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New Courtroom for Norfolk

courthouseOur lawyers here at Montagna Klein Camden are looking forward to spending lots of time in the new $123 million courthouse complex on the intersection of East City Hall Avenue and St. Paul’s Boulevard.

Judges, clerks and officers of the law will be making the big move in the next day or two, according to Gary A. Harki of The Virginian-Pilot.

Currently, the Circuit, General District and Juvenile & Domestic Relations Courts are all in separate buildings, but the new complex will change all that. The Norfolk Circuit Court is making the change this week and the General District Court will be next, utilizing the first weekend in February.

Juvenile Court will constitute a more elaborate transition, causing the date to be pushed until two years from now.

Sheriff’s deputies are canvassing the building whenever they are able, attempting to memorize the layout and fine-tune the security. Staff members will have to learn new evacuation procedures and we at Montagna Klein Camden are keen to see the holding cells, where we will meet with our clients.

The main challenge for the next two years will be transferring inmates to and from the courthouse and the jail. Not only is there the risk of the inmate running, but the intersection is always busy, and construction is on-going.

“We’re going to work very closely with the contractors,” said Sheriff Bob McCabe. “Inmate movement is the priority, but at the same time, that’s a terrible intersection right there. When you hold up cement trucks, there’s going to be traffic.”

We at Montagna Klein Camden wish them the best of luck, and look forward to pursuing law in that beautiful new Norfolk Courthouse!

McDonald Decision

McDonald Decision

Tony McDonald v. CP&O, LLC.

BRB No.: 11-0735

(June 28, 2012)
Issue: Claimant appealed the Decision of the ALJ, who determined that Claimant did not establish that he suffered an independent leg injury on September 21, 2006. His entitlement to temporary partial disability benefits for the requested periods were denied because he failed to establish that he suffered an economic loss.
Finding: REMAND. Benefits Review Board agreed with Claimant that the ALJ did not fully consider the relevant evidence as to whether Claimant was disabled as of September 9, 2007, specifically, that he did not address testimonial evidence. Moreover, the BRB found that although the ALJ found that neither the opinion of Dr. Wardell or Dr. Rodrigue supports Claimant’s claim, the ALJ did not fully explain his inference that the disability back pain Claimant experienced in 2008 was due to something other than the work injury.
Conclusion: On remand, the ALJ must make explicit findings as to whether Claimant’s complaints of pain are credible and whether Claimant established that at any time after September 8, 2007 he could not perform his usual work due to his work injury.

Changes to LHWCA?

A Pennsylvania Superior Court Case was filed early this month that could change the way we interpret the law.

In the case of Betty Uveges VS. Samuel Uveges, an appeal was filed in January 2014, with the intention of attaching the husband’s disability benefits to the alimony payments made to the wife. Mr. Uveges is a recipient of payments due to disability covered under the Longshore & Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA).

The couple’s divorce was finalized on August 1, 2011 and on February 15, 2012 Ms. Uveges filed a petition to force her ex-husband to make the required alimony payments. A hearing was convened on April 10, 2012, during which Mr. Uveges was found in contempt, issued a bench warrant and provided for the attachment of the monthly benefits.

On May 4, 2012, the Consolidated Coal Company (Consol) at which Mr. Uveges was previously employed, filed a petition for special relief. Consol claimed that benefits given under LHWCA are exempt from attachment.

Many motions were filed and awards entered, and the case continued into 2013.

A hearing was scheduled for December 2, 2013, followed by a review of the briefs. On January 15, 2014, it was concluded that the law does permit an ex-spouse to attach the retirement or disability benefits of the other ex-spouse, who was found in contempt.

The ultimate outcomes of this 464267243trial are as follows:

  1. The Court finds that Mr. Uveges owes $56,912.80 for back Alimony payments
  2. The Court awards Ms. Uveges $15,000.00 in total attorney’s fees
  3. $2,000.00 per month shall be deducted from Mr. Uveges’ benefits and disability payments for ongoing alimony and attorney’s fees.
  4. $471.75 and $517.80 shall continuously redirect to (respectively) Mr. Uveges’ arrearages and Ms. Uveges’ attorney’s fees.

The argument continues to rage on between the former husband-and-wife, but the key points of this trail may be summed up in one succinct sentence:

“In sum, because Husband’s LHWCA benefits are paid to him pursuant to federal law, and because Wife is not a ‘creditor’ and Husband’s alimony obligation is not a ‘debt’… the LHWCA benefits may be attached.”

See Also:

Navigable Waters Blog

PA Court Trial Opinion

Did you know that cars have Black Boxes too?

Some drivers may want to maintain EDR privacyA recent decision made by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration paves the way for a new era of vehicular safety. As of September 1, 2014, all new vehicles manufactured are required to be equipped with a black box, just like airplanes. Officially known as Event Data Recorders, these EDRs may soon change the way we drive.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, EDRs have been prevalent in over 90% of cars since 2006. Naturally, the version from almost ten years ago was much more limited than those being implemented today.  Today’s clever little devices can record a wealth of information, including:

  • Throttle position
  • Brake history
  • Vehicular speed
  • Air bag deployment
  • Seat belt status

This information is becoming increasingly valuable, as it could easily prove guilt or negligence by the driver, or even assist an insurance company when determining who was at fault. That’s why the information stored on the EDR is legally the property of the driver. Police, insurance companies and mechanics may only access the information stored on the EDR with the consent of the driver/owner of the vehicle. While that may sound like great news, there are often loopholes and fine print on insurance agreements, which may grant them access to the EDR after an accident.

Clauses such as these are why it is always a great idea to have a lawyer on your side. Contact the law offices of Montagna Klein Camden if you have been in an accident and want to maintain ownership of your EDR and privacy, or if you are preparing to sign a contract with an insurance company. Let us help you with the legalese, so that you can continue living your life. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Steps A Divorce Lawyer Must Take In The Divorce Process

A Norfolk divorce lawyer begins a divorce action by filing a Complaint for divorce in the Circuit Court. At least one party must be a bona fide resident and domiciliary of Virginia for six months preceding the commencement of the suit.

The venue or location of the Circuit Court for the divorce action is generally based upon preferred or permissible jurisdiction.

Permissible jurisdiction is in any Circuit Court in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Preferred jurisdiction is where the parties last cohabited as husband and wife; at the option of the plaintiff, where the spouse resides; or if the spouse’s whereabouts are unknown or if the spouse resides out of state, where the plaintiff resides.

The defendant will generally file an Answer and/or Counterclaim.

In the Answer, the defendant will admit or deny the allegations in the plaintiff’s Answer.

 In the Counterclaim, the defendant may allege his or her facts for a divorce action.  If a Counterclaim is filed, the plaintiff will file an Answer to the Counterclaim, where he or she admits or denies the allegations in the Counterclaim.

To have jurisdiction over the defendant in a bilateral divorce and the ability to resolve certain issues ancillary to the divorce (e.g. support or equitable distribution), the court must determine if personal jurisdiction over the defendant exists.  To obtain personal jurisdiction over the defendant, both the plaintiff and the defendant must have a physical presence before the forum court; the defendant must make a general appearance before the court through counsel; or have personal jurisdiction over the defendant by Virginia’s long arm statute.

The Virginia long arm statute is § 8.01-328.1 of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended.  The statute delineates when personal jurisdiction over a person may be exercised:

A.  A court may exercise personal jurisdiction over a person, who acts directly or by an agent, as to a cause of action arising from the person’s:

1.  Transacting any business in this Commonwealth;

2.  Contracting to supply services or things in this Commonwealth;

3.  Causing tortious (wrongful) injury by an act or omission in this Commonwealth;

4.  Causing tortious injury in this Commonwealth by an act or omission outside this Commonwealth if he regularly does or solicits business, or engages in any other persistent course of conduct, or derives substantial revenue from goods used or consumed or services rendered, in this Commonwealth;

5.  Causing injury in this Commonwealth to any person by breach of warranty expressly or impliedly made in the sale of goods outside this Commonwealth when he might reasonably have expected such person to use, consume, or be affected by the goods in this Commonwealth, provided that he also regularly does or solicits business, or engages in any other persistent course of conduct, or derives substantial revenue from goods used or consumed or services rendered in this Commonwealth;

6.  Having an interest in, using, or possessing real property in this Commonwealth;

7.  Contracting to insure any person, property, or risk located within this Commonwealth at the time of contracting;

8.  Having (i) executed an agreement in this Commonwealth which obligates the person to pay spousal support or child support to a domiciliary of this Commonwealth, or to a person who has satisfied the residency requirements in suits for annulments or divorce for members of the armed forces or foreign service officers of the United States pursuant to § 20-97 provided proof of service of process on a nonresident party is made by a law-enforcement officer or other person authorized to serve process in the jurisdiction where the nonresident party is located, (ii) been ordered to pay spousal support or child support pursuant to an order entered by any court of competent jurisdiction in this Commonwealth having in personal jurisdiction over such person, or (iii) shown by personal conduct in this Commonwealth, as alleged by affidavit, that the person conceived or fathered a child in this Commonwealth;

9.  Having maintained within this Commonwealth a matrimonial domicile at the time of separation of the parties upon which grounds for divorce or separate maintenance is based, or at the time a cause of action arose for divorce or separate maintenance or at the time of commencement of such suit, if the other party to the matrimonial relationship resides herein; or

10.  Having incurred a liability for taxes, fines, penalties, interest, or other charges to any political subdivision of the Commonwealth.

Jurisdiction in subdivision 9 is valid only upon proof of service of process pursuant to § 8.01-296 on the nonresident party by a person authorized under the provisions of § 8.01-320. Jurisdiction under subdivision 8 (iii) of this subsection is valid only upon proof of personal service on a nonresident pursuant to § 8.01-320.

B.  Using a computer or computer network located in the Commonwealth shall constitute an act in the Commonwealth. For purposes of this subsection, “use” and “computer network” shall have the same meanings as those contained in § 18.2-152.2.

C.  When jurisdiction over a person is based solely upon this section, only a cause of action arising from acts enumerated in this section may be asserted against him; however, nothing contained in this chapter shall limit, restrict or otherwise affect the jurisdiction of any court of this Commonwealth over foreign corporations which are subject to service of process pursuant to the provisions of any other statute.

After the divorce action is filed, counsel for the parties will generally engage in discovery.  Discovery might include propounding interrogatories, questions to be answered under oath; request for admissions; and depositions.

After the discovery is completed, counsel will generally set the matter for a hearing.  However, counsel will want to insure that the statutory time period has been satisfied for a divorce a vinculo matrimonii, or final divorce. If only a divorce from bed and board is obtained, the parties shall remain separated and have their persons and property protected.  But, neither party may remarry under a divorce from bed and board.

At the conclusion of the divorce hearing and if proper, the court will enter a decree of divorce.  The decree of divorce a vinculo matrimonii terminates the marriage and either party will be free to remarry.  However, counsel should advise their clients not to remarry until after 30 days have lapsed and no appeal or other pleading is filed.

Whether you are in Newport News, Virginia Beach, Norfolk or any other city in the Hampton Roads region, call the divorce lawyers of  Montagna Klein Camden to discuss your case. We can help you during this is a confusing and difficult time.

Anthony Montagna III Joins Firm

Anthony Montagna III Joins Montagna Klein Camden, L.L.P. As Partner

Norfolk, VA (June 14, 2013) — Montagna Klein Camden, L.L.P. announced today that Anthony Montagna III, previously of Montagna & Montagna P.C., has joined the law firm as its newest partner. Following the closure of Montagna & Montagna P.C., “Tony” III joins his uncle Charles and cousin Jon at Montagna Klein Camden, L.L.P., bringing a fresh set of practice areas and legal specialties to the firm.

Tony Montagna’s practice areas include traffic offenses, DUI, child and spousal support, divorce law and more. He is also well-acquainted with the challenges unique to members of the military and their families having learned from his father, who served in the JAG Corps of the U.S. Naval Reserve.

Until the addition of Tony Montagna III, Montagna Klein Camden, L.L.P. dealt primarily with legal matters pertaining to auto and truck accidents, personal injury claims, Jones Act claims, Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation claims, Defense Base Act claims, maritime law, Virginia and North Carolina workers’ compensation claims and other job-related claims. The partners are enthusiastic about the new spectrum of legal services the firm will be able to offer clients and are proud to welcome Tony on board.

Montagna Klein Camden, L.L.P. is based in Norfolk. In addition to Virginia and North Carolina personal injury cases, the firm also handles maritime cases throughout the nation and Defense Base Act claims around the world. For more information contact us or call 877-622-8100.

Pending Layoffs Due To Congress

What rights does an injured worker have?

With potential layoffs pending on the Waterfront, many injured workers must be asking how they can compete in the open labor market to find new employment to support their families. Finding a job in today’s down economy is hard enough. Add a disabling injury to this economy, and supporting a household is difficult at best.

If you were injured on the job while working for one of the Waterfront Employers prior to July 01, 2012, you have three potential remedies to recover your lost wages, if you are laid off from a light duty position.

First remedy: Request a hearing under the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act. Under the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act, if you are laid off from a light duty position, you can receive compensation for lost wages from the Employer or its Insurance Company, while you look for a new light duty position in the open labor market. If you are able to find a light duty position, the Employer or its Insurance Company would still owe you the difference between what you were making at the time you were injured, and what you are able to make in your new light duty position.

Second remedy: You may also be entitled to benefits under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. Under this Federal statute, if the Employer lays you off from a light duty position, it is responsible for paying compensation to you, until it can prove that you are capable of some other light duty position. As under the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act, the company would still owe you the difference between what you made at your pre-injury job compared to your earnings in the light duty position.

Third remedy: If you are over the age of 50 and laid off from your light duty position, you may be entitled to Social Security Disability benefits, depending on multiple factors including your education and work restrictions.

If you are injured on the Waterfront after July 01, 2012, not all of these options would be available to you, depending on the location of your injury and the job you were performing. Montagna Klein Camden, LLP is here to assist you in any of these avenues if you are laid off while performing light duty work on the Waterfront. Please feel free to contact one of our attorneys at 757-622-8100.

Concurrent Jurisdiction Ends July 1, 2012

Virginia House Bill 153 went into effect on July 1, 2012. Any work injuries which occur after that date will not be covered under the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act if they are covered under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. This means that Longshoremen and Shipyard workers who are covered under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act will no longer have the benefit of also pursuing Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act benefits.

How will this affect you?


  1. The injured worker cannot receive benefits for a disability rating to an extremity due to a shoulder, back, neck or hip injury under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. In the past, Longshoreman would pursue those benefits under the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act where they were compensable. That option will no longer be available.
  2. Under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, an individual who has suffered an injury to one of his extremities and reached maximum medical improvement is not entitled to receive loss of wage benefits if they are unable to return to their regular employment. Instead, they are only entitled to a disability rating. Prior to July 1, 2012, we would pursue those claims for Longshoremen under the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act where the maximum medical improvement date does not effect the individual’s entitlement to lost wage benefits while under restrictions. This option will no longer be available.


  1. The Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act is very restrictive as to pursuing third party claims against individuals whose negligence resulted in the workers’ injury. Under the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act not only was the employer protected against such law suits, but in most situations, any subcontractors and other individuals engaged in the same trade and business as the employer were protected.

However, under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, only the employer itself is protected from being sued by an individual who is injured on the job. This means that where an injured workers’ accident, was a caused by a subcontractor working on the same job, the worker can receive workers’ compensation benefits from his employer while he recovers from the injury, and then potentially file a third party law suit against the individual, or company, who caused the injury. In those situations, the employer would be entitled to reimbursement for amounts paid on the injured workers’ behalf, but the injured worker could be paid damages for pain and suffering that resulted from the injury.

As indicated above, this change which is effective July 1, 2012 only applies to injuries that occur on or after July 1, 2012. Please keep these significant changes in mind if you, your friends or family suffer an injury on the job.

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