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Official Opinions


September 2010 Opinions
Please click on Opinion number to view entire opinion.

Official opinions will be posted as they are issued, generally within 24 to 48 hours. Please check this page at regular intervals to determine whether additional opinions have been issued.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  Official opinions represent the attorney general’s analysis of current law based on his thorough research of existing statutes, the Virginia and United States constitutions, and relevant court decisions.  Official opinions do not create new law, nor do they change existing law.  Creating and amending laws are the responsibility of the General Assembly, not the attorney general.  

Official opinions are legal advice, not personal opinions, and do not reflect the attorney general’s personal views about what the law should be.  Such advice is provided to ensure clients/the requester are in compliance with the law.  While the opinions may be given deference by the courts, they are not binding on the courts.

The official opinions issued by the attorney general are part of the duties of the office (see Code § 2.2-505).  A person authorized by statute, such as the governor, a member of the General Assembly, a constitutional officer, or the head of a state agency, can ask the attorney general for an official opinion on the law. Members of the general public are not authorized to ask for opinions.


Requestor Summary


The Honorable David A. Nutter
Member, House of Delegates
A Town Council may initiate negotiations for the appointment of a town manager without a resolution of the Council, so long as the contract and the appointment ultimately are approved by a vote of the Council.
10-066 The Honorable Bill Janis
Member, House of Delegates

Assignments of medical benefits payable under automobile insurance policies where the policyholder assigns these benefits to a chiropractor who provided treatment covered by the policy are enforceable. It is further my opinion that provisions of insurance contracts seeking to limit or preclude this kind of assignment are unenforceable so long as the assignment does not materially alter the risk or obligation of the insurer.

10-090 The Honorable Ralph S. Northam
Member, Senate of Virginia
Except for employees of the Department of Corrections involved in the care of inmates, and volunteers and members of a bona fide rescue squad who are engaged in the performance of their duties, medical personnel who provide care to inmates are not covered by the enhanced punishment provisions of § 18.2-57.
10-073 The Honorable Clifford L. “Clay” Athey, Jr.
Member, House of Delegates
A sanitary district is limited to operating and maintaining community buildings and recreational facilities that are located within the boundaries of the district, unless it reaches an agreement with another jurisdiction to operate buildings and facilities outside those boundaries.
10-083 The Honorable Terry H. Whittle, Clerk
Winchester Circuit COurt
So long as the information required by § 8.01-449 is contained in the certified copy of judgment from the bankruptcy court, that certified copy constitutes an authenticated "abstract of judgment" for purposes of § 8.01-446, so that the clerk of court is required to docket it according to standard procedures.
10-065 The Honorable Christopher K. Peace
Member, House of Delegates
To the extent § 15.2-2303.1:1 does not impair the contract or vested rights of the zoning applicant, the statute applies to cash payment proffers formed before July 1, 2010 so that a locality may not accept or demand payment of any uncollected cash proffer payments until the completion of a [mal inspection and prior to the issuance of a certificate of occupancy for the subject property, notwithstanding the provisions of any such proffer agreement to the contrary. In addition, this interpretation does not infringe the Contracts Clauses of the United States or the Virginia Constitutions.
10-048 (Reissue)

The Honorable Dave Nutter
Member, House of Delegates

An employee of the local school division may not serve on the school board of which she is an employee.  An employee of the Department of Health may operate a consulting business that specializes in radon testing, as long as the employee does so during nonworking hours in a manner that does not conflict with his responsibilities to the Commonwealth, and the business does not conflict with any Department of Health policies governing outside employment.
10-085 The Hononorable Terry G. Kilgore
Member, House of Delegates

Because a school board consists of those persons who are "duly appointed or elected," a vacancy reduces the number of persons who are duly appointed or elected and, therefore, reduces the number of persons necessary to establish a quorum