McCandlish Holton Ranked Tier 1 by U.S. News “Best Law Firms” 2020

McCandlish Holton is recognized for 11 practice areas in the 2020 edition of US News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms.” The firm received metropolitan Richmond Tier 1 ratings in Immigration, Commercial Litigation, Immigration Law, and Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants. Eight additional practice areas earned Richmond Metro ratings. See the full ratings here:  U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” 2020.

Tier 1 - Richmond Metropolitan Area

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McCandlish Holton Honored by ALFA International as 2019 Law Firm of the Year

ALFA International has recognized McCandlish Holton as its 2019 "Law Firm of the Year."

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Fee Increase For Premium Processing of Immigration Petitions

The US Department of Homeland Security will announce an increase in the Premium Processing fee for many immigration petitions from $1410 to $1440.  Premium Processing allows certain immigration filings (such as I-129 filings for H1B or other work visas; and I-140 petitions for Immigrant Workers) to be processed in 15 days instead of many months.  The proposed rule increasing the fee will be published in the federal register on October 31, and will take effect 30 days from then.  The fee increase will apply to any petitions postmarked on or after November 29, 2019. Read the Final Rule.

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Virginia Venue: Not as Easy as it Used to Be

Virginia code amendments since 2004 limit Plaintiff “venue-shopping” as they align venue options with the common sense view that a lawsuit should be filed where the underlying action occurred.

By: Jim Snyder

If you ask a non-lawyer where the common sense venue would be for bringing a lawsuit, most would tell you the court in the city or county where the action occurred. But in Virginia, there have long been other options. Historically, one focuses on the business activities of a defendant.

Plaintiff attorneys frequently file in traditionally plaintiff-friendly verdicts, regardless of the appropriateness of the forum. If the accident did not happen in the chosen forum and the defendant does not live in the chosen forum, the fall back for plaintiffs is the defendant’s alleged “substantial business activity.” By attacking, what is often, a tenuous link between a case and the forum and the lack of substantial business activity, we can transfer the case into a more conservative venue, immediately driving down the value of the claim.

Until 2004, Virginia Code §8.01-262 provided that a permissible venue in which to file suit was where the defendant regularly conducted affairs or business activity. In addition to where a defendant worked, the most obvious choice here, this led to such inquiries of a defendant as to where they shopped, went to church, visited friends, passed through on the interstate, volunteered or socialized. As a practical matter, the choice a plaintiff had available for forums in which to file suit were greatly expanded through unrelated, often inconsequential, activities.

In 2004, the Code was amended, to change “regularly conducts affairs or business activity” to “regularly conducts substantial business activity.” The signal from the General Assembly was clear – require a greater connection between the defendant and the forum where suit

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Traumatic Brain Injury: Beating Back Over-inflated Claims

By: Jim Snyder

TBIs have become the modern day whiplash. Increasingly, we see claimed head injuries and alleged traumatic brain injuries as often as classic soft tissue injuries. It used to be, when we received a rear-end case to defend, we knew the claim would involve upper back and neck sprains/strains. Now, when a case lands in our office, chances are good the plaintiff is going to make some claim of brain dysfunction as a result of the accident. Whether it is a severe collision with obvious head trauma or a parking lot bump where the plaintiff barely nods, we know TBI will likely be an issue somewhere down the road.

During a two month stretch this past summer, our team aggressively attacked and resolved four such cases (see our infographic above). Each case was grossly over-inflated and the defense needed to be aggressive. Used collectively, these three strategies dramatically

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When Arbitrators Exceed their Authority Under the FAA

By: Brennan C. Morrissett

Arbitration awards are often described as ironclad, with arbitrators’ findings generally not susceptible to challenge.  Historically, and as a matter of public policy, arbitral power is intentionally limited to only those matters the parties have specifically contracted to subject to arbitration.  This means an arbitrator has no power to rule on issues except for those expressly assigned to them by contract by the parties.  Challenges to arbitrators’ failure to observe this fundamental limitation led to several recent United States Supreme Court “exceeded authority” cases – one of four limited bases on which an arbitrator’s finding can be challenged.  These rulings give some much needed

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Statute of Limitations Tolling Statute Rewritten

 

Workers' Compensation DEFENSE DIGEST

Virginia has long held that the statute of limitations for filing an initial claim for benefits is two years from the date of accident. Va. Code §65.2-601. However, prior to July 1, 2019, §65.2-602 provided that the two year statute of limitations to file a claim was tolled when (1) an employer had notice of an accident resulting in a compensable injury and paid wages or compensation to the claimant, with or without an award, during incapacity from work or that the employer failed to file a First Report of Injury and (2) that the claimant was prejudiced by the payment of wages or compensation during incapacity from work or by the employer’s failure to file the First Report of Injury.  If a claimant proved both of these conditions, the statute of limitations was tolled for the duration of the payments or wages during the claimant’s incapacity from work or until the First Report of Injury was filed.

Effective July 1, 2019, the statute has been rewritten and there are some significant changes.

The new statute only applies to injuries occurring on or after July 1, 2019. It is not retroactive to injuries occurring before such date.

1. Most importantly, the statute of limitations is tolled if the employer paid TTD, TPD or wages during incapacity from work or furnished medical treatment more than six months after the

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Jennifer Minear Urges Virginia Businesses to Speak Up About Legal Immigration Problems

Minear calls the situation “a frustrating game right now. You have to be prepared for how to play that game. It’s totally unpredictable.”

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Virginia's UM/UIM Statute Amended to Clarify 2015 Amendment

 

The Virginia UM/UIM statute, Va. Code §38.2-2206, has yet again been amended by the legislature. SB1293 was signed into law by the Governor and became effective July 1, 2019. This bill clarifies the 2015 amendment to Virginia Code §38.2-2206, which allowed liability carriers to tender their limits and shift the duty to defend its insured to the UM/UIM carrier.

This bill solves several problems with the 2015 iteration of §38.2-2206. First, in Section K, it states that if a release explicitly indicates it is being executed pursuant to §38.2-2206, any release language inconsistent with the code section is void. This code update shouldencourage attorneys for the plaintiffs to sign a properly worded release.

Second, the amendment clarifies the nature of the relationship between the tortfeasor and the UIM carrier’s counsel. Subsection K plainly states there is no attorney-client relationship

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Audra Dickens Named Up And Coming 2019

Director Audra M. Dickens has been named as a 2019 Up and Coming Honoree by Virginia Lawyers Weekly. The “Up & Coming Lawyers” awards program, now in its fourth year, recognizes lawyers across the commonwealth who are making their mark within their first 10 years of practice, both in the legal world and in their communities. VLW identifies these honorees as the lawyers who are the leaders of the profession in the future.

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