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McLean Law Blog

Virginia high school students see deadly DUI drama unfold

McLean residents are understandably proud of the thousands and thousands of fine students attending the colleges and universities in the McLean area. It is undoubtedly accurate to say we are just as proud of the area high school students who will one day soon be studying at those seats of higher learning.

At this time of year, however, even the best and brightest students need to be reminded of the dangers of drinking and driving on graduation days and prom nights. Each year, there are far too many college students and high school kids who lose their lives or are badly injured in motor vehicle crashes caused by impaired drivers.

Something stinks in dispute over hog farm

Virginia’s Smithfield is America’s largest producer of pork products, with famous brands such as Eckrich, Nathan’s, Armour and others in its portfolio (not to mention its eponymous ham product line). The company owns hundreds of thousands of sows, raised in places such as its industrial-sized facility in North Carolina.

The hog-growing operation is at the center of a business lawsuit over whether the odors its hogs generate are too smelly for neighbors to bear. U.S. District Judge W. Earl Britt recently ruled in the case that jurors won’t be taken for a sniff test of the farm.

Tax law brings major changes to divorce and alimony

Signed into law in December, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 will have impacts on nearly everyone in McLean, depending on income and other factors. One group of people that will feel its impact more profoundly than most others: those who get divorced next year.

Starting on New Year's Day of 2019, the tax implications for alimony (also known as spousal maintenance) are going to undergo a major transformation. Beginning that day, alimony will no longer be deductible for the payer.

Virginia truck crash: only one driver beat the odds

If you drive south of McLean for about two hours, you will arrive in Hanover, Virginia. Of course, it is possible to make the 95-mile drive in less time if you ignore speed limits and caution.

A 25-year-old driver appears to have taken the reckless approach to driving. She beat the odds in her passenger car and survived a crash with a tractor-trailer, but the truck driver was not nearly as fortunate.

Settlement scuttles trial in Virginia consumer fraud case

Few of us think of Volkswagen as an American company. But the German automaker's U.S. division -- Volkswagen Group of America Inc. -- is just a few miles west of McLean in Herndon.

That U.S. unit recently agreed to settle a consumer fraud lawsuit over its marketing of clean-emissions vehicles. The settlement came days before a Fairfax County trial was scheduled to begin.

Study: your genes play a role in divorce

Research has shown that if your parents divorced, you are statistically more likely to go through a divorce yourself. What researchers were unable to say was whether that likelihood was due to nature (a genetic disposition to engage in behavior that disrupts relationships) or nurture (disruptive behavior learned from parents).

A study recently published in Psychological Science by two researchers with the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics helps fill in some of the gaps in knowledge. The study makes it clear that genetics play a part in divorce by causing some people to engage in marriage-ending behavior.

Preparation is key to avoiding divorce mistakes

Preparation is a key ingredient to success. Doctors, athletes, engineers, CEOs, students and many others understand that preparation helps them attain their goals. Preparation is also key to achieving positive outcomes in divorce and difficult disputes over child custody, visitation, property division and more.

A recent article on mistakes people make in divorce highlights the importance of preparing for negotiations or litigation that could affect your family and finances for many years.

Trucker cited in 7-vehicle Virginia big rig crash

It typically takes more than four and a half hours to drive from McLean to Virginia's Pulaski County. Much of the drive is on Interstate 81, the highway that was recently the site of a 7-vehicle crash that began with the reckless driving of a trucker, police said.

A 32-year-old truck driver sideswiped another 18-wheeler as both headed south in Pulaski County, Virginia State Police officials said. The impact sent the two big rigs to the left, off of the highway and into the median.

Drivers, passengers escape Virginia truck crash with their lives

If you drive southwest of McLean for about five hours, you will arrive in Pulaski, a town of about 9,000 residents. Much of that trip would likely be spent on the interstate, where the most dangerous vehicles have 18 wheels and outweigh passenger cars by tens of thousands of pounds.

Even a mere moment of distraction or carelessness by a trucker is enough to cause a truck accident. A few days ago, a truck being driven south on Interstate 81 by a North Carolina resident sideswiped another 18-wheeler. Both big rigs ran off the left side of the interstate into the median. The North Carolina truck stopped there, but the sideswiped vehicle went through the median and into the northbound lanes, where it hit five passenger vehicles.

Water v natural gas in Virginia legal dispute

If you drive southwest of McLean for about four and a half hours, you will come to the tiny town of Bent Mountain. The unincorporated community has fewer than 800 inhabitants, but one of the finest views of the Roanoke Valley and Blue Ridge Mountains.

The picturesque spot is the flashpoint in a hotly contested legal dispute between a coalition of land owners and business owners and the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline. The 300-mile natural gas pipeline system would stretch from northwestern West Virginia to southern Virginia.

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