Jennifer Minear Named 100 People to Meet in 2020

Virginia Business released its inaugural list of 100 People to Meet in 2020

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Climbing Fall Not in the Course Of the Employment


In Morres v. Earth Treks Crystal City Climb, the claimant worked at a recreational climbing gym.  The employer required employees to clock in before their shifts and prohibited employees from performing personal climbs while on the clock.  Before clocking in for her shift, the claimant did a warm-up climb, which she said was in preparation for performing rope maintenance.  She climbed with another co-worker, who was not scheduled to work that day.  During her warm-up climb, she took a practice fall.  She was injured in the fall.

The Deputy Commissioner found that the claimant was engaged in personal, recreational rock-climbing and was not in the course of her employment when the injury occurred.  On Review, the full Commission agreed, stating “…we do not find whatever ephemeral benefit the employer might receive from the claimant sharpening her climbing skills sufficient to bring

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Defense Attorney Coaches Manchester High School Debate Team

Jonathan Gonzalez (top left) was once in their shoes. Since his career on his high school's debate team, Jonathan has continued his involvement and support for high school debaters through college, law school, and now during his legal career in civil litigation. Yesterday, Jonathan shared his knowledge and support by coaching the Manchester High School Debate Team in Chesterfield County. Later this month, Jonathan will travel to Philadelphia to coach 5 debate teams from Washington D.C. competing in a tournament.

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Telehealth Treatment Did Not Affect Weight Given to Doctor's Opinion


On January 6, 2020, the Commission briefly addressed the issue of telemedicine in the treating physician relationship.  In Carter v. Mondelez International, the claimant was injured in a motor vehicle accident and was treating with a psychologist for PTSD

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Limousine Driver’s Accident Did Not “Arise Out Of” the Employment


In Sorour v. Avalon Transportation, the claimant, a limousine driver, was injured in a single vehicle accident. At his supervisor’s request, the claimant was driving to the company’s office.  As he exited the highway he hit the guardrail on the exit ramp at a low speed, causing his injuries.

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2019 Study of Virginia Workers' Compensation System Complete

JLARC Recommends 25 Changes - What you must know about JLARC's Report

The Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (“JLARC”) conducted a review of the Virginia workers’ compensation system with a special focus on the use of disease presumptions. The JLARC report was released on December 16, 2019 and included 25 recommended changes. This article includes the following:

  • What JLARC's Research Included
  • Summary of JLARC's Findings
  • Highlights from JLARC's 25 Recommendations
  • Important Links to the Actual Report and Recommendations

For this study, JLARC staff conducted research that included:

  • Structured interviews of workers’ compensation attorneys (claimant and defense); leadership and staff of state agencies; representatives of local and state organizations representing police, firefighters, and emergency medical services personnel; and insurers;

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23 McCandlish Holton  Attorneys Named 2019 Virginia 'Legal Elite'

McCandlish Holton is pleased to announce that twenty-three of our attorneys are named  2019 'Legal Elite' by Virginia Business magazine. Each year Virginia Business asks attorneys throughout the Commonwealth to nominate their peers for distinction in 20 categories.

The full list of 23 McCandlish Holton attorneys on this year’s Legal Elite list, recognized in 13 categories: 


Karissa T. Kaseorg

Michael R. Ward


Michael H. Gladstone

Joseph M. Moore

Brennan C. Morrissett


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Highlights from the 2019 Virginia Workers' Compensation Educational Conference

1.      Employer’s Applications for Hearing

The Commission closely examines these items to determine if the Application is technically correct:

a.    Claimant’s address

b.    Grounds for the Application

c.     Relief requested

d.    Compensation rate

e.    Date compensation was paid through

f.     Presence of supporting documentation

g.    Application signed

h.    Application dated

i.      Whether the claimant and the attorney, if represented, were sent a copy of the Application.


2.      Unauthorized Practice of Law

The Commission provided these tips for adjusters about the unauthorized practice of law:

a.    An adjuster cannot appear at an evidentiary hearing to advocate for an insurer or

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No Obvious Sudden Mechanical or Structural Change


In a November 19, 2019 Review, the Full Commission held in Bayne v. Horizon Behavioral Health that the claimant did not establish a mechanical change as a result of her accident, and therefore, did not establish a compensable injury. 

The claimant, a clinical mental health examiner, alleged an injury to her low back as a result of an eight-year old child charging into her ten to fifteen times, causing her back to strike a horizontal door handle.  The claimant had a history of four lumbar surgeries prior to this incident.  The claimant testified that she felt a sharp increase in pain as a result of this incident.  In affirming the Deputy Commissioner’s denial, the Full Commission cited Dr. Vanichkachorn, who treated the claimant before and after the alleged work accident.  The doctor opined that there was no evidence of any structural or mechanical change in comparing diagnostic studies taken before versus after the incident.  He opined

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Resolving Conflicts Between Emotional Support Animals in the Workplace and the Americans with Disabilities Act

The New Elephant in the Room

By: Mike Ward and Jonathan Gonzalez

The recent public discourse (and comedy) surrounding odd uses of animals for emotional support including squirrels and alligators, makes it easy to lose sight of the fact that many people suffering from diagnosed emotional or mental disabilities rely daily on animals of all types for emotional support.  Registrations of emotional support animals have risen exponentially over the past decade, which has resulted in a need for many, including employers, to confront those who claim to need animals for support.  Employers in Virginia may have legal justification for excluding disruptive animals from the workplace, but they should be aware of the potential compliance pitfalls under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) before making quick decisions about animals brought by employees. 

Employee’s Use of Emotional Support Animals and Compliance with the ADA

Under the ADA, it is unlawful to discriminate against a person in employment on the basis of the employee’s actual, documented, or perceived disability.  This bar on disability discrimination extends to hiring, firing, promotion, pay, harassment, and other significant employment decisions.  While the ADA’s main purpose is to protect the rights of the disabled in the workplace, the law is conscious of the needs of employers to maintain safe and effective workplaces.  The ADA requires an employer to make reasonable accommodations for an

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