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State Attorneys General Practice

Tuesday, April 9th, 2024

State Attorneys General (AGs) have the unique authority to investigate nearly any subject, in any industry, at any time. State AGs play a rapidly increasing role in the daily operations of companies and organizations, as their active enforcement of expanding regulations and state laws requires industry to be diligent about compliance to avoid costly investigations, lawsuits, and financial penalties. Businesses need skilled legal counsel with extensive experience litigating and negotiating with state AGs. Especially in burgeoning areas of consumer protection where AGs wield broad authority, like data privacy and cybersecurity, even organizations that are scrupulous about compliance may find themselves in the crosshairs of the AGs office.

Gentry Locke’s team counsels clients on all state AG matters. We help companies dissect the AG’s intentions, analyze their interests in the subject matter, and help you understand how these interests inform their enforcement and policy priorities. Our attorneys have defended clients in some of the most high-profile enforcement actions in the country, including massive multidistrict litigation brought by multistate coalitions of AGs. Gentry Locke actively engages in dialogue with the AG’s office and aggressively advocates on our clients’ behalf.

This practice often dovetails with several of Gentry Locke’s other award-winning practices, such as our Criminal & Government Investigations (CGI) practice, our Government Affairs practice, and our Gentry Locke Consulting team.

We closely follow all state AG activity, particularly in Virginia, and frequently share insights on state regulatory and enforcement issues through our news section, articles, events, etc. on Gentry Locke’s library page.

Representative Matters:

  • Defended international pharmaceutical company facing multistate litigation and individual suits brought by coalition of state AGs related to healthcare fraud under the Virginia Consumer Protection Act (VCPA).
  • Defended small business owner in procurement fraud investigation and whistleblower litigation under the Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act (VFATA).
  • Represented client from indictment through jury trial for novel prosecution of the Endangered Species Act and Animal Welfare Act by state AG, securing the pretrial dismissal of several counts, striking of several counts midtrial, and a jury acquittal on several additional counts.
  • Represented client from indictment through jury trial in prosecution of the Virginia State & Local Conflicts of Interest Act.
  • Represented a key member of management of a major professional sports franchise during federal and state AG regulatory and criminal investigations.
  • Advised multiple clients on data privacy compliance, including compliance with the Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act (VCDPA), California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA), and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
  • Negotiated resolutions for client ticket resales businesses for complaints under VCPA.

 

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Heavy Duty Towing and Recovery

Thursday, January 25th, 2024

Heavy Duty Towing and Recovery involves the safe and quick clearance of large casualties and sometimes hazardous materials left behind after a heavy vehicle accident.

Heavy Duty Recovery Operators act essentially as first responders in order to clean up Virginia’s roadways in order to keep motorists safe and allow commerce to flow freely. For example, these individuals assist with the safe and expedited clearing of:

  • Large Trucks
  • Hot Shots and Car Haulers
  • Tractor-Trailers
  • Large and Heavy Equipment
  • Buses
  • Airplanes
  • Construction Materials
  • Hazardous Waste
  • Liquids
  • And all manner of cargo from frozen chicken to tomatoes to rolls of paper.

Gentry Locke’s Heavy Duty Recovery team is handled by attorneys who know this industry inside and out. Alicha Grubb has even completed the T.R.I.P. I and II required training. These attorneys provide comprehensive representation and counseling on a broad range of commercial matters to assist Operators with the following:

  • Collecting invoices from the owner, lessee, and insurance company involved
  • Pursuing MCS-90 payments
  • Negotiating and drafting regulations and laws that affect the towing and recovery industry in partnership with our Government and Regulatory Affairs team
  • Advising on Virginia’s lien process

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Real Estate Litigation

Monday, February 22nd, 2021

We litigate and try cases involving a variety of real estate contracts and property rights.  These matters have involved both commercial and residential real estate.  We have experience litigating and trying cases involving breaches of contract, specific performance of real estate contracts, recorded easements, lease interests and title-related matters.  We have recovered damages for contract breaches, obtained specific performance orders and been granted injunctions to protect our clients’ property rights and interests.

Specific matters have included:

  • Residential real estate contracts:  contingencies involving financing, home inspections, repair obligations, obligations to close.
  • Commercial real estate contracts and leases:  commercial lease renewal and termination issues;  shopping center leases, including rights of anchor tenants.
  • Cell tower leases:  denial of access by landowners to cell towers resulting in injunctions in favor of cellular service providers.
  • Easements:  scope and location of easements, including recorded easements and easements of necessity for landlocked property.

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Internal Investigations

Tuesday, February 9th, 2021

Corporations are being scrutinized today as never before and are under increasing pressure to self-report corporate wrongdoing. When a company becomes aware of potential misconduct, a thorough and efficient investigation of the alleged wrongdoing can be the difference between coming under the criminal microscope and successfully addressing and navigating the issue. Our team recognizes the sensitive nature of these matters and can advise you whether the situation needs to be disclosed to the authorities and at what point in time that needs to be done. You can rely on our extensive experience to guide you through the entire process.  When conducting investigations, we often advise companies on corporate governance issues and compliance programs. Our attorneys have the ability to call on other Gentry Locke attorneys with regulatory experience in virtually every substantive area of law and to coordinate with seasoned investigators and consultants, many of whom have had distinguished careers with federal law enforcement agencies.

We offer our clients the following services:

  • Conduct internal investigations for corporations facing investigations in highly regulated areas, such as healthcare, COVID/pandemic response, government contracting, securitiesantitrust, financial, retail and manufacturing, construction, and environmental and natural resources
  • Advise and represent businesses and individuals called to provide testimony in criminal investigations, including responses to subpoenas, grand jury testimony, and discussions with prosecutors
  • Coordinate electronic discovery and electronic document retention and production

Increased regulatory oversight is a reality for corporations and individuals in nearly every business sector of the economy.

The need to ensure compliance with these regulations on both industrial and governmental levels has never been more crucial. Professionals in industries such as insurance, healthcare, government contracting, natural resources, banking, securities, and financial industries routinely turn to our firm for guidance, particularly when charged with or suspected of a violation of criminal, regulatory, or tax laws.

Tom Bondurant, Jennifer DeGraw, and Erin Harrigan have tried several hundred criminal jury and bench trials between them, and have conducted thousands of investigations. With a former Chief of the Criminal Division of the Western District of Virginia U.S. Attorney’s Office and former state and federal prosecutors on our team, we are uniquely positioned to address any concerns faced by our clients.  Our attorneys work closely with our clients at all stages of representation to ensure that no avenue of action is left unexplored.

The best victory involves persuading the government not to file charges against our clients, because litigation is increasingly expensive. When litigation is warranted, we have the resources and dedication to mount a vigorous defense on nearly any subject matter. Our attorneys are also experienced in negotiating favorable settlements or, when in the best interests of the entity and officers, assisting in the decision of whether or not to accept a plea bargain.

We dedicate ourselves to our clients at every stage of these matters:

  • Investigations and regulatory enforcement under the False Claims Act, marketing and advertising regulations, pharmaceutical regulations, healthcare fraud, bribery and kickbacks, Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act violations (foodborne illness), securities enforcement, government contracting, public corruption, racketeering (RICO), tax violations, Arms Control Act & Espionage Act, national security matters, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and financial fraud and money laundering
  • Corporate internal investigations into suspected or known violations of state or federal laws and regulations
  • Corporate and individual defense in grand jury investigations and criminal prosecutions, as well as related civil parallel proceedings
  • Representation and defense of inquiries or charges at local, state, and federal level, including responses to subpoenas, grand jury investigations, and appearances associated with congressional investigations
  • Corporate compliance and proactive identification of issues for key executives and governing Boards designed to help avoid violations of law, including appropriate action needed in response to new legislation
  • Filing and representation in qui tam actions, many in conjunction with federal and state governments and regulatory agencies
  • Identification and implementation of corrective actions to minimize legal risk and exposure, including self-reporting to regulatory agencies
  • Representation of individuals charged with criminal violations in federal and state court
  • Retain and control records for production in response to grand jury subpoenas, agency requests, and litigation demands
We encourage you to review the personal pages of the attorneys in our Internal Investigations Group for additional information and then contact us to discuss your  legal needs.

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Transportation

Sunday, February 7th, 2021

We’ll Keep You Moving

Transportation companies spend too much time navigating legal obstacles. Those obstacles are a persistent distraction; they keep planes in hangars, trucks in yards, boats in harbors, and trains in stations. That is where we come in.

At Gentry Locke, we work diligently to keep transportation companies moving forward. And we have assembled a team to do just that. Our Transportation group includes regulatory, transactional, and litigation attorneys who navigate legal roadblocks so our clients can focus on moving our economy forward.

Whether you transport by road, rail, sea, or air, our multi-disciplined attorneys can help.

Getting Down the Road – Trucking. We work with interstate and intrastate motor carriers, owner-operators, and self-insured transportation companies to keep the wheels of commerce turning. Our attorneys represent transportation companies in rapid response, casualty litigation, commercial contracts, contract disputes, workers’ compensation, employment law, insurance coverage, and general business matters. Our team includes an attorney with a Commercial Drivers License.

Staying On Track – Rail. We blend extensive knowledge of the industry with legal acumen to work with railroads of all sizes to keep the steel wheels rolling. Our team members have worked in the business, including as chief legal officer of a Class I railroad. Our practice extends to regulatory issues at the Surface Transportation Board, questions of federal preemption, transactional matters such as contracts, mergers and acquisitions, legislative matters, and litigation.

Flying Forward – Aviation. We regularly assist aviation clients with transactional, regulatory, investigation and litigation matters associated with their operations. Members of our team have extensive experience in high profile aircraft accident investigations and litigation, aircraft financing and leasing, aviation regulation, and policy and business aviation issues. We don’t just talk law, our team includes a pilot with real knowledge of the industry.

In short, we provide comprehensive representation and counseling on a broad range of commercial matters to help transportation companies, including with the following:

 

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Solar & Renewable Energy

Sunday, February 7th, 2021

Gentry Locke’s renewable energy practice combines industry-leading experience, diverse professional relationships, innovative communication and policy strategy, and comprehensive knowledge of the Commonwealth’s growing renewables industry.

Our team specializes in every aspect of renewable resource development and operations. We assist clients in navigating policy, advocacy, and regulatory hurdles, as well as local permitting, construction, and transactional matters. With our comprehensive approach, Gentry Locke helps clients quickly adapt to an ever-changing environment.

Gentry Locke’s renewable energy team has successfully permitted more than 120 solar and battery storage projects across the Commonwealth and has experience working on renewable energy issues in more than 65 localities in the state of Virginia.

Our team has considerable energy regulatory experience before the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC). We have navigated clients through the complex energy regulatory framework and have achieved favorable results in Integrated Resource Plan, Renewable Portfolio Standard and Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity regulatory proceedings.

We represent clients from all segments of the solar industry; from shared and distributed generation to utility-scale solar. We help clients adhere to the legal and regulatory frameworks necessary for projects of varying magnitudes. Gentry Locke helps organizations redefine the solar energy market. In addition to solar, battery energy storage systems are becoming increasingly more prevalent in Virginia. We help navigate the entire processes for our clients from site selection to operation.

Gentry Locke’s Government Affairs team has also successfully passed several dozen bills relating to renewable energy, covering all aspects of the industry from siting and permitting, ratemaking, taxation, transportation electrification, shared solar and distributed generation, offshore wind, battery storage, transmission modernization, and was instrumental in the negotiation and passage of the Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA).

Areas of Focus:

  • Real Estate: Options to lease or purchase; all things site acquisition including easements; covenants; site selection diligence; title review; closings.
  • Land Use: Local permitting and approvals of small to utility scale projects; Siting Agreements.
  • Tax: Local, state and federal tax structures; renewable energy credits and incentives.
  • Project Acquisition: Local, state, and federal permitting due diligence; land acquisition due diligence; Membership Interest Purchase Agreements (MIPAs); Project financing due diligence and opinion letters.
  • Transactions: Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs); financing due diligence and analysis.
  • Regulatory: Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN); Permit-by-Rule (PBR); Integrated Resource Plan (IRP); Renewable Portfolio Standard; Rate Cases; Shared Solar Licensure.
  • Environmental: Permitting, enforcement, and compliance; environmental related matters associated with renewable energy development (e.g., erosion and sediment control and brownfields).
  • Development and Operations: Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs); Roof-top Solar Leases; Interconnection requirements; Timber Agreements.
  • Community Engagement: Local Government Advocacy; paid and earned media; marketing collateral including informational materials, letters to constituents, and website development; community meetings and public forums; Community Benefits Agreements; Grassroots Campaigns; Crisis Communications; Brand Development, Awareness & Support.
  • Local & State Government Advocacy: Strategy & Policy Development; Policy Research; Legislative, Executive, and Local government Lobbying; Market Research & Opinion Polling.
  • Litigation to Protect Private Property Rights: Our Solar and Renewable Team includes litigators who are experienced in land use and real property litigation in all levels in the Virginia Courts, starting with the Circuit Courts throughout Virginia, the Virginia court of Appeals and the Virginia Supreme Court. Gentry Locke also routinely handles federal court litigation although most real property litigation is fought in Virgnia’s state courts.

Solar Map with 65+ Jurisdictions

Gentry Locke Consulting Solar Related Items:

Working closely with Gentry Locke Attorneys, Gentry Locke Consulting leverages extensive personal and professional relationships with the state and local elected officials to achieve the policy goals of our clients. Gentry Locke Consulting seeks to meet renewable energy objectives and bring innovation to localities across the Commonwealth. Our level of personalized services and ability to engage key players is unmatched by any firm.

As the only consulting firm that has two former state legislators from both sides of the political aisle, a former local government official, statewide leaders in law, two former cabinet members, and senior legislative and political staffers, our in-house consulting team of energetic communications and policy professionals is unrivaled.

Our consulting team regularly handles:

  • Strategy & Policy Development​​
  • Legislative, Executive, and Local Government Lobbying​​
  • Community Engagement​​
  • Strategic Planning Support​​
  • Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Planning​​
  • Market Research & Opinion Polling​​
  • Public Relations​​
  • Grassroots Campaigns​​
  • Crisis Communications​​
  • Brand Development, Awareness & Support

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Bankruptcy/Creditors’ Rights

Sunday, February 7th, 2021

Gentry Locke’s bankruptcy lawyers put creativity and energy to work for the lenders and financial institutions we serve. Our bankruptcy lawyers are litigators; we go to court. We represent banks, commercial and asset-based lenders, unsecured creditors, official committees, landlords, asset purchasers and others in bankruptcy matters. We routinely help clients in work-outs and business reorganizations.

Some of the matters for which we provide assistance are:

  • Representation of institutional lenders
  • Cash collateral-use litigation
  • Negotiation of debtor-in-possession financing
  • Lien priority and avoidance litigation
  • Defense of voidable preference actions
  • Claims litigation
  • Dischargeability litigation
  • Automatic stay litigation
  • Chapter 11 business reorganizations and liquidations
  • Negotiation and litigation of complex bankruptcy tax law issues
  • Litigation of executory contract and unexpired lease issues
  • Advice on problem loans
  • Out-of-court work outs
  • Fraudulent transfer litigation
  • Bankruptcy appeals
  • Representation of “stalking horse” interests in Chapter 11 cases
  • Section 363 sales
  • Litigation of ERISA issues
  • Environmental issues

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Data Privacy & Cybersecurity

Sunday, February 7th, 2021

Gentry Locke’s Cybersecurity team provides a broad range of services to companies seeking help with privacy, data/information security, and cybersecurity issues. We assist businesses in putting policies and procedures into place to protect sensitive information and to ensure compliance with governmental regulations regarding data security particular to each industry, and determining appropriate responses to breaches of data or other corporate security violations.

No business that handles customer, client, or patient information is completely immune from these attacks. However, with Gentry Locke’s team of advisors, they can be proactive, prepared, and appropriately responsive.

Areas of Focus:

  • Management of and responding to data breaches
  • Advising on reporting obligations regarding data breaches
  • Planning ahead for incident response strategies
  • Assisting in compliance with regulatory requirements at the federal and state levels (such as regulations governing the handling of certain sensitive information – financial privacy, health information privacy, etc.)
  • Drafting policies/procedures to meet a company’s individual data security needs
  • Advising on online privacy policies and issues
  • Responding to governmental investigations
  • Advising on cybersecurity issues involving transactions/contracts with other parties such as business partners, vendors, clients
  • Development of privacy and cybersecurity training for employees, vendors, etc.

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Employee Benefits

Sunday, February 7th, 2021

Gentry Locke is experienced at designing, negotiating, drafting, implementing and administering executive compensation arrangements and employee benefit plans. The services we provide include:

  • Design and drafting of employee benefit plans of all types, including
  • 401(k) plans employee stock ownership plans, and defined contribution pension plans
  • Fiduciary obligations under ERISA, including application of the plan asset rules and prohibited transaction provisions
  • Employee benefit issues in corporate mergers and acquisitions and in corporate and real estate investments
  • Compliance with laws and regulations, including COBRA and HIPAA, applicable to group health plans
  • Internal Revenue Service audits and self-correction programs

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College & University

Sunday, February 7th, 2021

Gentry Locke has decades of experience representing private colleges and universities, public and private schools, and other related entities and individuals.

Our broad spectrum of practice areas and issues include Title IX and sexual misconduct, employment, employee benefits, student conduct, privacy, safety and security, intellectual property, construction, zoning, tax, environmental, Section 504/ADA, immigration, and insurance defense.

Examples of the types of services we have provided include the following:

  • Advised private college on compliance with Title IX and related sexual misconduct laws, including drafting policies and overseeing investigations of student sexual misconduct complaints.
  • Represented a private college’s interests following an on-campus gas leak that resulted in fatalities.
  • Handled intellectual property and trademark matters for a private college with unique issues relating to its logo and mascot.
  • Regularly counsel private colleges as to employment, student conduct, Section 504, FERPA and campus safety matters.
  • Successfully represented local private college on EEOC and wrongful termination claims resulting from the termination of a long-term department chair.
  • Successfully represented a university in Virginia in a lawsuit by a former department director who raised numerous claims, including discrimination on the basis of race and gender, violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Family Medical Leave Act, and a number of other state and federal laws.
  • Obtained dismissal of lawsuit filed in the Western District of Virginia in which a student challenged discipline imposed on him under the college’s student conduct code.
  • In the course of our representation, our lawyers have developed excellent professional and personal relationships with college presidents, cabinet members, trustees, general counsels, deans, as well as business partners who work with these persons or entities.

Gentry Locke is approved insurance counsel in Virginia for several of the nation’s leading insurance carriers who write coverage for colleges and universities.  We also have a partner who is a member of the National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA).

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