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Author Archives: Paul Tharp, Staff Writer

Copying error leaves county on the hook for just compensation (access required)

Simply Fashion knew in 2000 when it leased space in Freedom Mall on Charlotte's west side that its landlord was trying to sell the space. That's why the lease provided that either the landlord or its successor could terminate the lease on 120 days notice if the mall were sold and switched to nonretail use. When Mecklenburg County bought the mall in 2007 and converted the space for use by county employees, it offered Simply Fashion $21,813 to terminate its lease early. Simply Fashion refused, so the county moved to condemn the store's leasehold interest. It didn't need to do that, said Charlotte attorney Thomas L. Odom Jr. of the Odom Law Firm.

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Dispute over plasma centers results in $37 million verdict

After two years of litigation and a two-week trial, it took a Wake County jury two days to deliberate a breach-of-contract lawsuit brought by Plasma Centers of America. The wait paid off for Plasma Centers, which sued Research Triangle Park-based Talecris Plasma Resources in 2009 after Talecris sued Plasma Centers' manager in federal court in 2008. A Wake County jury returned a verdict in Plasma Centers' favor on Dec. 13. It awarded the Orange County, Calif.-based company $37 million. Michael Mitchell (pictured), who represented Plasma Centers, said Talecris uses plasma to develop medications commonly used for immunodeficiency and obstetrical illnesses.

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Attorneys could copyright their documents, but should they? (access required)

Of course, lawyers don't need anyone's blessing to copyright their own work. The question is, when they do, are their claimed rights enforceable? The short answer is yes, maybe. Intellectual property attorney John C. Nipp of Charlotte-based Summa, Additon & Ashe told Lawyers Weekly that the requirements for obtaining a copyright are not strict.

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Outgoing Mecklenburg D.A. sued over firing (access required)

Outgoing Mecklenburg County District Attorney Peter S. Gilchrist III was sued Dec. 15 by former Assistant District Attorney Sean P. Smith in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina. Smith was elected district court judge in November. Gilchrist terminated Smith in July after Smith gave an interview to Charlotte's FOX affiliate about a driving school program Gilchrist developed with the Safety and Health Council of North Carolina in the 1990s.

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Real estate lawyers wonder if low rates will resurrect refinancings (access required)

With interest rates at historic lows, homeowners should be rushing to refinance. But that is not happening in North Carolina, real estate lawyers say. Why? According to two large national lenders, a number of factors may be affecting refinancing volume, but the problem may be in part a matter of misperception. Thomas A. Kelly, a spokesman for JPMorgan Chase, said it may be harder for some homeowners to qualify for a refinancing because their income or credit history may have declined. Kelly also cited shrinking home values and tighter documentation and lending standards for the slow refinancing volume.

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Court: ‘Apply’ means apply, get a hearing, get a ruling (access required)

If a client needs a temporary restraining order, get one. If it can't wait until a hearing date, find a judge. "You can find a judge anywhere in the state," said Wilmington attorney Ryal Tayloe of Ward & Smith. "I've heard of stories of judges being called off golf courses and tennis courts to sign an order. I've paid visits to a judge's home to get an order signed." That's what Marlon Goad should have done if he wanted to stop the foreclosure of his Sunset Beach property, the Court of Appeals ruled Dec. 7 in Goad v. Chase Home Finance, LLC.

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Ex-Camp Lejeune resident’s cancer claims can proceed (access required)

A lawsuit brought by a woman who was one of perhaps a half-million people exposed to cancer-causing pollutants and contaminants in drinking and bathwater at Camp Lejeune has withstood a salvo of dismissal motions filed by the government. But now a new motion is pending. The plaintiff, Laura J. Jones of Iowa, lived with her husband, a marine, at Camp Lejeune from 1980 to 1983. In 2003 Jones was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. She didn't learn about problems with Camp Lejeune's water supply until 2005.

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