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Attorneys – Insurance – Professional Liability – Exclusion – ‘Irrevocably Credited’ – Fraudulent Cashier’s Check (access required)

Lawyers Mutual Liability Insurance Co. of North Carolina v. Mako (Lawyers Weekly No. 14-07-0292, 8 pp.) (Wanda Bryant, J.) Appealed from Wake County Superior Court (Lucy Inman, J.) N.C. App. Holding: The defendant-lawyers’ professional liability insurance policy excluded coverage for ...

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Attorneys – Tort/Negligence – Malicious Prosecution – Civil Rights – Constitutional — Bar Disciplinary Action (access required)

Livingston v. Bakewell (Lawyers Weekly No. 14-16-0133, 16 pp.) (Per Curiam) Appealed from Wake County Superior Court (Donald W. Stephens, J.) N.C. App. Unpub. Holding: Where the disciplinary action against the plaintiff-attorney resulted in an admonition against him for the ...

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Attorneys – Fees – Unfair Trade Practices Claim – Frivolous (access required)

McKinnon v. CV Industries After a full course of discovery, plaintiff was unable to marshal any proof of his claim that, when the parties entered into plaintiff’s severance agreement, defendant did not intend to perform under the contract. Nevertheless, plaintiff continued to pursue this unfair and deceptive trade practices claim after losing at the summary judgment stage; as a result, the court awards attorneys’ fees to defendant.

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Attorneys – Fee Award – Apportionment – Partially Frivolous Appeal (access required)

Church v. Decker Defense counsel informed the trial court that it would be difficult to separate out the time he had spent on the frivolous parts of plaintiff’s prior appeal from the total time he had spent on the appeal; nevertheless, this did not justify the trial court’s award of 100 percent of defendant’s attorney’s fees when this court had found only certain portions of plaintiff’s prior appeal to be frivolous.

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Attorneys – Tort/Negligence – Legal Malpractice – Civil Practice – Statute of Limitations – Domestic Relations – Equitable Distribution – Mediated Settlement (access required)

Podrebarac v. Horack, Talley, Pharr, & Lowndes, P.A. Even though the allegedly unenforceable “mediation stipulations” in plaintiff’s equitable distribution action were signed on April 29, 2009, plaintiff could not reasonably have been expected to discover that the stipulations were defective until April 13, 2012, when his wife’s attorney filed a motion opposing plaintiff’s motion to enforce the “mediated settlement agreement.”

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Attorney’s Fees – Parent & Child – Custody & Support – Sufficient Findings – Domestic Relations (access required)

Hennessey v. Duckworth The parties’ consent order did not give either party a win or a loss, so neither party was entitled to attorney’s fees under their separation agreement. However, the trial court’s findings as to the parties’ finances and the plaintiff-mother’s good faith in bringing the custody/support action are sufficient to support its award of attorney’s fees to the mother under G.S. § 50-13.6.

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Attorneys – Fee Award – Out-of-State Counsel – Higher Rates – Reasonableness – Contempt – Pro Hac Vice Revocation – Contract – Labor & Employment – Tort/Negligence – Unfair Trade Practices – Misappropriation of Trade Secrets (access required)

GE Betz, Inc. v. Conrad When awarding attorneys’ fees at the much higher rate charged by plaintiff’s out-of-state counsel, the trial court must make additional findings which demonstrate why awarding such unusually high fees is reasonable in the community where the litigation took place.

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