(703) 369-4738

14
Sep
2022

Vanderpool, Frostick & Nishanian, P.C. is Pleased to Announce!!

Vanderpool Frostick & Nishanian, P.C. (VF&N) is pleased to announce that Mr. Stephen Lofaso has joined VF&N as a senior associate. Stephen Lofaso is an accomplished litigator with an extensive background in business law, accounting, and business litigation.

Mr. Lofaso has a consistent record of getting positive results for his clients and as such, has effectively advocated and procured judgments or reached favorable settlements for his clients in cases ranging from breach of fiduciary duty, conversion (civil theft), breach of contract, civil conspiracy to injure business, tortious interference with contracts, detinue, unlawful detainer, and constructive eviction. Mr. Lofaso will continue his practice as part of the VF&N litigation practice group.


This blog post is not intended to provide legal advice or substitute for the advice of legal counsel with respect to specific facts and situations. See disclaimer

5
Jul
2022

Bye-Bye Migrant Protection Protocols

Written By Lisa Shea, Esq.

On June 30, 2022, the Supreme Court handed down a major victory for due process in Biden v. Texas, 597 U.S. ___ (2022)a decision permitting the Biden administration to terminate Trump’s Remain in Mexico policy (Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP)), which the administration attempted to do June 1, 2021, but was sued.  The MPP program permitted U.S. Border Patrol to keep in Mexico and send back to Mexico, those immigrants with pending immigration court hearings in the United States, instead of allowing them to wait in the United States.  While there is an issue with thousands of people crossing the border, this program did not meet our country’s stringent due process requirements or our international obligations to protect those seeking asylum while they are in the process of seeking asylum, and instead sent thousands back into dangerous living conditions that sparked even more illegal entries into the United States.  Further, persons awaiting US court proceedings in Mexico did not have adequate means to work with a United States attorney to prepare their case and had a much higher likelihood of being summarily deported rather than their cases heard in a prepared and meaningful way.  Perhaps now we can see a return to justice and family unification. If you know someone at the border who needs assistance, please feel free to schedule a consultation with our firm, we have over 30 years of experience in removal defense, asylum, and working with Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. 

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON A SPECIFIC SITUATION, PLEASE CONTACT:

Lisa Shea is a shareholder at Vanderpool, Frostick & Nishanian, P.C. She is leading the firm’s Immigration practice, as well as Immigration Chair for the Prince William County Bar Association.  If you have additional questions or concerns contact Lisa Shea at or call us at 703-335-2009.

www.immigrantsfirst.com (for information about immigration solutions)
www.vfnlaw.com (for information about solutions in other areas of law)

This blog post is not intended to provide legal advice or substitute for the advice of legal counsel with respect to specific facts and situations. See disclaimer

28
Jun
2022

PWSHRM-Legal Affairs Update!

Written By Kristina Keech Spitler, Esq.

Supreme Court Rules Employers Who Fail to Act on Mandatory Arbitration Agreement May Lose Their Ability to Compel Arbitration

A unanimous Supreme Court decided that an employee challenging an employment agreement requiring arbitration to resolve employment disputes did not need to show she had been prejudiced or harmed by her employer’s 8-month delay in attempting to compel arbitration. The case, Morgan v. Sundance, involves an hourly non-exempt employee at a Taco Bell franchise in Iowa who had signed an agreement requiring all employment disputes to be resolved using arbitration.  The employee had filed a nationwide collective action suit claiming that the franchise had violated the Fair Labor Standards Act overtime pay requirements.

The franchise’s parent company had initially responded to the employee’s complaint as if there had been no arbitration agreement in place, filing a motion to dismiss that was eventually denied.  Eight months after Morgan filed her complaint, Sundancemoved to compel arbitration under the Federal Arbitration Act. The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals initially held that Morgan needed to show she had been prejudiced or harmed by Sundance’s delay in order for the Company to have waived its right to compel arbitration. However, the Supreme Court rejected that holding. Justice Elena Kagan noted in her opinion that “The Federal Arbitration Act makes clear that courts are not to create arbitration-specific procedural rules…courts need not necessarily find that someone was prejudiced to find that a party waived its right to compel arbitration under the Federal Arbitration Act. The holding upheld the enforceability of arbitration agreements generally and remanded the case back to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals to determine whether or not “the employer knowingly relinquished its right to arbitrate by acting inconsistently with that right.”  The Court indicated that the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals could either resolve the question posed or decide that a different procedural framework is appropriate. “This holding is limited to stopping courts from making up a new procedural rule based solely on the Federal Arbitration Act’s ‘policy favoring arbitration.’”

Virginia Overtime Amendments Take Effect July 1, 2022

Effective July 1, 2022, the existing provisions of the Virginia Overtime Wage Act (VOWA) are repealed and replaced with a provision that any employer that violates the overtime pay requirements under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is liable to its employees for remedies and other relief available under the FLSA. The amendment will also require derivative air carriers to pay their employees overtime at a rate of not less than one and one-half times the employee’s regular rate of pay for any hours worked in excess of 40 hours in any one workweek.

Virginia Requires Seizure First Aid Poster as of July 1, 2022

Effective July 1, 2022, employers of 25 or more employees in the Commonwealth must physically post information on seizure first aid in the workplace in a place visible to employees. The Department of Labor and Industry will disseminate the information electronically and by other yet-to-be-determined means. The information will be fully consistent with information and guidelines developed by the Epilepsy Foundation of America and any of its successor organizations.

The text of the bill is available at VA HB1178 | 2022 | Regular Session | LegiScan

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON A SPECIFIC SITUATION, PLEASE CONTACT:

Kristina Keech Spitler is a shareholder at Vanderpool, Frostick & Nishanian, P.C. She is leading the firm’s Employment Law practice.  If you have additional questions or concerns contact Kristina Keech Spitler at kspitler@vfnlaw.com.


This blog post is not intended to provide legal advice or substitute for the advice of legal counsel with respect to specific facts and situations. See disclaimer

31
May
2022

Immigration Updates!!!

Written By Lisa Shea, Esq.

We are keeping our community aware of the Immigration changes. Please see the updates below:

Temporarily in effect as of May 4th, 2022. Due to USCIS delay in processing the issuance of employment authorization cards; USCIS has now increased automatic extensions from 180 days to 540 days for eligible applicants applying to renew their work authorization card. Attached is the link to the webpage with further information. https://www.uscis.gov/eadautoextend

Uniting for Ukraine

Uniting for Ukraine provides a pathway for Ukrainian citizens and their immediate family members who are outside the United States to come to the United States and stay temporarily in a two-year period of parole.

Here is the webpage for further information on requirements and eligibility for Uniting for Ukraine. https://www.uscis.gov/ukraine

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FOR MORE INFORMATION ON A SPECIFIC SITUATION, PLEASE CONTACT:

Lisa Shea is a shareholder at Vanderpool, Frostick & Nishanian, P.C. She is leading the firm’s Immigration practice, as well as Immigration Chair for the Prince William County Bar Association.  If you have additional questions or concerns contact Lisa Shea at or call us at 703-335-2009.

www.immigrantsfirst.com (for information about immigration solutions)
www.vfnlaw.com (for information about solutions in other areas of law)

This blog post is not intended to provide legal advice or substitute for the advice of legal counsel with respect to specific facts and situations. See disclaimer

23
May
2022

Afghan TPS Update!!

Written By Lisa Shea, Esq.

On May 19, 2022, the Department of Homeland Security designated Afghanistan for temporary protected status (TPS) for 18 months from May 20, 2022, to November 20, 2023.  The designation allows for Afghan nationals to file initial applications for TPS who have continuously resided in the United States since March 15, 2022.   TPS grantees qualify for employment authorization documents and must undergo background security checks.  We are happy to assist our Afghan clients with the process of obtaining TPS.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON A SPECIFIC SITUATION, PLEASE CONTACT:

Lisa Shea is a shareholder at Vanderpool, Frostick & Nishanian, P.C. She is leading the firm’s Immigration practice, as well as Immigration Chair for the Prince William County Bar Association.  If you have additional questions or concerns contact Lisa Shea at or call us at 703-335-2009.

www.immigrantsfirst.com (for information about immigration solutions)
www.vfnlaw.com (for information about solutions in other areas of law)

This blog post is not intended to provide legal advice or substitute for the advice of legal counsel with respect to specific facts and situations. See disclaimer

11
May
2022

Uniting For Ukraine – Finally, a way to get Ukrainian Refugees out of danger and into the US:

Written By Lisa Shea, Esq.

The United States has announced a program to benefit Ukrainians still living abroad through its Uniting for Ukraine program.

This is a new parole allowing a U.S. supporter or sponsor, who 1) has lawful status in the US, 2) passes a security and background check, and 3) has sufficient financial resources to support the individual(s) being sponsored, to file a declaration of support for a Ukrainian who is outside the United States, including, spouses and unmarried children under 21 (note that a child under 18 must be traveling with a parent or legal guardian).  The beneficiary must possess a valid Ukraine passport, have a declaration of support filed on their behalf, and have clear biometric and security checks. 

Once the declaration of support is deemed sufficient by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, and background checks are completed, the beneficiary will receive a 90-day travel authorization.  There is no government filing fee for this process.

For Ukrainians already in the United States with continuous presence since April 11, 2022, the temporary protected status may be an option.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON A SPECIFIC SITUATION, PLEASE CONTACT:

Lisa Shea is a shareholder at Vanderpool, Frostick & Nishanian, P.C. She is leading the firm’s Immigration practice, as well as Immigration Chair for the Prince William County Bar Association.  If you have additional questions or concerns contact Lisa Shea at or call us at 703-335-2009.

www.immigrantsfirst.com (for information about immigration solutions)
www.vfnlaw.com (for information about solutions in other areas of law)

This blog post is not intended to provide legal advice or substitute for the advice of legal counsel with respect to specific facts and situations. See disclaimer

11
May
2022

Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS)

Written By Lisa Shea, Esq.

Pictured is Marta and her beautiful two-year-old daughter.  Marta is an immigration success story after Lisa Shea, head of the immigration practice group at VFN, helped Marta obtain her green card in 2011 through special immigrant juvenile status adjustment.  Marta was born in El Salvador in 1991 and at the age of three months, she was left by her parents in the care of her grandmother who beat her relentlessly.  In 2008, thinking life would be better, Marta traveled by herself at the age of 16 to live with her alcoholic mother, but things only got worse.  Her mother was not prepared to raise her child and worked her for long hours, abused her, and tried to kill her by holding a loaded gun to her head and hitting her with a car.  Her mother finally abandoned her to distant relatives who kicked Marta out of their house within six months of her arrival, leaving her homeless and pregnant.  She went into foster care and the Manassas Department of Social Services reached out to Ms. Shea to take the case pro bono.  After two years of working on the immigration case, and several years of Marta remaining in foster care, Marta got her green card.  Now Marta has a family of her own and is a dental assistant.  She is happy in her life and is a contributing member of our community; she can see how far she has come from when she first came to the United States.

In order to qualify for special immigrant juvenile status (SIJS) a juvenile in Virginia must meet the following criteria.  First, be found to be dependent upon a juvenile court or in the custody of an agency, or department of the state.  In Virginia, a juvenile should have a custody determination issued by the juvenile court before the age of 18 years old.  Although the statute may allow the filing of the custody petition before 18 years old, with adjudication after 18 years old, some judges are still construing the law that the custody determination must occur before the age of 18 years old.  Second, at the time of custody determination and filing of the SIJS petition with USCIS, the juvenile must be unmarried and under the age of 21 years old.  Third, the juvenile must be present in the United States at the time the relief is granted.  Fourth, the juvenile must be eligible for long-term foster care due to abuse, neglect, or abandonment by one or both parents.  And, Fifth, the juvenile must prove that it is not in their best interest to be returned to their home country.

Marta came into our office recently, after 11 years, to see if we could help other family members legalize their status.  We had a joyous reunion after all this time and the opportunity to see each other again.  One of the many benefits of practicing immigration law is to see clients progress after attaining legal status, and that progress has been especially outstanding for Marta.  We handle many SIJS cases successfully from the custody determination phase to the application for SIJS, and lastly to adjustment of status, including for juveniles who are in removal proceedings.  Please contact us if you need assistance with an SIJS case.  We are more than happy to assist!

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON A SPECIFIC SITUATION, PLEASE CONTACT:

Lisa Shea is a shareholder at Vanderpool, Frostick & Nishanian, P.C. She is leading the firm’s Immigration practice, as well as Immigration Chair for the Prince William County Bar Association.  If you have additional questions or concerns contact Lisa Shea at or call us at 703-335-2009.

www.immigrantsfirst.com (for information about immigration solutions)
www.vfnlaw.com (for information about solutions in other areas of law)

This blog post is not intended to provide legal advice or substitute for the advice of legal counsel with respect to specific facts and situations. See disclaimer

20
Apr
2022

Cameroon TPS

By Lisa Shea, Esq.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced today the designation of Cameroon for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months. Only individuals who are already residing in the United States as of April 14, 2022, will be eligible for TPS.

“The United States recognizes the ongoing armed conflict in Cameroon, and we will provide temporary protection to those in need,” said Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas. “Cameroonian nationals currently residing in the U.S. who cannot safely return due to the extreme violence perpetrated by government forces and armed separatists, and a rise in attacks led by Boko Haram, will be able to remain and work in the United States until conditions in their home country improve.”

A country may be designated for TPS when conditions in the country fall into one or more of the three statutory bases for designation: ongoing armed conflict, environmental disaster, or extraordinary and temporary conditions. This designation is based on both ongoing armed conflict and extraordinary and temporary conditions in Cameroon that prevent Cameroonian nationals, and those of no nationality who last habitually resided in Cameroon, from returning to Cameroon safely. The conditions result from the extreme violence between government forces and armed separatists and a significant rise in attacks from Boko Haram, the combination of which has triggered a humanitarian crisis. Extreme violence and the widespread destruction of civilian infrastructure have led to economic instability, food insecurity, and several hundred thousand displaced Cameroonians without access to schools, hospitals, and other critical services.

This marks the first time the Secretary of DHS will permit qualifying nationals of Cameroon to remain temporarily in the United States pursuant to a TPS designation of that country. Individuals eligible for TPS under this designation must have continuously resided in the United States since April 14, 2022. Individuals who attempt to travel to the United States after April 14, 2022, will not be eligible for TPS. Cameroon’s 18-month designation will go into effect on the publication date of the forthcoming Federal Register notice. The Federal Register notice will provide instructions for applying for TPS and an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). TPS applicants must meet all eligibility requirements and undergo security and background checks.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON A SPECIFIC SITUATION, PLEASE CONTACT:

Lisa Shea is a shareholder at Vanderpool, Frostick & Nishanian, P.C. She is leading the firm’s Immigration practice, as well as Immigration Chair for the Prince William County Bar Association.  If you have additional questions or concerns contact Lisa Shea at or call us at 703-335-2009.

www.immigrantsfirst.com (for information about immigration solutions)
www.vfnlaw.com (for information about solutions in other areas of law)

This blog post is not intended to provide legal advice or substitute for the advice of legal counsel with respect to specific facts and situations. See disclaimer

19
Apr
2022

Dealing with Disputes

By Brett Callahan

People often want to know what the difference is between mediation and arbitration.  It all comes down to who makes the final decision on how to resolve the issue, you or someone else. “Traditional” litigation often presents the same two options: do you want to settle the case, giving you some control over how things come out or do you want to go before a judge or jury and let them decide?

            There are benefits and risks to each approach.  In situations like mediation and settlement negotiations, you have control over the outcome, but so does the opposing party, since they also have to agree.  You would not be in a dispute with the other side if both were 100% in agreement, so to come up with something you will both agree on, neither of you are going to get 100% of what you want.  Also, there are often times when coming up with a compromise does not seem to be an option.  Perhaps the other party isn’t willing to consider a compromise or is being nonresponsive.  Perhaps they say they are willing to compromise, but mostly they just seem to be asking you to compromise.  Perhaps there simply doesn’t appear to be any room to compromise, because there are only two options.

            If the parties cannot come up with a solution themselves, they have to turn to a third party to make the decision for them, which is where lawsuits and arbitration come in.  Because both parties do not have to agree with whatever decision the judge, jury, or arbitrator makes, there is a chance you might get everything you ask for.  However, there is also a chance you get nothing you ask for.  That is where the risk comes in for both sides.  There is no such thing as a “slam dunk” case, no matter how much the facts and law appear to be on your side and no matter how brilliant and qualified you and your litigation team may be.  Any experienced litigator will tell you there is always a risk for you when someone else makes the decisions.

            So if mediation and arbitration are the same as settlement or going to trial, why are they called “alternative dispute resolution”?  The goal of mediation and arbitration is to speed up and reduce the cost of reaching a resolution.  Additionally, you generally have to agree to participate in arbitration or mediation, unlike in litigation where you can find yourself a party before a court without wanting to be there.  You also usually have to pay the mediation/arbitration company and mediator or arbitrator hourly out of pocket yourself or split the costs between the parties.  Courts usually have some set fees, but they also receive governmental funds, and you aren’t directly paying the judge hourly for their time.  That variability in mediation and arbitration costs means that there are times when mediation and arbitration are not necessarily going to be a less expensive option than more traditional litigation.

            Deciding what path to take to resolve your dispute is complicated as there are usually a number of options in any case.  Additionally, as the matter evolves, that analysis can change, so it is important to be prepared to revisit these decisions regularly to make sure you are still on the best path to reach your goal outcome.  The exact wording and use can vary, but below is a very basic glossary of “dispute resolution” terminology, which will hopefully help you have those discussions with your attorney.

Arbitration – In arbitration, the parties present their dispute to an arbitrator, who decides the resolution.  The parties must agree to arbitrate before arbitration, but most often this agreement is found in a contract the parties entered into before the dispute arose.  Arbitration is generally faster and less formal than proceeding before the courts.  However, because arbitrators’ decisions are legally binding, there are also appeals processes, in the event, that one party wants to contest the outcome.

Demand Letter – A demand letter is often the first “formal” action in a dispute.  One party or their attorney will generally summarize in writing the dispute, from that party’s perspective, and make a “demand” of what they want the other party to do to resolve the matter.  A demand letter may be a legal prerequisite under a contract or statute to taking further legal action, in some cases.  If a demand letter is a legal prerequisite, there are usually other specific requirements of what the demand letter must contain or how the demand must be made to qualify as that legal prerequisite.  If the other party complies with whatever is demanded in the letter, that may be the end of the matter, or, if not, the parties may move into pre-litigation settlement negotiations, file a lawsuit, or seek arbitration or mediation. 

Dispositive Motion – Not all contested lawsuits go all the way to trial.  Sometimes there are legal reasons why the court can “dispose” of the case, or parts of the case, before a full trial.  Even if a portion of the case will have to go to a full trial, partial dispositive motions are used to streamline the case.  The outcome of a dispositive motion can have a big impact on the strength or weakness of a party to negotiate a settlement on favorable terms.

Judicial Settlement Conference – A judicial settlement conference is similar to a mediation.  However, unlike mediation, judicial settlement conferences are generally only available to parties when a lawsuit has already been filed.  Judicial settlement programs are run through the courts, so there is often not a significant additional cost to participate in one.  In a judicial settlement conference, the neutral third party attempting to negotiate a resolution between the parties is generally a judge, although not the same judge who would proceed over a trial in the case.  As with mediation, the parties must ultimately agree upon the terms of the resolution, which are written as a legally enforceable agreement between the parties.

Mediation – In mediation, a trained neutral third party is involved to facilitate a resolution, similar to arbitration or litigation. However, unlike in litigation and arbitration, it is still the parties, not the third party who decides the final outcome.  If mediation is successful, the agreement between the parties is written as a legally enforceable agreement.

Settlement Conference – A settlement conference can be an umbrella terms for a meeting between the parties to try to resolve the dispute.  A settlement conference need not be facilitated by a third party and may just consist of the parties and their counsel.  However, in other cases, the term settlement conference may be used in the context of a third-party facilitated negotiation.  As with the other forms of dispute resolution between parties, if successful, the terms of the settlement are written as a legally enforceable agreement between the parties.

If you find yourself in a legal dispute with another party and want to review your options and determine the best path forward to meet your goals, the attorneys of Vanderpool, Frostick & Nishanian, P.C. may be able to help.  Please contact our office to speak with someone to discuss if we can assist you.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON A SPECIFIC SITUATION, PLEASE CONTACT:

Brett Callahan is a shareholder at Vanderpool, Frostick & Nishanian, P.C. She is leading the firm’s litigation department. If you have additional questions or concerns contact brett Callahan at  bcallahan@vfnlaw.com or call us at 703-369-4738.

This blog post is not intended to provide legal advice or substitute for the advice of legal counsel with respect to specific facts and situations. See disclaimer

24
Mar
2022

TPS FOR AFGHANISTAN ANNOUNCED

By Lisa Shea, Esq.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has designated Temporary Protected Status for Afghanistan due to the ongoing dire situation in Afghanistan with the Taliban takeover. Any Afghan who has lived in the United States as of March 15, 2022, and continues to live in the U.S., may qualify to register for TPS. Soon, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will have the application procedure on its website at www.uscis.gov.

TPS is a designation by the United States for citizens of a country that is experiencing, or has experienced, a significant humanitarian disaster such as war, earthquakes, hurricanes, and any other circumstance that prevents the country’s nationals from returning safely to their home country. TPS is usually designated for 6, 12 or 18 months and qualifies the recipient, who is present in the United States on the day of the designation, for an employment authorization document, a deferred status, giving relief from deportation, and the possibility of advance parole to travel outside the United States. It is not, however, by itself, a pathway to getting lawful permanent residency. The current Afghan TPS designation is for 18 months, after which there will likely be renewals, and if not, TPS designees will return to their prior immigration status.

Afghans may also qualify to extend their current immigration status, claim asylum, or adjust their status through work or a family member.

Reach out to us for a consultation if you have any questions about applying for TPS or any other form of relief. We successfully represent many Afghans in their immigration processes and are happy to assist.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON A SPECIFIC SITUATION, PLEASE CONTACT:

Lisa Shea is a shareholder at Vanderpool, Frostick & Nishanian, P.C. She is leading the firm’s Immigration practice, as well as Immigration Chair for the Prince William County Bar Association.  If you have additional questions or concerns contact Lisa Shea at or call us at 703-335-2009.

www.immigrantsfirst.com (for information about immigration solutions)
www.vfnlaw.com (for information about solutions in other areas of law)

This blog post is not intended to provide legal advice or substitute for the advice of legal counsel with respect to specific facts and situations. See disclaimer