John Merrick Selected to Virginia Super Lawyers

John Merrick was selected to the list of 2023 Super Lawyers as a top-rated personal injury attorney.  This peer designation is awarded only to a select number of accomplished attorneys in each state. The Super Lawyers selection process takes into account peer recognition, professional achievement in legal practice, and other cogent factors. John has been selected as a Virginia Super Lawyer for four consecutive years and, before that, he was selected as a Rising Star for six consecutive years. There are a lot of “lawyer lists” out there, and we believe Super Lawyers gets it right. See John’s listing here:...

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John Merrick is Vice President of the Lewis F. Powell III Inn of Court

John is proud to serve as the vice-president of the local chapter of the American Inns of Court. The mission of the Inns of Court is to inspire the legal community to advance the rule of law by achieving the highest level of professionalism through example, education and mentoring. Last week Judge Jayne Pemberton presented the Ester Windmueller Award to Judge Beverly Snukals at our Lewis F. Powell, III, Inn of Court meeting in recognition of her exemplary professionalism, inspired leadership, and dedicated mentoring of future leaders.  Both judges go out of their way to help young lawyers develop, and...

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John Merrick Celebrates at The United States Supreme Court

John is currently the Vice-President of the Lewis F. Powell, Jr. Inn of Court. The Inn is named after an influential Supreme Court Justice from Virginia. The Inn is comprised of mostly lawyers and judges and is dedicated to promoting civility and professionalism. The Lewis F. Powell, Jr. Inn is a member of the larger (national) American Inns of Court. The Inn provided John with a golden opportunity to celebrate last weekend at the United States Supreme Court for the American Inns of Court Celebration of Excellence. It was an inspiring night in an amazing place. The event provided an...

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Work-Life Balance: Merrick Brock Fishing Extravaganza

Work-life balance is critical. Most of us can use a little more life and less work. To do so, it is important to stop, live in the present and appreciate the little things, aka “smell the roses.” It is easier said than done, especially in a world of multitasking, deadlines, adversaries and the (almost) ever present cell phone. Work-life balance starts by unplugging. Emails, text messages, phone calls, voicemails and reminders detract from appreciating the little things and living in the present. Cell phones are a boon for work, but they are kryptonite for life. In pursuit of work-life balance,...

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Clients and Lawyers: Don’t Lose Sight of the Big Picture

“Don’t lose sight of the forest for the trees.” I confess that years ago I wasn’t sure what this advice really meant. In a nutshell, it means don’t miss the big picture by focusing solely on the details. This applies broadly to every profession and daily life but is particularly important for a trial attorney. Despite its simplicity, this old adage is easy to forget, because we tend to get wrapped up in details. I do anyway. I recently resolved a heavy case. My client faced four life sentences and trial was fast approaching. There were numerous witnesses, documents, videos,...

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Virginia Supreme Court Modifies and Extends Order Declaring Judicial Emergency

The Virginia Supreme Court recently modified and extended its previous Order declaring judicial emergency. The Order explicitly provides that this is the controlling Order and is in effect until June 7th. If you practice in Virginia or have a case pending, it is worth a close look. A couple takeaways: No jury trials may be held during this period. Some circuit courts have interpreted this to apply to ALL jury trials (even those scheduled after June 7th). Statutes of limitation will continue to toll during this period. Discovery deadlines will not be extended after May 18th. Arguably, a hearing by...

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Court Finds That Governor’s COVID Order Violates the Law

In response to COVID, Gov. Northam recently issued an order shutting down “non-essential” businesses, which included shooting ranges. Did the Governor have authority to do this? A Lynchburg Circuit Court judge answered that question with a big “No,” allowing an indoor shooting range in Lynchburg to open back up for business. The judge’s ruling enjoins the Governor from enforcing Executive Order 53 against the range. According to the letter opinion, “[t]he Governor appears to argue that, when he declares a state of emergency, he can ignore any law that limits his power, even laws designed to limit his power during...

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Virginia Supreme Court Extends Declaration of Judicial Emergency

Today the Virginia Supreme Court entered the Third Order Extending Declaration of Judicial Emergency until May 17. Let’s hope the third time is a charm. This Order contains a bit more clarity on the tolling provisions regarding the statutes of limitation and appeals from Circuit Court. Of note, the Court provides an example: “if a two-year statute of limitations would expire on a plaintiff’s personal injury claim on April 16, 2020, the Period of Judicial Emergency (currently March 16 through May 17, 2020) would not be counted for purposes of the statute of limitations. Due to the tolling of the...

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The Virginia Supreme Court Extends Judicial Emergency Until April 26th, With A Bit More Clarity

The unanimous Order entered on March 27th provides that the court’s and clerks’ offices shall remain operational and provide services required by law, but it continues “all civil, traffic and criminal matters, including jury trials, except for emergency and other matters provided in this Order.” Three big takeaways: (1) If you have a routine civil matter, it has almost certainly been continued; (2) If you have a criminal matter, and the defendant is not in jail, it has almost certainly been continued; (3) Certain filing requirements and statutes of limitations that fall within this time period may be tolled for...

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The Virginia Supreme Court Declares a Judicial Emergency

On March 16, 2020, the Virginia Supreme Court suspended nearly all court proceedings for the next three weeks in the district and circuit courts in Virginia in response to the Coronavirus pandemic and to protect the health and safety of court employees, litigants, judges and the general public.  The Virginia Supreme Court’s Order follows a statewide ban issued by Virginia Governor Ralph Northam prohibiting public gatherings of more than 100 people. The order provides, in part: This Order shall be in effect from today, Monday, March 16, to Monday, April 6, 2020, and it is hereby ORDERED that NON-ESSENTIAL, NON-EMERGENCY...

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