In a September 22 decision, District Judge David J. Novak denied the bulk of a motion to dismiss a suit alleging that a general contractor had infringed an architectural firm’s copyright on design plans for a brewery and tasting room to be built in Williamsburg. Michael Pellis Architecture PLC v. M.L. Bell Construction LLC, Civil Action No. 3:22CV470 (DJN), 2023 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 169697 (E.D.Va. Sept. 22, 2023)

Plaintiffs who secure a preliminary injunction may now be able to recover attorney’s fees in the Eastern District of Virginia, due to the Fourth Circuit’s departure from its previous position that such plaintiffs are not “prevailing parties” for purposes of recovering attorney’s fees.

It is common in commercial litigation for a company to offer an employee as a witness to testify about the design, capabilities and features of the company’s products or services. Usually, such a witness testifies as a fact witness offering testimony based on his or her personal knowledge under Fed. R. Evid. 602, rather than as an expert witness offering opinion testimony under Fed. R. Evid. 702.

On June 12, Judge Hudson granted an emergency motion to stay arbitration proceedings, pending the court’s resolution of the issue of arbitrability in a case pending in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Richmond Division. See Sauer Brands, Inc. v. Polytrade Int’l, Inc., No. 3:23-cv-181-HEH, 2023 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 135786 (E.D. Va. June 12, 2023). As getting a case in or out of arbitration may be critical in pursuing a merits-based strategy or mitigating against excessive costs, this case provides several key considerations in structuring arbitration agreements and how to procedurally maneuver when one party proceeds to arbitration unilaterally over the other party’s objection.