VIRGINIA COURT RESPONSE TO COVID -19

Like all businesses and industries, the judicial system is struggling to maintain normal operations as it attempts to limit gathering of large numbers of people to avoid the spread of COVID-19.  In response to directions of the CDC, Virginia Department of Health, and the Governor of Virginia, the courts have all issued orders suspending most matters on the upcoming docket, and they have gone even further with civil jury trials where members of the general public are required to meet.  The following orders and changes have been made to the various court dockets in Virginia. STATE COURTS:  The Supreme Court of Virginia has issued an Order Declaring a Judicial Emergency such that from Monday, March 16th through April 6, 2020, all non-essential and non-emergency court proceedings in Circuit Courts and District Courts are suspended, and all civil, traffic, and criminal matters, including jury trials are continued (with the exception of emergency matters).  It was further ordered that all deadlines are tolled for 21 days.  If an emergency matter must be heard, courtroom attendance is limited to attorneys, parties, necessary witnesses, and press in matters that cannot be continued.  The following persons may be denied entry to the courthouse: A person may be denied entry to the courthouse if: ·       They have within 14 days visited China, Iran, South Korea, Europe, or other high-risk country designated by the CDC; ·       Been asked to quarantine or isolate his or herself by a doctor, hospital or health agency; ·       Been diagnosed with or had contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19; ·       Has a fever, cough or shortness of breath or resides with...

Gary Reinhardt and John Messersmith to Present at Upcoming Events

Gary Reinhardt, General Counsel to the IASIU and state police “Red Flag” Instructor will be speaking at several upcoming events: September 12-15 “The Internet of Things” International Association of Special Investigation Units International Seminar, Las Vegas, NV.   September 27-30 “Prosecutors, Law Enforcement & Special Investigation Units: Working Together to Fight Fraud” Red Flag Investigation and Prosecution of Insurance Fraud, Huddleston, VA, Smith Mountain Lake, Mariners Landing Resort & Conference Center. October 27  John Messersmith will collaborate with neuropsychologist Dr. Doug Gibson for a presentation on traumatic brain injury at the 7th annual Atlanta Trucking Conference.  This year’s seminar is on “The Anatomy & Life of a Truck Accident Claim: Preparing for and Avoiding the...
2016 Wounded Warrior Paracycling Series

2016 Wounded Warrior Paracycling Series

Surveys show that individuals are giving more and more to causes they care about… A few bucks here, a raffle ticket there. While giving among big donors and companies has been down in recent years, Americans individually have never given more.  As a firm, we were no different.  Without a single cause to which we dedicated ourselves, our gifts were scattered. We were giving a little, a lot.  Food drives, sponsorships, races… but we didn’t feel impact and satisfaction that comes from donating generously to a singular cause and sticking to it. In 2016, we vowed to change that.  We wanted to focus our charitable giving on a cause that meant something to the firm and our mission.  We revisited our belief statement… a belief in “equal justice under the law.” At KPM, we know that justice doesn’t come cheap.  It’s hard fought and won for all by the relentless conviction of the few who fight on our behalf. KPM LAW has dedicated its 2016 charitable resources to support Wounded Warrior Projects like this one.  We proudly sponsored the 2016 Wounded Warrior Paracycling Series in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley last month and celebrate the victories of these noble service men and women who so humbly defended our freedoms so that we can enjoy Justice. Congratulations to CPT (Ret) Will Reynolds and Richard Cook, and COL (Ret) Patty Collins on their success on the course. You can learn more about Wounded Warrior and the Paracycling Series here.  ...

Is a “Loss” an “Occurrence”?

Insurance policies define “Occurrence.”  Generally, policies define an “occurrence” as an “accident” or “repeated exposure to the same or similar” conditions.  Liability policies require an occurrence for coverage and require an insured to give prompt notice of any “occurrence” that could result in a claim. First-party coverage, however, often does not rely on the word “occurrence.”  Most policies require an insured to give prompt notice of a “loss.”  Recently, the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia determined if “occurrence” and “loss” meant the same thing and what impact the use of each word had on an insured’s duty to timely report a first-party claim. In Wheeler v. Standard Fire Ins. Co., 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 38255, Wheeler suffered damage to her barn when trees fell on the porch of the barn.  Thinking that the barn repair cost would be less than her deductible, Wheeler had unidentified day laborers repair the damage.  She did not notice any other damage at the time. Several months after the repair, Wheeler heard rumbling noises and then the foundation basement wall of the barn collapsed on the same side of the barn where the trees fell.  Wheeler reported the earlier damage and the wall collapse to her insurer.  Experts determined that the trees falling months earlier led to the wall collapsing.  Despite that, the insurer denied coverage for several reasons, the first that Wheeler did not “promptly” report her “loss” to the insurer. The insurer claimed that Wheeler should have reported her claim when the trees fell on the barn. The Honorable Norman K. Moon first noted that “occurrence” is...

Gary Reinhardt to Speak at the Eastern Regional Adjusters Conference of The Property & Liability Resource Bureau

KPM LAW’s Gary Reinhardt, Managing Partner of KPM’s Coverage & Fraud Department, will present at The Property & Liability Resource Bureau’s Eastern Regional Adjusters Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, on November 10-11, 2015.  An AV-rated attorney who serves as General Counsel to the International Association of Special Investigation Units, Gary is speaking on the latest trends and strategies in property fraud claims. Gary and the team at KPM LAW hope to see you at this valuable two-day conference.  More information can be found at http://www.plrbregionalconferences.org/.  ...