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Nov 13, 2023

Domestic Relations – Termination of Parental Rights – N.C. Gen. Stat. §7B-1111(a)(11) – Sexually Related Offense – N.C. Gen. Stat. §14-202.1(a)(1) – Indecent Liberties with a Child

The trial court properly terminated Father’s parental rights because Father was convicted of a sexually related offense and because the relations that resulted in the conception of the subject child also led to Father’s conviction under N.C. Gen. Stat. Chapter 14. The trial court did not commit error in terminating Father’s parental rights. Father appealed […]

Nov 13, 2023

Tort/Negligence – Immunity from Liability – N.C.G.S. §122C-210.1 – Gross Negligence

A plaintiff in a malpractice case must allege gross negligence by a covered defendant to overcome the immunity from liability established by the legislature in N.C. Gen. Stat. §122C-210.1. The trial court’s orders denying plaintiff’s motion for leave to amend and for summary judgment in favor of defendants are affirmed. Plaintiff, as administrator of her […]

Nov 13, 2023

Domestic Relations – Child Custody – Motion to Modify Custody – Substantial Change of Circumstances – Previously Disclosed Circumstances – Injuries to Child

The trial court improperly considered previously disclosed, considered, and addressed events when issuing a Second Custody Order. Without the previously considered evidence, the court’s findings were inadequate to support a conclusion that a substantial change in circumstances had occurred. We vacate the trial judge’s order and remand for entry of an order concluding a substantial […]

Nov 13, 2023

Criminal Practice – First-Degree Murder – Premeditation and Deliberation – Acts Subsequent to the Killing – Improper Closing Arguments by the State — Prejudice

Substantial evidence supports defendant’s conviction based on premeditation and deliberation. The trial court did not err by admitting numerous gruesome photographs of the body, and the alleged errors contained in the prosecutor’s closing argument did not prejudice defendant. We uphold defendant’s conviction of first-degree murder. Defendant admitted at trial, through counsel, to having kill[...]

Nov 13, 2023

Corporate – Derivative Claim – Reasonable Expenses – Attorneys’ Fees – Breach of Fiduciary Duty

As plaintiffs’ derivative claim was brought for an improper purpose, plaintiffs must pay defendants’ reasonable expenses, including attorneys’ fees, incurred to defend against the derivative claim for breach of fiduciary duty. We grant defendants’ motion for payment of expenses, including attorneys’ fees, in part. Plaintiffs, shareholders in defendant Blue Gem Inc., a closely held corpor[...]

Nov 13, 2023

Civil Practice – Attorneys’ Fees – Meritless Claims – Lanham Act – North Carolina Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act – North Carolina Trade Secrets Protection Act

Defendants are entitled to attorneys’ fees as plaintiff’s continued litigation of its Lanham Act claim after the close of discovery was objectively unreasonable. We grant, in part, defendants’ motion for attorneys’ fees. Defendants sought attorneys’ fees and costs under N.C.G.S. §§6-21.5, 66- 154(d), 75-16.1, and 15 U.S.C. § 1117(a) on grounds that plaintiff initiated and […]

Nov 13, 2023

Civil Practice – Withdrawal of Summary Judgment Motion – Motion Rendered Moot – Completion of Discovery

Plaintiff’s withdrawal of its summary judgment motion, in reliance on our oral ruling that we would grant defendant’s motion to stay the period within which defendant must respond to the motion, rendered defendant’s motion moot. We deny defendant’s motion as moot. In 2021, defendant Zaelab LLC entered into a signed letter agreement with plaintiffs, limited […]

Oct 26, 2023

Tort/Negligence – Public Official Immunity – Motion to Dismiss – Individual Capacity – Principal as State Employee

The trial judge erred by denying defendant high school principal’s Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss a negligence action asserting public official immunity. We reverse the trial judge’s order and remand for entry of an order granting defendant’s motion to dismiss. Defendant Timisha Barnes-Jones appealed the denial of her Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, in which […]

Oct 26, 2023

Domestic Relations – Equitable Distribution – Classification of Property – Marital Property

The trial court properly concluded the disputed lots were plaintiff’s separate property. Defendant failed to meet his burden to establish a marital component attributable to active appreciation. Furthermore, we affirm the trial court’s classification of the disputed vehicles and marital debt. We affirm the trial court’s equitable distribution judgment. Defendant John Kyle executor of his [&h[...]

Oct 26, 2023

Criminal Practice – Motion to Suppress – Motion to Dismiss – Constructive Possession – Spontaneous Statement

The trial court did not err by denying defendant’s motion to suppress because the trial court’s findings of fact resolved the material conflicts in the evidence and are supported by competent evidence, and those findings of fact support its conclusions of law. Further, the court did not err by denying defendant’s motion to dismiss because […]

Oct 26, 2023

Criminal Practice – Habitual Felon – Sentencing Enhancements – Prior Record Level – Substantial Similarity – Out of State Convictions

The trial court properly concluded federal carjacking is a substantially similar offense to the North Carolina offense of common law robbery, a Class G Felony. Defendant was sentenced as a Habitual Felon at the proper prior record level and has not demonstrated error by the trial court’s classification to warrant re-sentencing. Defendant received a fair […]

Oct 26, 2023

Criminal Practice – Probation Violation – Probation Extension – Good Cause – Active Sentence – Condition of Special Probation

The trial court erred by extending defendant’s probation after his probationary term had expired, absent a specific finding of good cause. Furthermore, the court erred by ordering defendant to serve an active term as a condition of special probation. Accordingly, we vacate the order and remand the case to the trial court to determine whether […]

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