In a civil commitment hearing like In re Watson, the N.C. Court of Appeals says the trial just must conduct a thorough inquiry into a respondent’s competency to represent himself before allowing the respondent to proceed pro se.
Although the N.C. Court of Appeals has upheld health insurance as part of alimony without comment in prior cases, in Lucas v. Lucas, the court explicitly rules that, like other types of insurance, health insurance can be included in alimony.
Compensation in § 22 of the Longshore & Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act doesn’t include the payment of medical benefits. Wheeler v. Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co. 4th Circuit.
In Levin v. Alms & Associates Inc., the 4th Circuit joins the majority of courts of appeals to hold that a district court loses jurisdiction over the underlying claims when a party appeals the district court’s ruling on arbitrability.
Other notable decisions
The independence principle prevents a French bank from relying on the forum-selection clause (naming Geneva, Switzerland) in plaintiff’s letter of credit agreement with a Swiss bank. Speedway Motorsports v. Bronwen Energy (Lawyers Weekly No. 11-07-0151) N.C. Court of Appeals.
N.C. courts can’t exercise personal jurisdiction over a Swiss bank on the basis of exhibits that were incorporated by reference into the bank’s demand guarantee with an N.C. company. Although the exhibits were contracts which featured an N.C. forum selection, the exhibits were incorporated by reference simply to identify the contracts that were the subject of the demand guarantee. Speedway Motorsports v. Bronwen Energy (Lawyers Weekly No. 11-07-0150) N.C. Court of Appeals.
The sailor in Gordon v. Pete’s Auto Service of Denbigh Inc. can sue for damages from the towing company that allegedly towed and sold his SUV while he was deployed, despite the fact that the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act did not include a private right of action until after the sailor’s suit was dismissed by the district court. Congress made its amendment to the SCRA retroactive. The 4th Circuit says the garage’s rights are not violated by the retroactivity because the sailor could have sued for the same damages in state court under state law before the SCRA was amended.
By TERESA BRUNO, Opinions Editor