Virginia State Bar

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Real Property

A Section of the Virginia State Bar.

Meeting Minutes - Spetember 15, 2001

Minutes of the Virginia State Bar
Real Property Section
Board of Governors

Charlottesville, Virginia

The Fall meeting of the Board of Governors of the Real Property Section of the Virginia State Bar was held on Saturday, September 15, 2001, at 10:00 a.m., in Room WB 105 of the University of Virginia Law School in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The following persons were in attendance: Paula S. Caplinger, Christina Meier, Larry J. McElwain, Rick Richmond, Karen French, Steve Romine, Randy Howard, Page Williams, Jay Steele, Lawrence A. Daughtrey, Eric V. Zimmerman, Jim McCauley, Steven W. Blaine, G. Michael Pace, Jr., David Helscher, Rob Pearsall, Chris Dillon, Grice McMullan, Richard Mendelson, Doug Dewing, Steve Gregory. Lawrence Schonberger, Chair, conducted the meeting. Paula Caplinger, Secretary, kept the minutes.

Mr. Schonberger called the meeting to order. (See official Agenda attached.) Mr. Schonberger presented the minutes of the June 15, 2001, meeting of the Real Property Section and upon motion duly made, and seconded, the minutes were unanimously approved as written by those who attended the June 15, 2001 meeting. Those not in attendance at the June 15, 2001 meeting abstained.

Mr. Schonberger gave the financial report. He reported a balance of $21,915.68. He is working to resolve a billing question posed by the National Legal Research Group for services rendered by them in connection with legal research for the 19th Annual Real Estate Practice Seminar.

The next item of business was appointment of new Area Representatives. Upon motion duly made, and seconded, Susan Siegfried and Paul Belgarde were unanimously selected for appointment. The resignations of area representatives, Robin Alsop and Michael Smith were accepted.

Steve Romine and Larry McElwaine reported that the Section's CLE seminars are actively being planned. The Advanced Real Estate Seminar will be held April 12 and 13, 2002 at the Boar's Head Inn in Charlottesville, Virginia. Suggestions for relevant topics are being solicited. The focus of this seminar is more academic than the Section's other seminars. The Seminar Committee is seeking input on topics and speakers for the 20th Annual Real Estate Seminar. They are also exploring whether the Section should have a "combined" seminar with another section at the Annual Meeting in Virginia Beach.

Next, Steve Gregory presented information on proposed changes to the mechanic's lien agent statutes. Changes dealing with procedures to appoint a successor mechanic's lien agent (in the event of death, resignation or incarceration of the named MLA), defining "residential construction" and expanding the Statute to apply to all residential construction had been proposed to the legislature. The recommendations regarding successor mechanic's lien agent procedures passed and the attempt to define "residential construction" and expand the Statute to include all residential construction failed. After discussion by the group, the consensus was that the Section supported an attempt to define "residential construction." However, any attempt to expand the statute to all residential cases was not favored. Steve Gregory agreed to provide the group with the proposed language that will be reintroduced to refine the definition within the Statute of residential construction.

Doug Dewing provided an update on the activities of the Trusts and Estates Section's proposed revisions to Virginia Code 64.1. The major change the Trusts and Estates Section has advanced is the requirement for qualification of a personal representative on every estate. A lively discussion followed at the conclusion of which the group recommended Doug provide the Trust and Estates Section with feedback that the proposed statutory changes as presented are unacceptable to our Section. Upon motion duly made and seconded, the Chair and Doug Dewing were unanimously authorized to engage the services of an academic researcher or the National Legal Research Group to prepare a paper on how the proposed statute will affect real estate practice in Virginia. The paper should specifically address such issues as the title to real estate and finality in ownership. The cost for such research is not to exceed $2500 and the paper is to be available within 90 days. The Chair will invite Jim Cox, a real estate and trusts and estates lawyer from Charlottesville to our January meeting to provide the group with his perspective on the proposed legislation. Doug Dewing also agreed to circulate hypotheticals to the Section that the Trusts and Estates Section had prepared.

Steve Romine presented a report on behalf of the Environmental subcommittee. The new wetlands law goes into effect October 1, 2001. This would be an excellent topic for a Fee Simple article.

Jim McCauley presented a report on behalf of the Ethics subcommittee. Due to a recent case where an attorney conducted a settlement conference, but was not listed as the settlement agent on the HUD-1 Settlement Statement, Jim inquired regarding the Section's sentiments on amending CRESPA to expand the definition of "settlement agent." A discussion ensued during which it was the consensus of the group that it was best not to suggest a change to the definition of "settlement agent." Rather, the group proposed amending Virginia Code 6.1-2.21(d) (2) to include language that fidelity bonds and insurance cover any persons who handle proceeds. This would protect the consumer but not enlarge the definition of "settlement agent." Jim is to prepare a draft proposal to address this issue and circulate it for discussion at the next meeting.

Due to time constraints, UPR 6 was not discussed. Members should review the materials (provided with the agenda at the meeting) and provide written comments to Jim McCauley.

On behalf of the First Day in Practice subcommittee, Rick Richmond reported that he will present the real estate portion of the First Day in Practice Seminar. If Ed Waugaman is willing to pass out information to new admittees, he should be at the session on October 30 at 3:00 p.m.

The membership subcommittee reports that we are still second in terms of section membership, behind only the litigation section. Our membership, however, has slightly declined.

On behalf of the Newsletter subcommittee, the chair reminded those persons writing articles that the deadline for submissions for the Fall issue is October 23, 2001. Possible topics to include in the next issue of the Fee Simple include information on the new wetlands law, UPR 6 and a draft of the proposed changes to the estates section of the Code with a request for comments by real estate practitioners.

On behalf of the VBA forms subcommittee, Rick Richmond reported that the commercial handbook, which was being drafted as a separate volume, is now being consolidated with the residential real estate handbook and one all-encompassing volume covering real estate law will be introduced in Virginia. Rick thanked all persons who have made contributions.

There was no old business discussed.

There was no new business discussed. The meeting adjourned by motion duly made, and seconded, at 12:45 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted,

Paula S. Caplinger Secretary


September 15, 2001
University of Virginia Law School, Room WB105
Charlottesville, Virginia

I. Call to order and welcome

II. Approval of minutes from the June 15, 2001 meeting

III. Financial Report

IV. Area Representatives - Appointments/Resignations

Appointment - Susan Siegfried
Resignations - Robin Alsop/Michael Smith

V. CLE Seminars & Workshop - Steve Romine and Larry McElwain Annual/Advanced/Summer

VI. Report of status of amendments to statutes

Doug Dewing - estates and trusts
Stephen Gregory - mechanics lien agents

VII. Subcommittee Reports

1. Bankruptcy: Stephen B. Wood
2. Current Developments and Legislation: Lucia Anna Trigiani
3. Environmental: Jean D. Mumm
4. Ethics: Susan M. Pesner
5. First Day in Practice: Edward R. Waugaman
6. Housing: Richard B. Chess
7. Information and Technology: Douglass W. Dewing
8. Land Use: Steven W. Blaine
9. Membership: Randy C. Howard
10. Newsletter - the Fee Simple: Lynda L. Butler
11. Small Firm and Sole Practitioner: Allen C. Tanner
12. Title Insurance: Edward R. Waugaman
13. VBA Forms: Joseph W. Richmond, Jr.

VIII. Liaison Reports

Bar Counsel - Ray W. King
Old Dominion Bar Association - Manus E. Holms

IX. Old Business

X. New Business

XI. Adjourn