This year’s list of the largest verdicts and settlements in North Carolina features a familiar issue at the top – a battle over public school funding. A $49 million settlement in a school funding case in Rowan County holds the No. 1 spot this year, following 2013’s top verdict of $91 million in a similar case in Union County.
To be included in our annual roundup, a case must have been decided or settled during the 2014 calendar year, either in a North Carolina court or, if in another state, by a North Carolina-based lawyer. We have also included four noteworthy defense wins in a separate list.
A year ago, we changed our approach to eminent domain cases in our annual top verdicts and settlements list. Rather than noting them as defense wins, we now include them in the main list. Attorneys who practice eminent domain law argued — and we agreed — that their work and the settlement amounts more closely resemble the work of a plaintiff’s attorney. This year, we are sticking to that and have included two multimillion dollar land-taking settlements —both involving the City of Charlotte — in our roundup.
For the most part, we rely on attorneys to report their results to us, though that is not our only source of information. In compiling this list, we scoured the 2014 editions of NCLW and included reports submitted to us in January.
We wish to spotlight success and believe we have compiled a comprehensive list, but we do not claim infallibility. If we have missed something, please let us know so we can revise our online edition.
11. Husband fails to disclose, told to pay ex-wife $4.3M
In 2006, Anita Honeycutt entered into a separation agreement with her husband, Joseph Honeycutt. Nearly two years later, she sued him for rescission of the agreement and after years of legal wrangling, has won a $4.3 million judgment.
In July, District Court Judge Jena Culler signed the judgment that also ordered Joseph Honeycutt to pay nearly $2.8 million in prejudgment interest and more than $157,000 in attorneys’ fees. According to court documents, the judgment was 80 percent of the value of all undisclosed marital assets.
According to Anita’s attorney, Amy Fiorenza of Charlotte, Joseph sold a business and failed to disclose how much money he truly made from the sale, a violation of the disclosure paragraph.
Fiorenza said she expects the judgment to be appealed.
Case name: Honeycutt v. Honeycutt
Case number: 08-CVD-22322
Court: Mecklenburg County
Date of verdict: April 11
Verdict amount: $4,305,400 plus $2,789,427.35 in interest and $157,465.66 in attorneys’ fees
Attorney for plaintiff: Amy Fiorenza of Hamilton Stephens Steel & Martin in Charlotte