode to unlock his phone for investigators pursuant to a search warrant violates the Fifth Amendment right to be free from self-incrimination. Judge Frucci explained that giving […]

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Gentry Locke Top-Ranked in 2015 “Best Law Firms”

The Virginia law firm of Gentry Locke has received top Roanoke area rankings from “Best Lawyers 2015 Best Law Firms,” which is awarded each year by U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers. The firm received Roanoke Metropolitan Tier 1 rankings in 18 distinct practice areas, and Roanoke Metropolitan Tier 2 rankings in an additional service 8 categories. 2015 Best Law Firms Metropolitan Tier 1 Rankings for Roanoke: Antitrust Law Appellate Practice Banking Law Commercial Litigation Construction Law Corporate & Closely Held Business Law Employment Law – Individuals Employment Law – Management Financial Services Regulation Law Labor Law – Management Litigation – Construction Litigation […]

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Paxton Chairs 2015 ALFA International Client Seminar

The 2015 ALFA International Client Seminar will take place March 5-8, 2015 at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess in Scottsdale, Arizona. W. David Paxton, Chair of gentry Locke’s Lebor & Employment Law group, will chair the event. The program will attract nearly 500 attendees from around the world. Gentry Locke’s membership with ALFA International is an asset to privately held companies who are operating internationally and/or in multiple states. ALFA International is the premier network of independent law firms.  Founded in 1980, ALFA International was the first in the world and continues to be one of the largest and strongest legal networks.  […]

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Herschel V. Keller Joins Gentry Locke, Lynchburg Office to Open

The Virginia firm of Gentry Locke Attorneys, headquartered in Roanoke, is expanding its footprint and opening a law office in Lynchburg, Va. The office will be launched with Gentry Locke’s newest partner, Herschel V. Keller. “We are growing our firm and enhancing services to clients in the business communities both in Lynchburg and along the Route 29 and 460 corridors. At Gentry Locke, we travel and use technology to reach clients in many states, but sometimes it’s important to have a permanent presence where a significant segment of our clients work and live,” said Monica Monday, Gentry Locke’s Managing Partner.  […]

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Gentry Locke Attorney David Paxton Named to ALFA International Board of Directors

David Paxton, chair of the Labor and Employment practice at Gentry Locke Rakes & Moore, LLP, recently was elected to serve as a member of the ALFA International Board of Directors. Paxton also serves as the Program Chair for the 2015 ALFA International Client Seminar. This program—which will take place in March in Scottsdale, Arizona—will be attended by nearly 500 individuals from around the world. Paxton is a frequent guest speaker at national and regional employment law seminars, and has been noted as one of the Best Lawyers in America® for Labor & Employment for the past 16 years. He […]

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Gentry Locke and Three Attorneys Recognized in Benchmark Litigation Rankings

Benchmark ranks leading local firms and star attorneys in the U.S. commercial litigation and plaintiff markets. Gentry Locke is a Highly Recommended Firm for Plaintiff cases and ranks among the Recommended Firms in the state of Virginia. Gentry Locke attorneys also named 2014 Local Litigation Stars list are: J. Rudy Austin General Commercial, Insurance W. David Paxton General Commercial, Insurance, Labor and Employment S.D. Roberts Moore Labor and Employment, Personal Injury, Product Liability Also recognized as a 2014 Local Litigation Star – Plaintiff are: W. David Paxton General Commercial, Insurance, Labor and Employment S.D. Roberts Moore Labor and Employment, Personal […]

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Amicus Curiae Briefs: Friend or Foe?

From Stephen Colbert to rap music, the role of amicus curiae briefs has caught the public eye. On the first day of the 2014-15 Supreme Court term, Stephen Colbert interviewed William & Mary law Professor Alison Larsen about her research into the 800% increase in amici filings over the last fifty years. Colbert described amicus briefs as “informational documents written by third parties who are not involved in the situation, whose opinion was not sought, but still want some say in the decision.” Or, as Colbert spoofed, “the legal equivalents of grandparents.” Professor Larsen does not dismiss amicus briefs outright, […]

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Fall Employment Law Webinar Series #3: The EEOC & New Battlegrounds

Thank you for attending the final of three webinars covering important employment law updates you need to know. A PDF of the Powerpoint slide deck that partner Lindsey Coley and David Paxton presented is below. CLICK to view the slides. RIGHT-CLICK the link and choose the option to save it to your computer: Fall 2014 Webinar Series #3: The EEOC   HR Certification Institute Credit: Please Read While we know who logged in to attend the webinar, there may be people from the same company who registered but attended the webinar from a single log-in. Attendees may use this HR Certification program ID number to apply for […]

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Confessions of an Oral Argument Junkie

I admit it. I am an appellate argument junkie. This has been a long-standing problem, but when the Supreme Court of Virginia began releasing audio recordings of its oral arguments earlier this year, my habit took on new dimensions. I can now listen to hours of appellate argument without leaving the house, car, or office. This has brought new purpose to my long daily commute (I hope the legislature will not make this illegal), and I’m totally hooked. But what’s the big deal, concerned friends ask – audio recordings of Fourth Circuit arguments have been available for some time now. […]

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ALERT: Government Contractors – Important Reminders

File an EEO-1 Report by September 30, 2014 As a reminder, if your company (i) has 100 or more employees, or (ii) is a federal government contractor or first tier subcontractor with 50 or more employees and has a contract/subcontract of $50,000 or more, you are required to file the EEO-1 Report by September 30, 2014. The EEO-1 Report requires these employers to provide a count of their employees according to job category, race/ethnicity and gender.  Please note that there is a new EEO-1 Job Classification Guide this year. New Self-Identification Forms Also, government contractors are required to use new Self-Identification […]

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Fall Employment Law Webinar Series #2: The Affordable Care Act

Thank you for attending the second of three webinars covering important employment law updates you need to know. The presentation that partner Brooke Rosen presented is below. CLICK to view the presentation. RIGHT-CLICK the link and choose the option to save it to your computer: Fall 2014 Webinar Series #2: The ACA HR Certification Institute Credit: Please Read While we know who logged in to attend the webinar, there may be people from the same company who registered but attended the webinar from a single log-in. Attendees may use this HR Certification program ID number to apply for professional credit only if they […]

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Remainder needed to be charged for Fall Webinar Series

We apologize that your card was only charged $25 of the $40 discounted rate required to participate in all three webinars. Please us the “Register Online” link below to complete the payment for our Fall Webinar series. Do not use the optional Code input field in the attendee contact information area. Your card will be charged $15 when you choose the Pay Online option, and the invoice we email you will reflect your having paid in full for the $40 registration fee.Please use the same credit card you used to sign up for the webinar. We will use the original […]

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Fall Employment Law Webinar Series #1: The NLRB

Thank you for attending the first of three webinars covering important employment law updates you need to know. The presentation that Todd Leeson and John Thomas presented is below. CLICK to view the presentation. RIGHT-CLICK the link and choose the option to save it to your computer: Fall 2014 Webinar Series #1: The NLRB HR Certification Institute Credit: Please Read While we know who logged in to attend the webinar, there may be people from the same company who registered but attended the webinar from a single log-in. Attendees may use this HR Certification program ID number to apply for professional credit only […]

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Lessons from My First Experience as a Construction Dispute Mediator

For three years in law school, finishing in 1993, I think I hardly heard the word “mediation,” much less had any courses or training in it. In clerking in the US District Court in Norfolk for a year after that, I don’t recall much, if any, mediation occurring, certainly not with magistrate judges the way it is today. Within days of arriving at work at Gentry Locke in the fall of 1994, however, I can vividly remember having conversations with a colleague about John McCammon starting a “mediation business.” Not long after that, I began getting involved in representing parties […]

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Webcast: Lessons from a Construction Dispute Mediator

After representing parties on either side of more than a hundred construction disputes at mediation, Virginia attorney  K. Brett Marston had the opportunity to take on the role of mediator.  On September 18the he shared his experience, tips, and techniques for preparing for and conducting mediation in the construction law arena for attendees. no matter in which seat they find themselves and their clients.

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Twenty-One Gentry Locke Attorneys Earn Best Lawyers® Designations and One Lawyer of the Year

ROANOKE, VA – The Virginia law firm of Gentry Locke Rakes & Moore is pleased to announce have the recognition of twenty-one attorneys on the 2015 Best Lawyers in America® list, with one attorney in particular being named Roanoke Lawyer of the Year. K. Brett Marston, a Gentry Locke attorney who specializes in Construction Law, has earned Roanoke Lawyer of the Year for Construction Law  for the second time—the first being in 2013. Gentry Locke attorneys named to the 2015 Best Lawyers in America® list are: J. Rudy Austin Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants Thomas J. Bondurant, Jr. Corporate Compliance […]

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Attorney Leeson Quoted as Employer Advocate in SHRM “Ban the Box” Article

Gentry Locke employment law partner Todd Leeson was quoted in an article published by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) discussing the “ban the box” movement. The article, titled “Ban-the-Box Movement Goes Viral”, updates SHRM members across the country on cities and states that have passed laws to ban the check box on employment applications asking whether the candidate has ever been convicted of a crime. Under the section subtitled Impact on Employers, author Roy Maurer notes Leeson’s observations on the risks and dangers of employers unknowingly hiring persons who could pose a real threat to their business, employees, and […]

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Peanut Corporation of America Trial Update

Albany, Georgia – As the third week winds to a close in the trial against three individuals who were targeted for prosecution in the first-ever case of salmonella contamination to go to trial, national and international news providers are weighing in with coverage. The Guardian, a newspaper based in the United Kingdom, published an Associated Press wire report entitled Salmonella trial reveals US food safety relies on self-reporting. Much of the article focuses on the voluntary nature of food testing in the industry, which was previously noted in the opening arguments offered by Gentry Locke attorney Thomas J. Bondurant, who is representing former executive Stewart Parnell. Following are […]

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Why Falling Off a Ladder is No Longer Enough for a Workers’ Compensation Claim

A pillar of Virginia workers’ compensation law is the requirement that the claimed injury “arise out of” the claimant’s employment. The Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission and Virginia appellate courts generally interpret this to mean that there must be a “causal link” between the claimant’s job and his injury. That is, if the cause of your injury is unrelated to your job, your injury is not compensable — even if you were injured while you were doing your job. While such a scenario can be difficult for laymen to immediately apprehend, there are many cases that illustrate this principle. For instance, […]

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Virginia Employers Should “Keep the Box”

As an employment lawyer who has represented Virginia businesses for 25 years, I have a different perspective from those persons who advocate that employers stop asking applicants to check a “box” if they had a prior criminal conviction. I recommend that Virginia employers “keep the box.” To understand this issue better, there are two primary legal concepts to consider. First, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) proclaims that an employer risks a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act if it fails to hire an applicant based solely on the fact that he disclosed a prior conviction […]

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Leeson Editorial in The Roanoke Times: Virginia Employers Should “Keep the Box”

Gentry Locke Employment & Labor Law attorney Todd Leeson wrote an article on the “Ban the Box” movement, which was published in The Roanoke Times on July 30, 2014. “Ban the Box” is a movement to discontinue the use of a box to disclose a criminal conviction on applications for employment. In the article, Leeson discusses the EEOC’s initiatives and the risks to an employer of a negligent hire claim. Leeson concludes employers need to “keep the box” and advises best practices for hiring. Read the full article in the associated PDF file link to the right of this post.

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Moderator, “Proven Approaches to Resolving Common Project Challenges”; ALFA International 2014 Construction Practice Group Seminar

Attorney Brett Marston moderated an ALFA International Construction Practice Group panel session titled “Proven Approaches to Resolving Common Project Challenges: General Contractors, Subcontractors and Suppliers Collaborating Effectively for Project Success”. The panel of experienced in-house counsel and senior management for national companies explored some of the contractual challenges of projects, as well as practical ideas for achieving success.

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Closely Held Businesses: Buy-Sell Basics

Two partners set out on their own to create a business from scratch, intending to embark on an adventure and fulfill the American dream. Making a little money wouldn’t hurt either. In the midst of start-up efforts, planning for a split-up or even a management deadlock is rarely at the top of the entrepreneur’s to-do list. However, the longer it takes to address succession issues, the more difficult it may be to reach a mutually acceptable arrangement. It is therefore important for every closely held business owner to devise an “exit strategy” tailored to his or her needs. For ease […]

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Ten Recurring Themes and Techniques in Defending Breach of Contract Cases

This article, written by Gentry Locke attorneys William R. Rakes, Gregory J. Haley, and Abigail E. Murchison, was a Virginia CLE presentation to attendees of an event sponsored by the Advanced Business Litigation Institute in Charlottesville, Virginia on June 21, 2014. Due to the length of the article, it is provided in PDF format here. Introduction The topic of trying breach of contract cases from the defense perspective is huge. This outline addresses recurring themes and topics in defending these cases. The content reflects the personal experiences of the authors and the “lessons learned.” Many of the comments below may […]

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27 Gentry Locke Attorneys Named to Lists of 2014 Virginia Super Lawyers and Rising Stars

Twenty-seven Gentry Locke Rakes & Moore attorneys have earned recognition on the 2014 Virginia Super Lawyers and Rising Stars lists. Partner Brett Marston was included on the Top 100 list in Virginia, as was Managing Partner Monica Monday, who additionally was listed among Virginia’s Top 50 Women. Attorneys named to the 2014 Virginia Super Lawyers list are: J. Rudy Austin Civil Litigation and Defense Thomas J.  Bondurant, Jr. Criminal Defense & White Collar Crime Matthew W. Broughton Personal Injury General: Plaintiff G. Franklin Flippin Business Law & Corporate Transactions W. William Gust Tax Law Gregory J. Haley Business Litigation Guy M. Harbert, III […]

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When Civil Litigation Turns Uncivil

Litigation is often anything but civil. Instead of opposing counsel working together to resolve pre-trial issues and get to the merits of the case so that a jury or judge can resolve a dispute, a lawyer’s ego will often turn a case into something other than a dispute between two parties. Parties sometimes encourage this type of litigation by hiring a “tough guy” to represent them. This can lead to messy litigation, increased costs and a great deal of wasted energy and effort. Because of this, Virginia state courts are sanctioning both parties and counsel on a regular basis these […]

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When to Give Notice of an Accident or Occurrence Under Your Liability Insurance Policy

Every year, millions of Americans purchase insurance policies to protect themselves, their families, and their businesses. This insurance, whether in the form of an automobile policy, a homeowners policy, or a business policy usually has two component parts: the property coverage and the liability coverage. Perhaps encouraged by the current marketing campaigns of a number of insurance carriers today, most of us tend to focus upon the property coverage – e.g., how quickly our cars can be fixed after a “fender-bender,” or whether a stolen television will be replaced by a new one. However, the true value of these policies […]

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Scott Austin Speaks at the ABA Section of Litigation Food Supplements Annual Workshop

Gentry Locke attorney Scott Austin was a speaker at the ABA Food & Supplements conference in Wayzata, Minnesota. He and his panel dealt with the Ethical Issues Arising from Governmental Investigations and Potential Criminal Charges Under the Park Doctrine. With the increased scrutiny of food companies, potential criminal sanctions have become a reality. This panel reviewed the implications of the Park Doctrine for food and supplement companies and discuss the ethical issues that arise for counsel handling those investigations. Additional panelists included: Jerry Wilhelm U.S. Attorney’s Office, Minneapolis, MN Jan M. Conlin Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi LLP, Minneapolis, MN

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How Much Is Enough?

If you were catastrophically injured or killed in a motor vehicle accident tomorrow, how much money would it take to replace your economic value to your family? How much uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage do you have? How much would it cost to protect your family? These are questions that very few people ask themselves. However, every day, people are catastrophically injured or killed in motor vehicle accidents and all too often there is little to no insurance to cover their losses. This is a tragedy. Just as tragic is the fact that it’s completely preventable and surprisingly inexpensive to […]

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What You Need to Know About Nonsuits

In both the Virginia state courts and in federal court, plaintiffs possess the ability to voluntarily dismiss some or all of their claims in a way that does not reach the merits of action, and does not bar the refiling of the same claims later. But it can be complicated, and it can be dangerous. The “dismissing” part is easy enough; the trick comes in making sure you can “un dismiss” later. This article will give an overview of the process and identify some of the hidden dangers. Where is the Law? In Virginia, nonsuits are governed by Va. Code […]

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Client Awarded Over $387,000 for Surgical Injury

The results of client matters depend on a variety of factors unique to each matter. Past successes do not predict or guarantee future successes.

Gentry Locke for the Plaintiff. Tazewell County Circuit Court Our client underwent a hysterectomy performed by an OB/GYN in July 2008 which resulted in a vesico-vaginal fistula. This caused her to continuously leak urine. The same OB/GYN who performed the hysterectomy tried to correct the fistula surgically, but the surgery failed due to improper technique and not having the appropriate specialist assist with the surgery. Our client leaked urine constantly for the next 6 months until a urologist repaired the fistula. Our client filed suit against the OB/GYN and her professional corporation. The jury deliberated for approximately one hour before returning a verdict for our […]

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Assessing the Assessor: Practical Points for Defending a Real Estate Tax Assessment Case

This article, written by Gentry Locke Partner Gregory J. Haley and attorney Walter C. Erwin, III, was published in the Journal of Local Government Law, Vol. XXIV, No. 3 (Winter 2014), a publication of the Local Government Section of the Virginia State Bar. Real estate tax assessment cases are a fixture for local government attorneys and most localities can anticipate a significant case every few years. Many of these cases go to trial because they are difficult to settle. This article offers practical points for defending a tax assessment case. We hope this article will be helpful to LGAs for […]

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Virginia Company Prevails in Hard-Fought Labor Arbitration Case

The results of client matters depend on a variety of factors unique to each matter. Past successes do not predict or guarantee future successes.

Gentry Locke for the Company/Defendant. Federal Court in Roanoke, followed by Arbitration Team Carriers, a company based in Covington, Virginia, has prevailed in a labor arbitration case filed against it by the United Steelworkers Union (USW). The litigation began with the USW filing a Complaint in Federal Court in Roanoke. The Court issued a partial preliminary injunction that enjoined the Company from taking certain action until an arbitrator ruled on a grievance filed by the USW against the Company. After the Court announced its preliminary ruling, the USW issued a national press release accusing the Company of “failing to live […]

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David Paxton Chairs Two Well-attended CLE Events

Employment & Labor Law team leader David Paxton recently chaired the Virginia CLE’s 23rd Annual Employment Law Update programs in Richmond (May 8) and in Fairfax (May 15). This program, which drew over 180 attendees at the two locations, is one of the oldest and best attended seminars on labor and employment law in Virginia. In addition to annual survey updates of new case decisions, the topics covered by the various panels included: Trade Secrets and Lessons learned from DuPont v Kolon Industries ENDA or not The Evolving Role of Gender in the Workplace Constant Headache – Managing Sick and Injured Workers […]

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Managing Partner Monday Quoted in Virginia Bar Association Magazine

Gentry Locke Managing Partner Monica Monday was quoted in an article entitled “Business Development Through the VBA” in the Spring, 2014 issue published by The Virginia Bar Association. The article highlights the benefits attorneys find through use of the organization’s networking and professional development opportunities. Here is an excerpt of the article, which was written by Jody Taylor: A culture of collegiality also helps VBA members find the expertise they need as they prepare for cases. Monica Taylor Monday, managing partner at Gentry Locke Rakes & Moore in Roanoke, serves on the VBA’s Appellate Practice Section Council and touts the […]

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Environment Partner Charlie Williams Hired by City of Danville for Coal Ash Spill Negotiations

According to an article published on May 8th, 2014 by the Danville Register & Bee, Gentry Locke Partner Charlie Williams has been retained to serve as primary negotiator for the City of Danville following the coal ash spill that polluted the Dan River on February 2, 2014. Williams, who joined Gentry Locke in 1970, is a Senior Partner who heads the firm’s Environmental Law practice group. His work includes advising corporate and municipal clients in the areas of environmental compliance, including enforcement and environmental tort litigation. He has extensive experience in contaminated land renewal and the management of environmental aspects of mergers […]

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Gentry Locke and Wounded Warrior Regiment in the News

As a result of fundraising efforts for the Wildlife Foundation of Virginia to benefit the USMC Wounded Warrior Regiment based in Quantico, Virginia, Gentry Locke Rakes & Moore was featured in a Virginia Crossroads segment by John Carlin on WSLS Channel 10. Gentry Locke’s event, which took place on Friday, May 2, 2014 in Lexington, Virginia, raised over $7,200 to benefit wounded soldiers. 100% of the money raised will go to help provide wounded military with wheelchair-accessible hunting blinds, deer, goose, and duck hunts, and outdoor opportunities such fishing, target shooting, and hiking. A network of private land owners across Virginia, in different […]

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Ex-Navy SEAL Receives Probation for Classified Information Breach

This article, written by Michael L Owens, appeared in “The Daily Progress” newspaper following the conclusion of a case presented by Gentry Locke attorneys Thomas J. Bondurant, Jr. and Justin M. Lugar in federal court. Years of combat service and a Bronze Star saved a retired Navy SEAL from prison despite his previous guilty plea to loading classified information onto a thumb drive and sending it to a defense contractor in 2010. Bruce Schliemann, 50, of Virginia Beach, walked out of federal court Friday in Charlottesville with a sentence of three years’ unsupervised probation, a $10,000 fine and a ban […]

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“Pack the Park 2014” Helps Purchase Technology for Minnick School Students

Gentry Locke Rakes & Moore, LLP was pleased to be a sponsor of the Lutheran Family Service of Virginia’s “Pack the Park 2014” event at the Salem Red Sox stadium in Salem, Virginia. Gentry Locke’s donation helped Lutheran Family Services of Virginia purchase twenty iPads for students attending Minnick Schools. Minnick Schools serve students age 5 to 22 from 24 Virginia school districts in the Harrisonburg, Roanoke, Wytheville, and Wise regions.   >> Learn more about Minnick Schools Lutheran Family Service of Virginia is a religious-based organization that provides services for adoption and foster care, autism resources and education, developmental services, disaster response […]

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Arbitration Clause Survives Dodd-Frank Challenge

On May 5, 2014, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the Dodd-Frank Act1 does not override and render unenforceable an otherwise enforceable arbitration agreement where the plaintiff is not pursuing a Dodd-Frank whistleblower claim. In Santoro v. Accenture Federal Services, LLC, the court joined a number of other federal courts which have refused to allow Dodd-Frank to be used to make a broadside attack on the enforceability of pre-dispute arbitration agreements. This case arose out of an employment agreement, which renewed annually for eight years and contained a provision that required that arbitration be used to resolve all […]

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Chipping Away at Our Sixth Amendment Right to Counsel: Kaley v. United States

It makes sense that criminals should not be allowed to profit from their wrongdoing. But, most would agree with the time-tested presumption of innocence afforded to all those accused of a crime. Imagine the scenario where a company, and its management, are accused of committing some economic crime such as tax fraud, social security fraud, etc. Upon establishing that probable cause exists to believe a crime occurred through a grand jury indictment, federal prosecutors can freeze the assets of any of the accused immediately if the assets would be subject to forfeiture if the accused was convicted. The accused, then, […]

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Leeson Educates HR Professionals on Whistleblower and Retaliation Claims at 2014 Virginia SHRM Conference

In each of the last four years, employment retaliation claims have comprised the largest number of charges filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).  In addition, the federal government continues its proactive efforts to inform employees of their rights to file various whistleblower claims against their employers—see  www.whistleblowers.gov. At the 2014 Virginia State SHRM Conference held at The Homestead resort in late April 2014, Gentry Locke partner Todd Leeson presented two sessions entitled “Whistleblower and Retaliation Claims: Legal Risks and Strategic Solutions for Employers.”  Todd provided Virginia HR professionals with insights and recommendations to help them protect their organizations from liability. Please […]

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Gentry Locke Welcomes Attorney Jonathan D. Puvak

The Virginia law firm of Gentry Locke Rakes & Moore is pleased to welcome Jonathan D. Puvak as an Associate. Jon will practice in our General Commercial practice group where he will assist clients with real estate, land use and zoning, and business and commercial matters. Prior to law school, Jon gained real estate development and business experience by working with NVR Inc., a national homebuilder and Fortune 500 company based in northern Virginia. During his four years with NVR, Jon worked in several positions including production, project management, and sales and marketing. Before joining Gentry Locke, Jon practiced real estate and […]

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What To Do When Someone Hurts You, Your Family or Business

When someone injures you, a family member or your business, your first reactions are often purely emotional. “How could this happen to me, my family member, or my business?” The second reaction is to seek the advice of a healthcare provider or other professional who can help you “fix” the injury or problem. Rarely do people realize that they should SIMULTANEOUSLY be making sure that all evidence in their and other people’s hands is PRESERVED. Preservation of evidence is the subject of many voluminous treatises. However, it is simple. Anything that has to do with the accident or injury should […]

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The “Business Divorce”

There comes a time for most businesses when a current executive or employee decides to leave and establish a competing business. Like a divorce between husband and wife, there can be significant emotional and financial ramifications. The departing individual has likely spent years with the company developing relationships with co-workers. Such relationships are based on trust, respect, and a degree of dependency. These relationships can extend beyond the workplace and take on a personal nature. When an individual departs to compete against the former employer, those left behind may experience a sense of betrayal. There can also be a significant […]

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Chair, Virginia CLE Annual Employment Law Update – Fairfax

David Paxton recently chaired the Virginia CLE’s 23rd Annual Employment Law Update programs in Richmond (May 8) and in Fairfax (May 15).  This program, which drew over 180 attendees at the two locations, is one of the oldest and best attended seminars on labor and employment law in Virginia. In addition to annual survey update of new case decisions, the topics covered by the various panels included: Trade Secrets and Lessons learned from DuPont v Kolon Industries, ENDA or not, the Evolving Role of Gender in the Workplace, Constant Headache

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When Can You Talk to Your Own Client at Deposition?

Most litigators have encountered the situation where their client has “gone off the rails” at his or her deposition. There can be a strong pull to want to rehabilitate or reassure the client during a break or recess, or even request a break for that purpose. But is such conduct ethical? And will attorney-client communications during breaks or recesses in depositions be discoverable by opposing counsel? There is a split of authority on this issue. In one of the seminal cases, the Eastern District of Pennsylvania held that private attorney-client conferences were prohibited both during the deposition and during deposition […]

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Whistleblowers in the Workplace: The New World Order

Much has been written about the expanding role of OSHA in investigating and enforcing the whistleblower protection provisions of 22 federal safety and consumer protection laws and for good reason. In just the past two months, OSHA has issued Interim Final Rules outlining its procedures for processing whistleblower claims arising under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and the Consumer Financial Protection Act (CFPA) (collectively the “Interim Rules”).1 In all material aspects, these procedures are consistent with the Interim Final Rules previously issued to process and decide whistleblower complaints made under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and the Final Rules for […]

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Chair, Virginia CLE Annual Employment Law Update – Richmond

David Paxton recently chaired the Virginia CLE’s 23rd Annual Employment Law Update programs in Richmond (May 8) and in Fairfax (May 15).  This program, which drew over 180 attendees at the two locations, is one of the oldest and best attended seminars on labor and employment law in Virginia. In addition to annual survey update of new case decisions, the topics covered by the various panels included: Trade Secrets and Lessons learned from DuPont v Kolon Industries, ENDA or not, the Evolving Role of Gender in the Workplace, Constant Headache

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How to Get a Writ Granted and Other Tips from the Justices

The VTLA just wrapped up another terrific annual meeting at the Homestead. I learned many things during the CLE sessions, including that I would like to be Mike Imprevento when I grow up. But one of the absolute highlights of the meeting was a session called “Supreme Court Thoughts and Muses,” in which Jeffrey Breit moderated a panel made up of Justice Lemons, Justice McClanahan, and Justice Powell. One of Breit’s best questions was something along the lines of: “When we are arguing before a writ panel, how do we get the Court to want to grant our appeal?” This […]

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IP: From the Silicon Valley to the Roanoke and New River Valleys, What Every Business Owner Needs to Know

When people hear “intellectual property” they often think of complicated software source codes, top-secret formulas or sophisticated patents developed by large tech companies headquartered in the Silicon Valley. What most business owners do not realize is that every company has intellectual property (“IP”) and they do not have to be Google or Facebook to benefit from it. Smaller, closely-held companies of all kinds here in the Roanoke and New River Valleys can, and do, benefit greatly from protecting and taking advantage of their IP. Whether your business is in the market of developing software for use by professional institutions or […]

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Another Round for Contract v. Tort Claims in Virginia

Dunlap v. Cottman Transmission Systems, LLC — Another Round for Contract v. Tort Claims in Virginia Contracts. Torts. These twin pillars of U.S. jurisprudence are core curriculum at every law school. But just like they are taught separately, courts take pains to keep these theories of liability distinct from one another. The Supreme Court of Virginia is no different. A legion of cases stand for the seemingly straightforward proposition that mere breach of a contract cannot constitute a tort. The practical meaning of this principle, however, continues to be defined and refined. Four years ago, the Supreme Court applied this […]

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Homeowner’s Attempt to Void Mortgage Denied

The results of client matters depend on a variety of factors unique to each matter. Past successes do not predict or guarantee future successes.

Gentry Locke for the Defense. Appomattox Circuit Court The plaintiffs (home owners) filed a lawsuit seeking to invalidate the defendant mortgage company’s interest in their house. They argued that the lien was obtained by fraud due to a national home mortgaging online system. Represented by Gentry Locke, the defendant, a mortgage company, asked the court to dismiss the case. After briefing and oral argument, the Court dismissed the case permanently, judging that the plaintiffs had failed to state a claim, and that the plaintiffs lacked standing.

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The Politics of Overtime

On March 13, President Obama prominently “used his pen” in a ceremony in which he announced the Administration’s intent to give more Americans the chance to earn the overtime pay that “they deserve.” What the President actually did was sign a memo addressed to the new Secretary of the Department of Labor to consider how the white collar overtime exemptions can be changed in order that more people will be eligible to earn overtime. At present, to qualify for one of three “white collar” exemptions, an employee must be paid at least $455.00 a week on a “salaried” basis and […]

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Construction Law Points from the Latest Carnell Opinion

Well, it appears that the Carnell Construction case is not over yet, and it continues to create interesting construction law precedent. The Fourth Circuit is sending the case back down for trial number four! This case is starting to remind me of the famous Zubulake cases, with its several important e-discovery opinions numbered Zubulake I through V. A quick look on Google Scholar shows fifteen Carnell opinions! So, let’s take a look at the latest iteration (perhaps, we should call it Carnell XV) as it relates to construction law. Note that there are many interesting (and apparently controversial – check […]

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Consenting to Search Has Never Been Easier: The Supreme Court’s Expansion of Warrantless Searches

The Supreme Court’s Expansion of Warrantless Searches in Fernandez v. California Put yourself in the following situation: you hear a knock on the door and open to find the police requesting to search your home for a robbery suspect. Your spouse consents and you refuse. The police then arrest you and take you from the scene. Can the police search after you have been hauled away in cuffs? According to the Supreme Court (and surprisingly) the answer is now yes … so long as the police were justified in removing you from the scene and did not do so solely […]

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Using Voluntary Remediation Program (VRP) as a Real Estate Tool

Senior Partner Charlie Williams, along with a Senior City Planner from the City of Roanoke, gave a presentation at the 25th Annual Environment Virginia Symposium held in Lexington, Virginia. The title of the presentation was “Using VRP as a Real Estate Tool”. The title of the annual symposium was “Collective Impact: Working Together to Create a Positive Environmental Legacy”.

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Volunteering Information in a Deposition

In my 46 years of practice in the litigation area, I have prepared literally hundreds of witnesses, usually my clients, to be deposed. Among the myriad admonitions I give to such witnesses in preparing them for their depositions is the following: “Listen to the questions, make sure you understand the questions, and then answer only the questions that are asked; do not volunteer information.” To drive home this instruction, I frequently use the following illustration: “I meet you on the street and, being acquainted with you, ask you where you are going. You answer that you are going downtown, to […]

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Defense of Explosive Products Liability Case

The results of client matters depend on a variety of factors unique to each matter. Past successes do not predict or guarantee future successes.

Gentry Locke Rakes & Moore for the Defense. U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia, Roanoke Division This product liability case arose when the plaintiffs were injured in an industrial explosion. The plaintiffs and their employer, a hazardous materials removal company, were hired to inspect ducts for possible aluminum dust, which is combustible. Plaintiffs found dust in one duct and attempted to remove the dust using ungrounded vacuuming equipment. They claimed the explosion started in an inert external baghouse, and had two experts who opined the same. The Court excluded their expert opinions as unreliable. The summary judgment for our client was based […]

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$6.4 Million Verdict for Faulty Injection Causing Permanent Paralysis

The results of client matters depend on a variety of factors unique to each matter. Past successes do not predict or guarantee future successes.

Gentry Locke Rakes & Moore for the Plaintiff. Fredericksburg City Circuit Court Our client, a 49-year-old man, presented at a hospital to receive an epidural steroid injection to his lower back, to be performed using CT fluoroscopic guidance. Approximately sixty seconds after the injection of Kenalog, the Plaintiff began to experience paralysis. Evidence revealed that the Defendant had injected the steroid into an artery, causing a stroke in the Plaintiff’s spinal cord leading to permanent paralysis. After a four-day jury trial, the jury returned after 2.5 hours of deliberations with a $6.4 million verdict for the Plaintiff.

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E-Discovery: Important in Construction Law

E-Discovery has been a hot legal topic over last several years, and it has impacted most all areas of the law. For the non-lawyers out there, discovery is the exchange of information during litigation, and it has changed drastically because the way we (as a society) keep information has changed. Our important information used to be all on paper, but now it is primarily digital. And, so, we have e-discovery, which is more complicated than just sending the lawyer on the other side a box of documents. Now, we need to be able to understand all of the places where […]

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In Data Privacy and Security…We Trust?

The digital revolution has ushered us into the information age. On a daily basis, we entrust our personal information, from the mundane to the highly sensitive, to a variety of recipients. For the most part, this free flow of information adds to our quality of life. Check-out lines are effortless; rarely do we even have to sign. We can enroll in a yoga class, deposit a check, and pay our utility bill, all from our smart phone. This free flow of information comes with an expectation that those who receive our information will safeguard the privacy and security of the […]

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When Must You Preserve E-mails and Electronic Files?

Rule 37(e) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure advises courts not to impose sanctions on a party for failing to provide (in discovery) electronically stored information (ESI) that was lost as a result of the routine, good-faith operation of an electronic information system. This “safe harbor” provision allows companies and individuals to delete their electronic information on a routine basis, but this provision only applies when a duty to preserve the information has not been triggered. In other words, if there is a duty to preserve the ESI, then you must stop any routine deletion procedures. Consequently, if a […]

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Bring Your Own Device (BYOD): Challenges for Employers

With the explosion of new handheld mobile devices such as the iPad, many employees want to use their devices in conjunction with their work. Many employers find this attractive; it reduces IT budgets and allows workers to use platforms with which they are familiar. For this reason, many employers allow employees to “Bring their Own Device,” or BYOD. The statistics demonstrate that BYOD is a growing trend. According to a recent study by Cisco, 78% of employees use their own device in connection with their work, and 70% of organizations allow employees to use their own devices. However, despite this […]

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Finally, Some Good News For Employers?

There is no question that wage and hour claims continue to be on the rise, and that collective actions, in particular, pose a significant legal and financial risk to employers. However, a recent unanimous decision by the U.S. Supreme Court will likely reduce the number of wage and hour claims filed, particularly against unionized employers who have certain provisions in their collective bargaining agreements. It has long been debated whether employees should be paid for time spent putting on and taking off protective gear (also referred to as “donning and doffing”). The high court has now given us some clarity […]

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Employment Law Symposium – Roanoke

>> Lynchburg event on March 12, 2014 We are still finalizing our topics for the event, but registration is now open for Early Bird Discounts and for those who attend yearly. The “pay online” option will be activated January 10th, 2014. General Agenda: 7:45am-8:15am: Continental breakfast and sign-in 8:15am-8:30am: Welcome remarks 8:30am-10:15am: Sessions 10:15am-10:30am: Break 10:30am-12:00pm: Sessions Noon-1:15pm: Lunch 1:15pm–2:30pm: Sessions 2:30pm-2:45pm: Break 2:45pm-4:15pm: Sessions Per attendee rate of $175 includes parking, complimentary continental breakfast and lunch, and all materials. Register by January 31, 2014 for an Early Bird Discount rate of $125 per person! Credit: This program will be submitted for 6.0 (General) credit hours toward PHR, SPHR and GPHR […]

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What You Don’t Know CAN Hurt Your Business

This article, written by Employment Law Partner Paul Klockenbrink, was written for Gentry Locke’s Virginia OSHA Law News blog at www.VaOSHALawNews.com. If you’re in the construction industry, you’ve already heard many ways in which your business needs protection through its agreements, policies, contracts, and implementing the right OSHA policies. Like any business, you want to stay in business. In addition to what you’ve already read on this blog, labor and employment issues always loom on the horizon threatening to drain your resources from all angles. Fortunately, my colleagues and I will be spending a whole day on these topics at our upcoming […]

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What are Some Effective Defenses to Delay Claims?

As I was watching the Super Bowl last night, it occurred to me that defense matters. Just ask Peyton Manning. So, if you are a lawyer representing an owner or a general contractor who has been sued for a delay claim, then there are some ‘low-hanging fruit’ easy defenses that might apply to your case. A thorough Virginia construction lawyer should always check to see whether any of the following applies to their case: Lack of Proper Notice. The contractor or subcontractor failed to give timely notice of the delay claim as required by the contract or Virginia law. Although […]

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Reality Hits: The Temporarily Impaired can be “Disabled” under the ADA

When Congress passed amendments to the Americans with Disabilities Act in 2008 (“ADAAA”), it was reacting, in part, to a series of Supreme Court decisions. One of those decisions, Toyota Motors Manufacturing, Kentucky Inc. v. Williams (2002), adopted a strict construction of the term “disability,” and ruled that a “temporary impairment” could not qualify as a disability. Many lower courts applied Toyota Motors to mean that an impairment that did not last for more than 12 months did not qualify as a “disability.” In amending the ADA, Congress made clear it was overruling Toyota Motors and made it clear that […]

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Gentry Locke Again Wins United Way Campaign Awards

In 2013, Gentry Locke’s United Way Campaign resulted in the Firm being awarded three distinctions. The firm was the only law firm to be awarded these three awards: Campaign Achievement Award Campaigns with at least 50% employee participation and increased donation over the previous year’s campaign Platinum Award Presented to organizations with employee per capita giving of $365 or more, or a $1 per day Leadership Giving Campaign Award Recognizing outstanding individual giving Gentry Locke’s assertive and productive team of campaign leaders was headed by Co-chairs Ben Byrd and Kevin Holt. They were assisted by Librarian Charlie Nelson, staff services aces Lisa Wimmer, Betty […]

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David Paxton Selected a Fellow of the Virginia Law Foundation

The Virginia Law Foundation will induct Gentry Locke Partner W. David Paxton as a Fellow. According to Monica Monday, Managing Partner of Gentry Locke Rakes & Moore and a 2011 inductee, “This is a high professional honor. Fellows are Virginia lawyers of integrity and character who are outstanding in their profession and in their communities, and are some of the most respected lawyers in Virginia. David is very deserving of this honor and it is nice to know that he has been recognized for the qualities that we see every day.” Paxton advises and represents businesses, business owners, and executives in the areas of labor […]

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Five Steps Virginia Employers Should Take to Help Avoid Whistleblower or Retaliation Claims

This article, written by Gentry Locke Partner Todd Leeson, was published in “Virginia Human Resources Today” magazine (Winter/Spring 2004). Read the formatted PDF. Todd will also be presenting on hot topics in employment law, and on recent trends at the NLRB at Gentry Locke’s 2014 Labor & Employment Law Symposium. Employees are filing record numbers of retaliation and whistleblower claims. This short article provides some recommendations to employers to minimize their legal risks. First, here are some facts. For the fourth consecutive year, retaliation claims are the leading category of charges filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). In […]

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JUST THE FACTS: Register for our Employment Law Symposia

Registration and online payment options are now open for Gentry Locke’s annual Labor & Employment Law Symposia. Two events, one in Lynchburg and one in Roanoke, will provide important information for business owners and human resource professionals to ensure their companies utilize best practices and comply with changing state and federal laws. Register today at these links: Lynchburg Wednesday, March 12, 2014 at the Craddock Terry Hotel and Event Center Roanoke Tuesday, March 18, 2014 at the Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center The per attendee rate of $175 includes parking, complimentary continental breakfast and lunch, and all materials. Register by January 31, […]

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Gentry Locke Names Lindsey A. Coley Partner

Gentry Locke Rakes & Moore, LLP is pleased to announce the promotion of Lindsey A. Coley to Partner. Since joining the firm in 2007, her practice has focused on Labor & Employment and Trust & Estate matters.  Lindsey advises private businesses and government contractors on employment-related compliance issues, responds to complaints filed with the DOL, EEOC and OFCCP, and develops employment policies and contracts to protect the interests of the employer. She also regularly advises individuals on issues relating to estate and trust administration and estate planning. Gentry Locke Managing Partner Monica T. Monday said, “Lindsey’s performance within our employment law practice and […]

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