The Trial Section defends the interests of the Commonwealth and all of its agencies, institutions, and officials in civil law suits. The Section is divided into three Units: The Employment Unit, the Workers' Compensation Unit, and the General Civil Litigation Unit.
The Employment Unit defends traditional employment discrimination actions brought by current or former state employees. The Section’s employment lawyers also consult with agency counsel on personnel/employment matters to avoid litigation. They assist state agencies at hearings under the State Grievance Procedure, and provide training to human resource personnel from state agencies on recent case decisions in employment law, including cases interpreting the Fair Labor Standards Act. They also provide training on new standards for retaliation and sexual harassment under Title VII, and the Virginia Human Rights Act. In addition, the Employment Unit provides legal advice to the Department of Human Resource Management, Department of Labor and Industry, Virginia Indigent Defense Commission, Advisory Council for the Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign, and the Office of Commonwealth Preparedness.
Workers' Compensation Unit
The Workers’ Compensation Unit defends Workers’ Compensation cases involving State agencies. The Workers’ Compensation Unit receives approximately 350 new cases per year and is funded through a Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Human Resources Management.
General Civil Litigation Unit
The General Civil Unit defends the Commonwealth and its agencies and employees in civil law suits. These suits include tort and civil rights claims, as well as constitutional challenges to state statutes. They also include a substantial number of frivolous pro se actions in which the courts expect the Office to provide them the appropriate grounds to allow a proper disposition. The General Civil Unit also monitors cases sent to outside counsel.
The General Civil Unit also provides legal advice to state courts and judges, the Virginia State Bar, Board of Bar Examiners, Virginia Birth-Related Neurological Injury Compensation Program’s Board ("BIF"), and the Commonwealth Health Research Board. The Virginia State Bar refers unauthorized practice of law matters to the Unit for civil prosecution, and the Unit represents the State Bar in attorney disciplinary appeals before the Supreme Court of Virginia. Unit attorneys are also asked to participate in the new judges orientation program.
Rita P. Davis
Office of the Attorney General
202 North Ninth Street
Richmond, VA 23219