Former Virginia Del. Viola Baskerville has been selected as Virginia Lawyers Media’s 2013 Influential Woman of the Year.
Baskerville was elected for the honor by her fellow members of the 2013 class of Influential Women of Virginia. The award was announced Thursday at the annual ceremony in Richmond.
Baskerville is CEO of the Girl Scouts of the Commonwealth of Virginia, but her accomplishments are numerous.
She is a former member of the Virginia House of Delegates. She was Secretary of Administration in the cabinet of former Gov. Tim Kaine. In 2005, she ran for nomination for lieutenant governor of Virginia. She was a Fulbright Scholar, a former member of the Richmond city council and a city vice-mayor.
Her signal achievement as a state legislator was the passage of a bill providing scholarships for the so-called “lost generation” of Prince Edward County’s African-American students. Those students were educationally abandoned when the county closed public schools for five years.
The Influential Women program, now in its fifth year, recognizes high-achieving women in the fields of law, health care, business, education and real estate, among others.
Tags:Awards and Honors·Influential Women of Virginia
Almost four years after the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act took effect, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently filed and settled the agency’s first lawsuit alleging discrimination under the law.
GINA prohibits discrimination based on genetic information as well as the “acquisition” of genetic information by an employer, including an employee’s family medical history.
According to the EEOC, Oklahoma-based Fabricut Inc. ran afoul of the law when the company’s medical examiner handed a questionnaire to a prospective employee as part of a post-job offer medical exam.
Rhonda Jones was a temporary memo clerk who applied for a permanent position with the company. Fabricut made Jones an offer and sent her to a medical examiner for a drug test and physical. At her appointment, Jones was given a questionnaire to complete which questioned her about the presence of a variety of disorders in her family history, including cancer, diabetes, arthritis and heart disease, as well as “mental disorders.”
After her exam, Jones was instructed to visit her personal physician for further testing to determine if she suffered from carpel tunnel syndrome (CTS).
Although Jones’ doctor cleared her, the EEOC said Fabricut rescinded its offer based on the company’s belief that she had CTS.
Interestingly, the agency’s suit began simply as an Americans with Disabilities Act claim based on Fabricut’s rescinded job offer.
But during the course of the investigation, the EEOC reviewed the questionnaire completed by Jones and determined it “reflected an unlawful inquiry for genetic information” on its face, adding one count of GINA discrimination to the suit filed in Oklahoma federal court.
“Employers need to be aware that GINA prohibits requesting family medical history,” David Lopez, EEOC general counsel, said in a press release about the case. “When illegal questions are required as part of the hiring process, the EEOC will be vigilant to ensure that no one be denied a job on a prohibited basis.”
Under the terms of the proposed consent decree, Fabricut did not admit to a violation of the ADA, GINA or any other law but agreed to pay Jones $50,000.
The company will also initiate various ADA and GINA anti-discrimination measures, including management and human resources training as well as the dissemination of company policies to employees.
Fabricut – described by the agency as one of the world’s largest distributors of decorative fabrics – also promised to stop the practice of inquiring into genetic information of applicants and their family members and will only refer applicants to post-offer health assessments in compliance with the law going forward.
Tags:EEOC·Equal Employment Opportunity Commission·Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act·GINA
The Citizens Advisory Committee for the Albemarle-Charlottesville Public Defender Office will present the 2013 Clarence Earl Gideon Award to Charlottesville Circuit Judge Edward Hogshire.
The award will be presented for the first time in 2013, in the 50th anniversary year of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the case of Gideon v. Wainwright, finding that assistance of counsel is a fundamental right essential to a fair trial and that the Sixth Amendment guarantees this right to indigent defendants.
The award recognizes a leader in the community, other than a defender, whose work acknowledges the critical role the public defense function plays in ensuring equal justice, and who personally contributes in a significant way to the enhancement of human dignity and quality of life of citizens unable to afford legal representation.
The award will be presented at a public ceremony on May 30, 2013, at 4:30 p.m. in Charlottesville Circuit Court. A reception will be held in the courtroom lobby immediately following the ceremony.
Tags:Awards and Honors·Charlottesville
Chesterfield County Deputy County Attorney Stylian “Stel” Parthemos has been honored by the Local Government Attorneys of Virginia, Inc. with the 2013 Cherin Award for Outstanding Deputy or Assistant Local Government Attorney, presented at the association’s recent spring conference in Roanoke.
Parthemos has been with the county attorney’s office since 1987; he became deputy county attorney in 2010.
Chesterfield County Attorney Jeffrey Mincks nominated Parthemos for the award, describing him as “unflaggingly loyal and completly committed.” Parthemos’s expertise includes a number of substantive legal areas, including personal injury, insurance, risk management, public utilities, employment discrimination, complex construction disputes, elections, Freedom of Information Act inquiries, and building code violations.
The Cherin Award was established in 1994 and renamed in 2000 to honor the memory of Bob Cherin, an outstanding local government attorney who served in the Fairfax County Attorney’s Office for 25 years.
Tags:Awards and Honors·Chesterfield County
Virginia lawyer and bar leader Mike Pace will become full-time general counsel for Roanoke College, the school has announced.
Pace, who spearheaded the effort to bring Rule of Law education to Virginia middle schools, will remain “of counsel” at Gentry, Locke, Rakes & Moore, the Roanoke firm where he was managing partner for 13 years.
He will join Roanoke College full time on July 1 and will work from the president’s office, the school said in a news release.
Pace is a former president of the Virginia Bar Association and the founder and president of The Center for Teaching the Rule of Law which located its offices on the Roanoke College campus last year.
Earlier this year, Pace was recognized by the VBA as the recipient of its Gerald L. Baliles Distinguished Service Award.
William & Mary’s law school has the “playbook” on pro bono help for military veterans struggling to get government benefits, says U.S. Sen. Mark Warner.
The Virginia Democrat is urging Senate colleagues to push the W&M model on law schools in their home states to provide “tangible assistance” to veterans on complex claims.
The Lewis B. Puller Jr. Veterans Benefits Clinic harnesses “the energy and skills of law students” to help veterans preparing “some of the most difficult VA benefits claims,” Warner said in a May 14 letter.
The letter follows Warner’s April 22 communication to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs suggesting the agency find ways to partner with the W&M law school to duplicate the efforts of the Puller clinic elsewhere.
There is a backlog of some 600,000 claims for benefits at the VA.
Former Virginia Attorney General Anthony F. Troy has been hired to represent Gov. Bob McDonnell in the politically flavored criminal case against a former chef in the state Executive Mansion.
McDonnell is not charged in the case, but the chef’s defense lawyers have raised allegations ranging from misuse of kitchen resources to unreported gifts from a political supporter.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch obtained a copy of a letter from Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli appointing Troy and his firm, Eckert Seamans, to serve as special counsel to the office of the governor.
Troy’s hourly rate is $250, with bills to be sent to the governor’s office, according to the letter.
Megan Frederick has been under fire since winning a close election last fall as Culpeper County commonwealth’s attorney. She was seen by some local attorneys as an outsider who displaced a long-serving local prosecutor.
She reported security breaches in her office, including a menacing note taped to a door. She began carrying a handgun on her hip.
One local lawyer accused Frederick of lying about her residency when she registered to vote in Culpeper County. A special prosecutor appointed to investigate found the charge unfounded.
In the latest dustup, a probation officer reportedly accused Frederick of getting rough with her in an incident last week in the county Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, according to The Free Lance-Star.
No charge has been filed. Frederick denied the accusation and accused the county sheriff of a pattern of harassment and obstruction in disclosing the matter.
Now, the clerk of the J&DR court has entered the fray. Clerk Bethany Tharpe McClanahan has reportedly barred Frederick from the J&DR clerk’s office. The Free Lance-Star says McClanahan reportedly sent a letter to Frederick saying her privileges in the office have been suspended, although other prosecutors were not affected.
Note: This item was changed May 15 to correct the description of the alleged elections law violation.
A Louisa woman gets another chance at a false arrest claim against a police officer who entered her home after her ex-husband requested a check on their 11-year-old daughter.
The officer arrested the woman for battery, but Virginia law allows corporal punishment and the officer could not automatically assume that any touching of the child by the mother justified the arrest for battery, the 4th Circuit U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said in a May 7 decision in Pleasants v. Town of Louisa.
Police earlier escorted the father during a visitation exchange between the parents, who were fighting over custody. During a later encounter, the father asked an officer to go with him to check on his daughter, who reportedly was screaming and crying in the background when the mother refused to allow the two to talk on the phone.
When the officer appeared at the mother’s door, she told him and her ex-husband to leave. The officer could see the daughter standing about 10 feet inside the doorway. As the mother tried to close the door, the officer entered to talk to the girl.
The mother sued in Charlottesville U.S. District Court under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, claiming unlawful entry and false arrest. Under the “peculiar procedural posture” of the case, the 4th Circuit upheld summary judgment for the officer on the unlawful entry claim, but reversed dismissal of the false arrest claim.
No clearly established law prohibited the warrantless entry, said 4th Circuit Judge Dennis W. Shedd. Without case law that defines the boundaries for an “exigency” for an emergency-aid exception to the warrant requirement, the officer had qualified immunity.
The law surrounding the false arrest claim raises other issues. The officer said he knew the mother had touched her daughter twice – a slap on the hand and a grab of the wrist.
Under Virginia law, a parent may use corporal punishment on a child, and “any touching of a child by a parent cannot automatically create probable cause for arrest,” the appellate panel said.
Even though Virginia law recognizes the “slightest touching” as a battery, some touching of a child by a parent “must be legally permissible,” Shedd wrote.
“A parent must often use de minimis force to reprimand or even protect his children, and such force cannot always lead to the possibility that a police officer can arrest the parent,” the court said in its unpublished opinion. The panel said it was not trying to define the level of force for probable cause to arrest, but simply stating that “application of de minimis force by a parent does not automatically create probable cause for arrest.”
The panel reversed dismissal of the false arrest claim and remanded for further proceedings.
Federal appeals court judges – and one former U.S. Supreme Court justice – are dining with Gov. Bob McDonnell this evening.
McDonnell is hosting a reception and dinner for the judges of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in honor of former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.
O’Connor is sitting with the 4th Circuit this week as the court hears oral arguments from Tuesday through Friday. The docket includes another Obamacare challenge, the First Amendment status of Facebook “likes,” and a Confederate flag dispute in Lexington. Which court panels will include O’Connor will not be known until the panel makeup is revealed on the morning of argument.
The cost of the judges’ dinners at the executive mansion tonight is being paid by the court and its judges, according to a McDonnell spokesperson. The dinner is in being held to honor O’Connor, as was a similar dinner when O’Connor sat with the 4th Circuit in 2009, the spokesperson said.