Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Home (page 2)

Author Archives: Paul Tharp, Staff Writer

The diminishing value of equitable subrogation Court of Appeals decision latest rejection of lender’s remedy (access required)

Lenders who plead the remedy of equitable subrogation are scratching their heads after the Court of Appeals’ latest rejection of its use in an Aug. 16 unpublished opinion in Countrywide Home Loans Servicing, LP v. States Resources Corp. Equitable subrogation allows a lender to leapfrog ahead of an intervening lien holder to assume the position of first lien holder. The leading North Carolina case, the state Supreme Court’s 1931 decision in Wallace v. Benner, is still good law, but whether equitable subrogation remains a remedy to lenders is another question.

Read More »

CMPD officer pleads guilty in DWI testimony case (access required)

A Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer who allegedly gave false testimony in a driving-while-impaired case in April has pleaded guilty to criminal contempt. Officer B.D. Grimes entered the guilty plea on Aug. 23 before Mecklenburg County Superior Court Judge Richard Boner. Boner had appointed Gaston County District Attorney Locke Bell to handle the case because Grimes’ prosecution by the Mecklenburg County District Attorney’s office would have created a conflict of interest.

Read More »

The buck stops with NFL star  (access required)

Charlotte defense lawyer George V. Laughrun II had never tried a civil case. But when an NFL linebacker asks you to do something, you do it. Three-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman Jon Beason of the Charlotte Panthers hired Laughrun after he was arrested and charged with assaulting a man at a Queen City strip club in November 2009. The District Attorney’s Office later dismissed the case against Beason, but the alleged victim, Greg Frye, sued him for battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Read More »

4th Circuit strikes down hypothetical sentencing enhancement  (access required)

A federal appeals court has ruled that actual time in prison, rather than the maximum amount a defendant could have gotten, should be considered when judges wish to invoke a repeat-felon sentence. Federal prosecutors in 2008 recommended that Jason Edward Simmons be sentenced to 10 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute. Simmons had been convicted in 1996 in North Carolina state court on a similar marijuana charge, which was punishable by more than a year in prison and thus constituted a felony even though he only served probation. Without the prior felony on his record, he would have served roughly half the ten-year sentence prosecutors sought on the federal conviction. Asheville attorney Andrew Banzhoff (pictured) represented Simmons on his appeal.

Read More »

Budget woes force Legal Aid to close offices, cut staff  (access required)

The announcement that Legal Aid of North Carolina is closing three offices and cutting positions didn’t come as a surprise to Kenneth Schorr. Schorr, a Charlotte attorney who is executive director of Legal Services of the Southern Piedmont, said groups like Legal Aid and LSSP are struggling to cope with budget cuts. “We have some of the same funding sources as Legal Aid, but all of our funding sources have been hit,” he said. Legal Aid executive director George Hausen said cuts in money from the state as well as the federal Legal Services Corporation resulted in a $2 million shortfall in the coming fiscal year.

Read More »

New law has civil action for fathers of aborted babies (access required)

A House bill that became law on July 28 after the Senate overrode Gov. Beverly Perdue’s veto contains a new cause of action for fathers of aborted babies. The law, known as the Woman’s Right to Know Act, imposes several conditions on pregnant women and their physicians before abortions can be performed. It also specifically allows the father to bring an action if those conditions are not met. Katherine Lewis Parker of the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina said the intent of the new cause of action was “to scare doctors to prevent them from performing medical procedures that they have a right to perform.” Even if lawsuits are not filed, she said, the threat of litigation will cause doctors to be reluctant to perform abortions.

Read More »

Forsyth County’s pre-meeting prayers unconstitutionally divisive   (access required)

A divided three-judge panel of the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that prayers at Forsyth County Board of Commissioners meetings that mention Jesus and other tenets of Christianity violate the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution. “Sectarian prayer is unconstitutional,” said Katherine Lewis Parker of the American Civil Liberties Union of N.C., who represented plaintiffs Janet Joyner and Constance Lynn Blackmon in their suit against the county. “This serves as a reminder of what the law is. Local and state governments that are violating the law will have to come into compliance,” Parker said.

Read More »

Jury awards woman who lost two fingers in wreck $4.275 million  (access required)

In this economic climate, even a seasoned lawyer like Earl Taylor worries whether a jury will respond to a really good case. In the case of Rebecca Batchelor, Taylor discovered it will. A Wilson County jury awarded Batchelor $4 million after a June trial. Superior Court Judge Clifton W. Everett Jr. entered a judgment in that amount on June 27.

Read More »

Kin of woman killed in motorcycle crash settle for $256,200 (access required)

Valuing the wrongful death case off Maxine Sweatt, a 67-year-old technologist at a hospital blood bank, proved difficult for Winston-Salem attorney Eliot Fus. Sweatt died on Oct.10, 2010, after a motor vehicle accident in Surry County. Lakyn Ashli Webb’s vehicle struck Sweatt’s motorcycle from behind, killing Sweatt. Webb later admitted responsibility for a related traffic infraction. Sweatt’s next of kin were a sister and two half-sisters, and they lived in other parts of the country.

Read More »

NC man separated from wife because feds can’t decide whether he’s married (access required)

A Hillsborough man who married his Indonesian bride in an Islamic ceremony in Jakarta in 2008 has been separated from her and his U.S.-born son because the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security can’t agree on whether he’s married. The Republic of Indonesia’s Department of Religion, Office of Religious Affairs, declared that as of July 12, 2008, there was an “authenticated covenant of marriage” between the man – David Rowe – and Indonesia native Tri Aminudin (pictured with their son, Sean).

Read More »