The Kaplan Law Firm
Virginia Law
New Employment Law and Defamation Case
4/1/2013 12:00:08 AM

I currently represent the former senior official the Alexandria (Virginia) City Public Schools (“ACPS”) in an employment law lawsuit against ACPS.  The lawsuit alleges that my client was discriminated against based on his race and national origin and that he was fired from his job when, in compliance with the school system’s own procedures, he filed an internal complaint about this discrimination.  It is, of course, entirely illegal to fire an employee for making a good faith effort to seek the protections against discrimination which are guaranteed by law and by the Fourteenth Amended to the Constitution.  The lawsuit also alleges that ACPS’ superintendent subsequently defamed my client by making false statements about the reason for my client’s departure from ACPS.

Virginia Court of Appeals Agrees to Review Important Decision on Constitutional Rights
10/23/2012 7:10:56 PM

The Virginia Court of Appeals today granted a petition that I filed on behalf of my client, Felecia Amos, asking for a rehearing en banc of the Court’s decision in the Amos v. Commonwealth case.  The Court of Appeals’ initial ruling in the case, which was issued in August by a three judge panel of the Court before Ms. Amos hired me to represent her, upheld an Arlington County Circuit Court judge’s order sentencing Ms. Amos to ten days in jail for supposedly lying about her husband’s violations of a protective order.  The Circuit Court judge convicted and sentenced Ms. Amos for criminal contempt of court, but he denied her the most basic due process—Ms. Amos was not charged with a crime before she was convicted, she was not allowed to have an attorney and she was given no opportunity to present any evidence or even to saying anything in her defense.  In the petition that I filed I argued that this denial of Ms. Amos’ due process rights was a clear violation of the United States Constitution. 
Due Process in Virginia: Amos v. Commonwealth
8/22/2012 3:02:25 AM
Think you have the right to basic due process—such as the right to have an attorney, the right to have notice of the charges against you, the right to gather evidence in your favor and to speak in your defense—before you can be convicted of a crime?  Not in Virginia, at least according to Amos v. Commonwealth, issued earlier this month by the Virginia Court of Appeals. 
Virginia Class Actions
8/16/2012 8:49:53 PM

I am often contacted by potential clients and fellow attorneys about pursuing possible class actions in Virginia.  Most are unaware of a unique hurdle for potential Virginia class action plaintiffs: Virginia’s prohibition on class actions in state court.  Class actions are, however, permitted in Virginia’s federal courts.
Do not ignore a lawsuit!!
6/24/2012 5:48:11 PM

Many issues surrounding litigation are complicated.  But there is one straightforward, uncomplicated rule that applies to all lawsuits anywhere—if you are sued do not ignore the lawsuit!!  No matter how ridiculous the lawsuit seems or how much you do not want to pay for an attorney, you must respond to avoid a default judgment.  This rule may be obvious to many, but, it is ignored by untold numbers of individuals and small businesses every year.  Following this rule is especially important in Virginia, where it is easy to get a default judgment and especially difficult to have such a judgment set aside.
Virginia Landlords Are Not Responsible for Safety of their Tenants According to Virginia Supreme Court
6/11/2012 9:28:51 PM

A just released Virginia Supreme Court decision will further Virginia’s reputation as a landlord-friendly jurisdiction.  In the case, Steward v. Holland Family Properties, LLC, the state’s highest court upheld a lower court ruling that a landlord was not liable for severe injuries to a child of tenants who rented a single-family home.  The child had ingested lead from peeling lead paint in the home.

Virginia Supreme Court Says Default Judgment Can be Entered Against Defendant Who Knows Nothing Of Lawsuit
4/17/2012 5:09:04 PM
The message of a somewhat surprising recent Virginia Supreme Court decision, Specialty Hospitals Of Washington v. Rappahannock Goodwill Industries, Inc., is clear:  anyone sued in a Virginia court had better file a timely response to the lawsuit—whether or not they actually know that they have been sued. 
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