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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Virginia's March Toward Adopting the Federal Spoliation Rules

From The Journal of Civil Litigation, Published Quarterly by the Virginia Association of Defense Attorneys, VOL. XXXI, NO. 1, Spring 2019. It appears here with permission.

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Impairment Ratings Related to Total Joint Replacement in Workers' Compensation Claims

By: Amanda Tapscott Belliveau

The Court of Appeals recently addressed the issue of impairment ratings as they relate to total joint replacements in Loudoun Co. v. Richardson, Record No. 1533-18-4 (April 16, 2019). The claimant sustained an injury to his hip, and the treating physician assigned a 74% loss of use rating to his left leg based upon his impairment prior to undergoing a hip replacement.  The Court of Appeals rejected the employer’s argument that the appropriate measure of loss is the claimant’s impairment after his hip replacement, as the implanted prosthetic enabled him to achieve maximum medical improvement.  The Court of Appeals found that the loss of use is measured by a claimant’s impairment at the time of the necessary implantation of the corrective device.  The Court of Appeals found that nothing in

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"Act of God" and Compensability in Virginia

By: Eva C. Roffis and Joseph T. McNally, Jr.

With the spring season here and the summer months approaching, many employers may find an increase in work tasks to be performed outdoors. As a result of increased productivity outdoors, employees will be exposed to varying weather conditions and forces of nature in the form of wind, rain, lightning, hail, etc. However, accidents and injuries caused by weather conditions must be tied to an actual risk of employment in order to be found compensable.

"Act of God" and the Actual Risk Test

In Virginia, the “actual risk” test requires that the employment task expose the employee to the particular danger that instigated his or her injury. Under the actual risk test, evidence of an injury while at work from a force of nature, standing alone,

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Material Misrepresentation on an Employment Application as a Defense to Workers' Compensation Claims

A Resource to Utilize in Workers' Comp Defense

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Using Social Media Evidence to Defend Workers' Compensation Claims

By: Eva C. Roffis

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Beat the Heat: Defending and Preventing Heat Exposure Claims

By: Emily C. Whitaker 

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Navigating the Two Causes Rule

By: Lauren E. Hutcheson, Esq

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An Approach for U.S. Companies to the GDPR

By. Michael H. Gladstone, Esq. 

Once GDPR applicability is determined, a host of significant responsibilities apply to US Controllers and Processors of EU subject personal data. The duties extend to the data subject, the EU and its supervising authority, and between Controllers and Processors. Significant adjustments may be required on both the security and informational side of Controller and Processor technology to comply with the notice and subject response obligations imposed on Controllers and Processors. The security by design concepts of the regulation will expose many gaps in current processing capacity. GDPR compliance management will become an administrative function in covered businesses whether or not they operate at a level requiring data processing assessments or designation of a DPO. Companies that resist compliance risk not just enforcement but loss of business relationships with customers obliged to comply.

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