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    The Lawletter Blog

    April Wimberley

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    BANKRUPTCY: Damages Awarded for Pursuit of Divorce Case in Violation of Automatic Stay

    Posted by April Wimberley on Wed, Dec 15, 2021 @ 10:12 AM

    The Lawletter Vol 46 No 7

    April Wimberley—Senior Attorney, National Legal Research Group

                A bankruptcy court recently awarded attorney’s fees, compensation for emotional distress, and punitive damages to a debtor whose ex-husband continued litigating their divorce case in violation of the automatic stay. In re Payne, No. 20-30524 (Bankr. E.D. Va. Mar. 22, 2021). On January 15, 2020, the Circuit Court of Chesterfield County, Virginia, entered a final decree in the divorce case between Cynthia Payne and Thomas Payne. Thereafter, on January 31, 2020, Ms. Payne filed a Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition in the Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. In response to the debtor’s bankruptcy filing, the ex-husband, through his attorney, filed several documents in the divorce case, including a motion to stay and a motion to rehear and reconsider. The respondents maintained that the purpose of the motion to stay was to prevent the expiration of the state court’s jurisdiction due to the debtor’s bankruptcy and to address her alleged failure to disclose the existence of a bank account during the divorce litigation. The motion to rehear and reconsider aimed to have the state court reconsider issues of equitable distribution. The respondents did not seek stay of relief from the bankruptcy court before filing the state court motions.

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    Topics: bankruptcy, April Wimberley, violation of automatic stay, recovery of actual and punitive damages

    EMPLOYMENT: Virginia Values Act—Employment & Public Accommodation Discrimination Against LGBT

    Posted by April Wimberley on Fri, Mar 27, 2020 @ 11:03 AM

    The Lawletter Vol 45 No 2

    April Wimberley—Senior Attorney, National Legal Research Group

         Virginia is poised to become the first Southern state to prohibit discrimination based on a person's "sexual orientation" or "gender identity." The Virginia Values Act ("VVA") was passed by the General Assembly on February 26, 2020 and is expected to be signed by Governor Ralph Northam. The bill will have a significant impact on the law governing discrimination in employment, public accommodations, housing, banking, and education, and it creates a new cause of action for unlawful discrimination in public accommodations.

         The VVA will amend several existing statutes to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

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    Topics: unlawful employment discrimination, April Wimberley, Virginia Values Act, public accommodation discrimination, LGBT

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