EDVA Tightens Reins on Punitive Damages

In an opinion released on July 14th, Judge James C. Cacheris used a motion to dismiss to carve back a plaintiff’s personal injury claim for punitive damages under Virginia state law.  In granting the motion to dismiss, the judge held that punitive damages are only available for “willful and wanton conduct,” not for negligent conduct.  … Continue reading EDVA Tightens Reins on Punitive Damages

Government Official’s “Personal” Facebook Page is a Public Forum under First Amendment

In what will likely be one of his last opinions before retiring from the Eastern District of Virginia bench, Judge James C. Cacheris authored an important decision applying traditional free speech principles to a local government official’s Facebook page.  This opinion provides important guidance regarding an official’s ability to regulate speech in the emerging digital … Continue reading Government Official’s “Personal” Facebook Page is a Public Forum under First Amendment

Timing is Critical when Asserting Trade Secrets and Business Conspiracy Claims in Virginia Courts

In a recent case, Judge James C. Cacheris of the Alexandria Division of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia issued an opinion that clarified the preemption provision of the Virginia Uniform Trade Secrets Act.  This opinion is useful guidance to commercial litigators in Virginia. In MicroStrategy Servs. Corp. v. OpenRisk, LLC, No. … Continue reading Timing is Critical when Asserting Trade Secrets and Business Conspiracy Claims in Virginia Courts

Fourth Circuit Recognizes Limited Federal Common-Law Due Process Review of Accreditation Decisions

The Fourth Circuit recently recognized that higher-education accreditation agencies have a federal common-law duty to employ fair procedures when making accreditation decisions.  In reversing the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia for its failure to show appropriate judicial deference to the accrediting agency’s denial of re-accreditation, the Fourth Circuit also emphasized the … Continue reading Fourth Circuit Recognizes Limited Federal Common-Law Due Process Review of Accreditation Decisions

Implied Covenant Does Not Add to the Terms of a Contract under Virginia Law

In a July 28th opinion, the Eastern District provided some much-needed clarity on whether an implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing alters or adds terms in a written contract.  Judge Gerald Bruce Lee held that “Virginia law does not recognize an independent cause of action” for a breach of the implied covenant and granted summary … Continue reading Implied Covenant Does Not Add to the Terms of a Contract under Virginia Law

Yelp! The Virginia Supreme Court Restricts Third-Party Discovery, Pushing Litigants to Federal Court

After a recent decision of the Virginia Supreme Court, litigators facing the choice of whether to file in state or federal court must now consider the availability of third-party discovery.  The Virginia high court has significantly reduced the effective ability for a state court to enforce a subpoena on a party with a Virginia registered … Continue reading Yelp! The Virginia Supreme Court Restricts Third-Party Discovery, Pushing Litigants to Federal Court

EDVA Provides Road Map to Enforce a Contractual Waiver of the Statute of Limitations Defense

Business attorneys frequently agonize over the statute of limitations. After a debt has gone unpaid, attorneys often seek an alternative to filing suit to provide more time to collect the debt before the running of the statute of limitations. Many attorneys demand a debtor execute a waiver of a statute of limitations defense in return … Continue reading EDVA Provides Road Map to Enforce a Contractual Waiver of the Statute of Limitations Defense

The Chief Justice and the “Big Deal” in the December 2015 Amendments to the Federal Civil Rules

Why is the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States proclaiming that the 2015 Amendments to the Federal Rules are a “Big Deal?” He is clearly telling us that the amendments should usher in significant improvements in the civil litigation process. The 2015 Amendments by themselves probably would fall well short of Chief Justice … Continue reading The Chief Justice and the “Big Deal” in the December 2015 Amendments to the Federal Civil Rules

Federal Officer Jurisdiction: Defense Contractor Successfully Removes Case under Federal Officer Jurisdiction Statute

In Stephenson v. Nassif et al., Case 1:15-cv-1409, 2015 WL 945614 (EDVa Dec. 21, 2015), Judge T.S. Ellis ruled in favor of the Defendant (a government contractor) on whether the contractor properly removed state law claims to federal court based on the Federal Officer jurisdiction in 28 USC § 1442(a)(1). The challenge for the EDVa Court … Continue reading Federal Officer Jurisdiction: Defense Contractor Successfully Removes Case under Federal Officer Jurisdiction Statute

Written—but Unsigned—Agreement Is Sufficient to Compel Arbitration

In a high-profile gender discrimination case filed in the Richmond federal court against a law firm, Judge Robert E. Payne sent the dispute to arbitration despite that the plaintiff had not signed the firm’s Shareholder Agreement that included the required arbitration clause. In Michelle Burke Craddock v. LeClairRyan, 3:16-cv-11 (E.D. Va. Apr. 12, 2016), the … Continue reading Written—but Unsigned—Agreement Is Sufficient to Compel Arbitration