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    The Greater Williamsburg area is an exciting place to live and work, especially because of the large number of entrepreneurs who have built businesses from the ground up. These entrepreneurs have taken their passion and made it their profession. Many of us want to take that step. Before you begin, you need to think of the type of business entity you want to form. Our attorneys have extensive business experience, from small one-person companies to publicly traded major corporations. Our attorneys are among the leaders in Virginia in the representation of Common Interest Communities. These communities are generally referred to as "homeowners associations," or "HOAs," and "condominium associations." In the greater Williamsburg area alone, we provide legal assistance to nearly 100 associations. Our attorneys have successfully prosecuted and defended a wide array of civil disputes involving community association covenant enforcement, commercial transactions, construction disputes, contracts, real estate matters, boundary line and easement disputes, employment matters, antitrust litigation, copyright violations, administrative proceedings, and estate issues. Real Estate law encompasses a wide variety of matters, and our attorneys have vast experience to assist you. Whether you need assistance with a commercial or residential closing, or you have questions relating to residential or commercial leasing, we provide experienced advice and counsel to our clients. Zoning law can be a complicated maze of statutes and ordinances. We have ample experience in successful applications for rezoning, variance, and special use permit requests. Finally, commercial and residential construction provide special challenges with respect to financing issues and the construction process. We serve as counsel to various financial institutions.

Can your business enforce an employee noncompete agreement?

May 26, 2023 on 5:10 pm | In Business Planning, Merger & Acquisition, Neal J. Robinson | Comments Off on Can your business enforce an employee noncompete agreement?

The analysis of the enforceability of noncompete agreements begins with the question “How did the covenant not to compete arise?”  Employee covenants not to compete generally arise in one of two ways:  1) solely as a result of employment; and 2) arising as ancillary to another agreement, such as an agreement to purchase the prospective employee’s business.

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Arbitration instead of Court? Be careful what you ask for

May 26, 2023 on 4:49 am | In Business Planning, Common Interest Community, John Tarley, Real Estate Strategies, State & Federal Litigation | Comments Off on Arbitration instead of Court? Be careful what you ask for

Over the past 15 years or so, “arbitration” provisions have appeared with increasing frequency in a wide variety of contracts. For example, declarations of covenants and restrictions recorded for homeowners associations, construction contracts, employment contracts, and commercial leases all may contain arbitration clauses. Arbitration may be a good idea, but you should know what “arbitration” means before you agree to be bound by such a provision.

Many people confuse the terms “mediation” and “arbitration.” Mediation refers to a process whereby a third-party helps facilitate a negotiated settlement between two or more parties. A mediator does not make decisions, does not take evidence, and does not conduct hearings. Parties simply negotiate and the mediator helps foster those negotiations.

Conversely, arbitrations are conducted like regular trials, with a judge-like arbitrator (or arbitrators) making a final decision based upon the evidence presented, and hopefully the law of your jurisdiction. Appeals of an arbitrator’s decision are virtually nonexistent.

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What does it mean to be on the Board of Directors of your HOA? Fiduciary Duties (Part 1 of a series)

May 26, 2023 on 4:49 am | In Business Planning, Common Interest Community, HOA, Merger & Acquisition, Real Estate Strategies, Susan B. Tarley | Comments Off on What does it mean to be on the Board of Directors of your HOA? Fiduciary Duties (Part 1 of a series)

Board members are told that they have fiduciary duties to the community association, but what does that really mean?  Fiduciary duties arise because the members of the association entrust a board member to act in the best interest of the association when handling the association’s business.

There are three components that are important to understand fiduciary duty.  First, the Virginia Code, at § 13.1-870, imposes on directors a requirement that a director exercise her duties in good faith and in the best interest of the association.  This requirement is the so-called “business judgment” rule. Second, Virginia case law imposes duty of care that requires a board member to act as a reasonable person would under similar circumstances.  Third, Virginia case law imposes a duty of loyalty that requires a board member to put the association before any personal interest.  These last two duties are referred to as “common law” duties. Continue reading “What does it mean to be on the Board of Directors of your HOA? Fiduciary Duties (Part 1 of a series)”

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How to Run An Effective HOA Board Meeting

May 26, 2023 on 4:49 am | In Business Planning, Common Interest Community, HOA, HOA litigation, Unit Owners Association | Comments Off on How to Run An Effective HOA Board Meeting

Have you ever asked yourself after an Association board meeting “what went wrong?” The flow of the meeting was off, the meeting went on way too long and the atmosphere was unwelcoming for the owners who came to observe. With some careful preparation and attention to some simple tips, you can leave your next board meeting with the feeling that everything was right on track.  Although we go into much greater detail when we hold our annual Board training seminars for our clients, this blog post provides some helpful tips to run your next board meeting.

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Immigration and Employers – Remember your I-9 Forms

May 26, 2023 on 4:49 am | In Business Planning, Common Interest Community, John Tarley, Merger & Acquisition | Comments Off on Immigration and Employers – Remember your I-9 Forms

There are many issues for entrepreneurs starting and operating their small businesses. In that light, immigration is not just a national issue involving major companies. Small businesses must be aware of government requirements, too.

Since 1986, the Immigration and Nationality Act has required employers to to verify that its employees are able to accept employment in the United States. Consequently, the I-9 form was developed. Every employee must complete an I-9 form at the time of hire. Employers are required to ensure the form is completed within three days of hire. Furthermore, even if the company engages contractors, the company could be liable if it knows the contractor employs unauthorized workers. Obviously, criminal penalties await those who fraudulently fill out the I-9 form, but civil penalties also can be levied against companies who fail to keep proper records, even if the employee is legally authorized to work in the United States.

As always, ask your attorney to make sure that your company’s legal issues are covered so that you can focus your energy on growing your business.

Tarley Robinson, PLC, Attorneys and Counsellors at Law

Williamsburg, Virginia

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Real Estate Listing Agreements are Contracts – Do you know your rights and obligations?

May 26, 2023 on 4:49 am | In Business Planning, General Interest, John Tarley, Real Estate Litigation, Real Estate Strategies | Comments Off on Real Estate Listing Agreements are Contracts – Do you know your rights and obligations?

No sooner had we posted our blog article on the enforceability of listing agreements even when they are not in writing, another recent case came to our attention. This case is from the New Kent County Circuit Court. This case is another example of the increasing acrimony between sellers and brokers in a tight real estate market.

House For Sale

Listing Agreements

 

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Virginia’s Noncompete Statute

May 26, 2023 on 4:49 am | In Business Law, Business Planning, Employment law, General Interest, John Tarley | Comments Off on Virginia’s Noncompete Statute

Virginia became one of the latest states to pass legislation limiting the use of employee noncompete agreements. Beginning July 1, 2020, certain noncompete agreements are prohibited by statute. This blog post examines that statute and what it means for employers and employees.

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Small Business Break-Ups – The High Cost of Litigating a Forced Separation

May 26, 2023 on 4:49 am | In Business Planning, John Tarley, State & Federal Litigation | Comments Off on Small Business Break-Ups – The High Cost of Litigating a Forced Separation

A recent Virginia Supreme Court Case, Cattano v. Bragg, illustrates two points we have made time and time again: 1) Make sure your small business is prepared for an eventual “divorce” between the shareholders; and 2) Litigation is very, very expensive.

In this blog post we will review the Supreme Court’s decision and provide some tips for your small business so that you can avoid the calamity that occurred in this case, which included an attorneys’ fee award of over $260,000 for the prevailing party.

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HOAs and Transition from Developer Control – 101

May 26, 2023 on 4:49 am | In Business Law, Business Planning, Common Interest Community, HOA, HOA litigation, John Tarley, Susan B. Tarley, Unit Owners Association | Comments Off on HOAs and Transition from Developer Control – 101

Owners in most community associations—both homeowner associations and condominium associations—eventually reach the point where the developer transfers control of the Board of Directors to the owners. This blog post provides an introduction to the transition process and what owners can expect.

Susan Tarley

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Does your Business use Employee Noncompete Agreements?

May 26, 2023 on 4:49 am | In Business Planning, Merger & Acquisition, Neal J. Robinson, State & Federal Litigation | Comments Off on Does your Business use Employee Noncompete Agreements?

The legal issues related to employee “non-competes” (also known as covenants not to compete or non-competition agreements) are often not well understood by employees subject to them, the companies insisting upon them, or the companies intending to hire persons subject to them.  That may well be especially true in the Commonwealth of Virginia where one frequently hears, “That agreement is so broad it will never be enforced and Virginia doesn’t ‘blue pencil’ these agreements, so no problema.”

Williamsburg Virginia Business Lawyers

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