McCandlish Holton attorneys Jonathan L. Moore and David E. Gluckman scored a major Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) victory against the United States Department of Labor (“DOL”) in a decision issued on November 26, 2013 by Judge James R. Spencer in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.
Most employers wishing to sponsor foreign employees for permanent residence in the United States must first obtain a “labor certification” showing that no qualified, willing, able, and available U.S. workers exist for a particular position. DOL is responsible for issuing these labor certifications under the Program Electronic Review Management (“PERM”) program. Although thousands of U.S. companies file PERM labor certification applications each year, DOL has provided little public information about many key aspects of the PERM program or how DOL processes PERM applications.
Mr. Gluckman, an attorney in the McCandlish Holton Immigration Practice Group, saw the federal FOIA statute as an opportunity to shed light on DOL’s operations. On March 15, 2012, he submitted a FOIA request seeking records relating to DOL’s auditing and processing of PERM applications, including the criteria DOL uses to select cases for audit. When DOL failed to provide any documents in response to his request, Mr. Gluckman retained fellow McCandlish Holton immigration attorney and litigator Mr. Moore to represent him. After more than a year passed without receiving any documents, Mr. Moore filed suit against DOL on Mr. Gluckman’s behalf to compel production of the requested documents.
DOL vigorously contested the lawsuit, claiming that 272 documents were exempt from disclosure (either in full or in part) under the “law enforcement” and “deliberative process” exemptions to FOIA. In extensive briefing and at oral argument, Mr. Moore demonstrated how the claimed FOIA exemptions did not apply to the withheld and redacted documents. He also pointed out flaws in the methodology DOL used to search for responsive documents.
On November 26, 2013, the court ruled in Mr. Gluckman’s favor, rejecting all of DOL’s exemption claims. The court also ruled that DOL had not demonstrated that it had conducted a legally sufficient search for responsive documents in two of its three primary offices.
This decision is a significant victory for “open government” and promises to shed light in an area that has been historically bereft of clear public guidance, ultimately providing substantial benefits to employers and members of the immigration bar nationwide.
A copy of the court’s opinion is available here.
McCandlish Holton is pleased to announce the advancement of two of its attorneys to firm Director. J. Matthew Haynes, Jr., and Alana M. Ritenour were recently elected as Directors of the firm. Matthew is a member of the firm’s litigation department, and Alana is a member of the corporate, real estate and healthcare practice groups. Congratulations, Alana and Matthew!
Samantha Stecker Otero, a member of the McCandlish Holton Employment Law practice group, was featured in a recent Richmond Times-Dispatch article that announced the affiliation of Commonwealth Parenting with the Children's Museum of Richmond. As chair of the board of directors of Commonwealth Parenting, Sam noted that the partnership is a "win-win" that benefits both non-profit organizations. By working with the musuem, Commonwealth Parenting is able to reach a broader portion of the Richmond community. The Children's Museum of Richmond, in turn, will have the valuable educational resources of Commonwealth Parenting, allowing them to improve children's lives by providing quality caregiver education. Originally published on October 4, 2013, the article is available online here.
ROBERT W. PARTIN has joined McCandlish Holton, PC, as Of Counsel.
Rob's practice focuses on domestic law matters, including divorce, property division and spousal support. He has extensive experience with jury and bench trials in courts throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia and was named a Virginia Super Lawyer in Family Law for the years 2011-2013. As a former Marine officer, Rob understands the unique challenges facing military families as they go through divorce, battle custody, decide visitation and divide military retirement. He also has special expertise representing business owners in family law matters.
Rob received his Juris Doctor from the T.C. Williams School of Law at the University of Richmond, graduating magna cum laude.
We are pleased to announce that seven of the firm's attorneys have been selected by their peers for inclusion in Best Lawyers in America for 2014. They are:
Commercial Litigation, Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions - Defendants, and Personal Injury Litigation
Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law
Employment Law - Management, Employment Law - Individuals, and Litigation - Labor and Employment
Health Care Law
Best Lawyers' 2014 Richmond Health Care Law "Lawyer of the Year"
McCandlish Holton is pleased to announce that seven of the firm's attorneys have been recognized as Virginia Super Lawyers for 2013. They are:
In addition, five of the firm's attorneys have been selected as Virginia Rising Stars for 2013. They are:
Dominic Madigan and Matthew Haynes spoke at a Medical Records Law seminar in June, 2013, hosted by Lorman Continuing Education. Dominic spoke on the topic of “The Law of Electronic Medical Records,” and Matthew spoke about “Medical Record Retention and Risk Management.”
McCandlish Holton attorneys Thomas C. Foster and Patricia McCullagh were recently interviewed for an article regarding changes to treatment of recovered funds in personal injury cases. The article discusses the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in US Airways v. McCutchen to permit ERISA employee benefit plans to recoup expended funds from proceeds recovered in personal injury suits. Now published, the article is available online with a subscription to Virginia Lawyers Weekly.
On Friday April 5, 2013, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) announced that the number of H1B “cap” petitions received between April 1-5 exceeds the H1B quota Fiscal Year (“FY”) 2014. As a result, USCIS will conduct a random “lottery” to determine which petitions will be accepted. CIS will first conduct a lottery to choose 20,000 “Advanced Degree” cases for the Advanced Degree quota of 20,000 H1Bs. Advanced Degree cases not selected in this lottery will then be placed in the “regular” quota of 65,000, and the CIS will conduct a random lottery to choose cases for the 65,000 quota.
If you would like more information on this breaking news, please see the "Immigration Updates" section of our Immigration Law webpage.
Michael H. Gladstone, Patricia A. C. McCullagh, and Brian A. Richardson are presenting "The Black, White, and Grey Areas of Ethics in the Insurance Industry" on the 18th floor of the Bank of America building on Tuesday, April 30, 2013 from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Continuing Education Units are available, so register now for this Employment Law ethics seminar.
Attorneys Jessica Trivizas, Jennifer Long, Emily Mathews, and Amanda Tapscott attended LINC training to prepare life planning documents for LINC’s pro bono clients. LINC is a non-profit organization that offers assistance to cancer patients and their families by referral to legal, financial, and community resources. These McCandlish Holton attorneys look forward to assisting LINC-approved individuals with the preparation of wills, advanced directives, and powers of attorney.
As part of the firm’s ongoing commitment to pro bono legal service, McCandlish Holton’s Immigration Practice Group represented an immigrant who fled Iran after being arrested, detained, and beaten because of his participation in the protests following the fraudulent 2009 Iranian elections. This week, we were thrilled to receive his asylum approval, which means he can live in safety and liberty in our great nation.
Alana Ritenour, member of McCandlish Holton's Real Estate and Finance, Business, Health Care, Life Sciences, and Medical Campus Development practice groups, was featured in a recent article in the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Published on March 1, 2013, the article details Alana's work with her husband Rhodes to provide support for people with diabetes in the Richmond area. The Ritenours organized The Diabetes Support Group for Greater Richmond in 2010 and have been successfully running the organization ever since. McCandlish Holton is proud of Alana's dedication to better our local community.
McCandlish Holton is pleased to announce that four of the firm's attorneys have been recognized as Virginia Business Legal Elite for 2012. They are: