The N.C. Supreme Court upholds G.S. § 163-96(a)(2) – which allows small political parties ballot access if they obtain signatures of 2 percent of the number voters in the preceding gubernatorial election – against a constitutional challenge regarding freedom of assembly and freedom of speech. Libertarian Party of North Carolina v. State.
In Kubit v. MAG Mutual Insurance, the N.C. Court of Appeals holds that the duty to defend arises when an insurer receives actual notice of the underlying action.
The N.C. Court of Appeals rules that an attorney may be liable for malicious prosecution initiated by a client, if all elements of the tort are met. Chidnese v. Chidnese.
Other noteworthy opinions
The defendant in State v. Lane read at the third-grade level and suffered from several mental disorders; nevertheless, he was competent to choose to represent himself, says the N.C. Supreme Court.
In the personal injury case of Bain v. Unitrin Auto & Home Insurance Co., the N.C. Court of Appeals requires the plaintiff to pay the fees of an expert whom he hired before a counterclaim triggered his insurer’s duty to defend him.
In a complex real estate development scheme involving limited-time ground leases, a supplier loses its claims of lien on six lots: four were sold free and clear of liens, and two were foreclosed upon by a senior lienholder (the construction loan lender). The N.C. Court of Appeals says the supplier in Pete Wall Plumbing Co. v. Sandra Anderson Builders, Inc. may be able to recover on two of its notices of claims of lien if the lender advanced sums to the contractor after it received the supplier’s notices of claims of liens but before the lender foreclosed on the two lots.
The N.C. Court of Appeals finds no violation of the Eyewitness Identification Reform Act in State v. Boozer. A witness told police he had seen one of the victim’s assailants in The Slammer but could not remember his name. A police officer had the witness look through The Slammer to find the assailant’s photo.
- By TERESA BRUNO, Opinions Editor