• Virginia Employment Commission Reversed

    Stephen M. Terpak

    July 14, 2018

    On August 18, 2017 the Fairfax County Circuit Court ruled that the Virginia Employment Commission’s decision to deny unemployment benefits based on alleged employee misconduct was arbitrary and capricious. The Court found clear due process irregularities and noted that the procedural history of the case included “manufacturing of evidentiary rules.” According to the Court, the case presented a “clear abuse of delegated discretion.” Matthew Sutter briefed and argued the case on behalf of the claimant.

  • Business Tort Immunity Defense

    Stephen M. Terpak

    July 14, 2018

    The law of business torts in Virginia like interference with a contract has changed as of July 1, 2017. This touches on Amendment 1 of the constitution, and provides that Virginian’s are immune from certain business torts under Virginia law if they are discussing “matters of public concern” with anyone. This business tort immunity defense does not apply to any statements made with actual or constructive knowledge that they are false, or with reckless disregard for whether they are false. This expands the defense to statements made to anyone, rather than just at public hearings. If a case against you is dismissed based on this defense, you can win attorneys fees. Likewise, if you file a business tort claim that is dismissed on these grounds, you may end up paying you opponents attorney’s fees. This defense also applies in defamation cases.

  • Defamation Immunity Defense

    Stephen M. Terpak

    July 14, 2018

    The law of defamation in Virginia has been changed as of July 1, 2017. This touches on Amendment 1 of the constitution, and provides that Virginian’s are immune from defamation under Virginia law if they are discussing “matters of public concern” with anyone. This defense of defamation immunity does not apply to any statements made with actual or constructive knowledge that they are false, or with reckless disregard for whether they are false. This expands the defense to statements made to anyone, rather than just those made at public hearings. If a case against you is dismissed based on this defense, you can win attorneys fees. Likewise, if you bring a defamation suit that is dismissed on these grounds, you may end up paying the attorney fees of the person you sued. This immunity defense also applies in tortious interference with contract lawsuits.

  • Virginia Suspended License Penalty Change

    Stephen M. Terpak

    July 14, 2018

    As of July 1, 2017, if your license is suspended for failing to pay fines and costs, and then suspended again based because you drove on your suspended license, the two suspensions run at the same time. You do not have to wait for one suspension to end before starting the new suspension. Under the old version of the suspended license law, the additional suspension period did not begin until the expiration of the previous suspension or revocation. Other penalties for driving on a suspended license can be severe, because it is a class one misdemeanor. In some cases jail time is mandatory. Judges in northern Virginia can be tough with people accused of driving on a suspended license. However, there are good defenses to driving on a suspended license charge, including notice, and unlawful traffic stops, including those based on profiling.

  • Company Owner Liable Unpaid Wages

    Stephen M. Terpak

    July 14, 2018

    If the company does not pay my wages, is the owner responsible? The failure to pay minimum wages or overtime wages often means that the individual owners of the company are liable. The overwhelming weight of authority is that corporate officers and/or owners are employers under the FLSA when they engage in some operational control over the corporate employer. Ruffin v. New Destination, 800 F.Supp.2d 262, 269 (D.D.C. 2011) (citations omitted; see also Lamonica v. Safe Hurricane Shutters, Inc., 711F.3d 1299, 1310 (11th Cir. 2013) (same); Perez v. Sanford-Orlando Kennel Club, Inc, 515 F.3d 1150, 1160 (11th Cir. 2008) (same); Lambert v. Ackerley, 180 F.3d 997, 1012 (9th Cir. 1999) (same); Dole v. Elliott Travel & Tours, Inc., 942 F.2d 962, 965-66 (6th Cir. 1991) (same); Donovan v. Sabine Irrigation, Co., 695 F.2d 190, 194 (5th Cir. 1983) (same); Donovan v. Agnew, 712 F.2d 1509, 1511 (1st Cir. 1983) (same); Ross v. Wolf Fire Protection, Inc., 799 F.Supp.2d 518, 525 n. 11 (D. Md. 2011) (same). This means that if your boss owns the company you work for, he or she could be individually liable for unpaid minimum or unpaid overtime wages. Your boss cannot hide behind a company to avoid paying what you are owed.

  • Personal Injury Compensation

    Stephen M. Terpak

    July 14, 2018

    Compensation for Virginia Personal Injury Claims (1) any bodily injuries sustained and their effect on health according to their degree and probable duration; (2) any physical pain [and mental anguish] suffered in the past [and any that may be reasonably expected to suffer in the future]; (3) any disfigurement or deformity and any associated humiliation or embarrassment; (4) any inconvenience caused in the past [and any that probably will be caused in the future]; (5) any medical expenses incurred in the past [and any that may be reasonably expected to occur in the future]; (6) any earnings he lost because he was unable to work at his calling; (7) any loss of earnings and lessening of earning capacity, or either, that he may reasonably be expected to sustain in the future;

  • Unpaid Wages Retaliation

    Stephen M. Terpak

    July 14, 2018

    The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) prohibits retaliation against an employee (including discharge or discrimination) by employer because the employee has filed a complaint or instituted any proceeding related to the Act generally.

  • Virginia Premises Liability

    Stephen M. Terpak

    July 14, 2018

    An “invitee” is one who visits premises lawfully at the express or implied invitation of the owner. An express invitation is made directly or indirectly by spoken or written words. An implied invitation is one made by holding open the premises to others for some particular purpose. The owner of premises has the duty to use reasonable care to have the premises in a reasonably safe condition for an invitee’s use consistent with the invitation; and to use ordinary care to warn an invitee of any unsafe condition the owner should know about, unless the unsafe condition is open and obvious.

  • Police Crash Reports

    Stephen M. Terpak

    July 14, 2018

    Police crash reports are not admissible in court to prove that the accident was the other driver’s fault. They are used as a method for the state of Virginia to collect information on crashes for accident prevention purposes. A favorable crash report can help you, because an insurance company may use it to help make a decision in your claim, and it can provide a road map for a more thorough investigation, but it cannot be used to help you if you need to go to court. The law in Virginia making crash reports inadmissible can be found here. Because a police crash report cannot help you in court in Virginia, it is important to gather evidence yourself (or hire an attorney to do so for you). An experienced investigator may photograph a scene, collect witness statements, and take measurements before an accident scene is altered. The insurance company is usually under no duty to share its investigatory material with you, and unless you have been to trial before, you may not know how to preserve the best evidence in your case. Early in the case is usually the best time to preserve important evidence in your case, aside from the police crash report.

  • Insurance Claim Process

    Stephen M. Terpak

    July 14, 2018

    Insurance Claim Process The following discussions in the insurance claim process are important and occur early in the process. Discussion One The first person you speak with at the insurance company says he or she is “just gathering information, and a claims adjuster will be assigned to your case and will contact you to settle the claim.“ This does not necessarily mean the insurance company will settle the claim or settle it fairly. The company wants information quickly to support its own positions. This initial reporting stage of the claim is very important to you and your interests may differ from the insurance company. It is good to get advice at this early stage of the process. Discussion Two An insurance company says it “will take care of the medical.” You may save money or receive more money if you use medical coverage in a certain order and along a certain time-line. It is usually better to use health insurance first for all emergency care and in network providers, then move to medical expense coverage under a liability policy, and then move on to the liability coverage. In some cases, you may be entitled to a triple recovery.

info@sutterandterpak.com · 703 256 1800 · Powered by MechThat ®