Author Archives: Sharon McCloskey

Court states the obvious: Get it in writing (access required)


Long before their quibble over a fee split required the attention of the Court of Appeals, Donny Dunn and Hank Dart had worked well together. After the 2003 explosion at the West Pharmaceutical Plant in Kinston, the two joined forces to represent plaintiffs in the ensuing class action, splitting the fees as agreed in a pre-arranged agreement.

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Mishandled art costs Charlotte gallery $80K (access required)


Ben Long, the painter known for his frescoes in churches and building lobbies, including the three-panel piece inside the Bank of America Corporate Center in Charlotte, thought he had a friend in Knox Bridges. The two met while working at Montreat College more than a decade ago, where Long had been painting a fresco and Bridges was raising funds for the school.

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Lesson learned: Make covenants clear (access required)


A restrictive covenant prohibiting the use of lots for business or commercial purposes is ambiguous when applied to owners entering into short-term vacation rentals of their property, a unanimous panel of the Court of Appeals ruled on September 4 in Russell v. Donaldson.

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A haunted case (access required)


Like many, Academy Award-winning filmmaker and former detective Errol Morris has been riveted by the Jeffrey MacDonald investigation and trial – which he describes as an “utter and complete mess.” His new book, A Wilderness of Error, published last week, is the culmination of his own digging through evidence and interviewing witnesses.

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Just look up (access required)

It’s not every day that attorneys take a road trip to the nation’s highest court to argue about bare buttocks. But that’s what Brooks Pierce attorneys Wade Hargrove, Mark Prak, David Kushner and Julia Ambrose did earlier this year in FCC v. Fox, the latest Supreme Court case to address the Federal Communications Commission’s ongoing regulation of indecent programming.

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Friends in high places (access required)

North Carolina state treasurer Janet Cowell hopes to salvage something out of her office’s spectacularly bad bet on Facebook stock: She wants to be the lead plaintiff among all other Facebook investors who say the company misled them about its financial health just before the company’s initial public offering in May.

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Death of a salesman’s overtime


In late June, as anticipation grew for a decision on the Affordable Care Act, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a decision of equal importance – at least to some 90,000 pharmaceutical sales representatives across the country. In a 5-4 ruling in Christopher v. SmithKline Beecham Corp., the court decided that those representatives do not qualify for overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

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Well, give her credit for trying (access required)

After she was fired from the Guilford County Department of Social Services in 1999, Sandra Wilkins sued the agency, claiming that an increased dosage of Adderall for her attention deficit disorder had caused a drop-off in her performance and led to the firing. But the Court of Appeals found four years later that her performance didn’t decline with the new dosage; in fact, after a month on that dosage, Wilkins received the second-highest rating on a job performance evaluation.

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