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Fairfax County

Mar 15, 2021

Who pays? A tutorial on fee-shifting in divorce cases

While outlining a five-factor framework for domestic relations fee shifting, a Fairfax County judge nonetheless decided this month that the factors weighed against any fee award in a high-profile divorce case. Judge David A. Oblon found a gap in legal authority to guide trial courts in the routine but important responsibility of awarding attorneys’ fees, […]

Feb 22, 2021

Senator sanctioned as counsel in franchise suit

State Sen. Chap Petersen and his litigation client together have been sanctioned for filing what a judge termed a “speculative” lawsuit over business losses by a franchisee. Retired Circuit Judge Joseph J. Ellis – sitting in Fairfax County – ordered Petersen and his client to pay more than $54,000 in attorneys’ fees to the other […]

Scales of justice in courtroom
Jan 4, 2021

Fighting a ‘perception of injustice’: Fairfax judge to remove courtroom portraits for trial

A Fairfax County judge says he will not force a Black defendant to go on trial in a courtroom lined with portraits of white judges. Circuit Judge David Bernhard granted a motion to remove courtroom portraits that “overwhelmingly” depict white jurists for the Jan. 4 trial of Terrance Shipp on charges of eluding police. The […]

Dec 14, 2020

Condition of tractor-trailer at issue in crash killing mom, unborn child — $1,680,000 settlement

Type of action: Truck crash Injuries alleged: Wrongful death of mother and fetus, injuries to minor children Court: Fairfax County, Warren County Name of judge or mediator: Hon. (retired) Johanna Fitzpatrick Date resolved: 11/07/2020 Special damages: Injuries to the four children totaled less than $100,000 Demand: $2,300,000 Verdict or settlement: Settlement Amount: $1,680,000 Attorney(s) for [&he[...]

Nov 16, 2020

New faces — Northern Virginia sees more diversity on bench, bar leadership

Advocates of diversity in the bench and bar say they’re pleased with recent advances in Northern Virginia, but questions remain about whether the progress is sustainable. Observers also see work to be done in making other bar groups more representative. For lawyers in Northern Virginia, signs of change are readily apparent. The current presidents of […]

Oct 12, 2020

Do it again: Second depo allowed for witness who changed many answers

After the plaintiff in a medical malpractice wrongful death action submitted 72 changes to her deposition answers, a Virginia circuit judge allowed the defendants a second deposition to inquire about the changes. The Fairfax County case raised an issue occasionally confronted by federal judges, but rarely addressed in state trial courts. Judge David A. Oblon […]

Sep 28, 2020

Fairfax cruelty prosecutions questioned

A Fairfax lawyer is questioning a promise by Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano to continue prosecuting animal cruelty cases. On Aug. 19, WDVM-TV reported that the Fairfax commonwealth’s attorney’s office was no longer prosecuting animal misdemeanor charges and was cutting the use of prosecutors for other cases, as well. Descano said the changes, which went into […]

May 6, 2019

A Virginia tradition

FAIRFAX — A Fairfax County legal tradition continued this month as lawyers, judges and court staffers turned a parking lot in the shadow of the county jail into a festive, old-timey picnic. Live music, raffle prizes, a color guard and a speech by “Thomas Jefferson” highlighted the 19th annual May 1 Law Day “Weiner Roast.” […]

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