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N.C. Business Court

May 10, 2023

Civil Practice – Summary Judgment – LLC Distributions – Premature Motion

Plaintiffs, minority members of a limited liability company, allege that the defendant-managing member has taken excess distributions from the LLC while withholding distributions due to plaintiffs. Discovery remains pending, information from plaintiffs’ expert was conveyed by way of an unsworn letter, plaintiffs’ affidavits admit they lack information about the exact dates and amounts of distr[...]

May 10, 2023

Insurance – Life – STOLI Policy – Insured’s Options

Even though the insured agreed to buy insurance on his own life simply as a means of making money on the sale of the policy to a stranger, since the insured always had the option of retaining the policy, the policy was not an illegal wagering contract on human life. The life insurance policy issued […]

May 8, 2023

Antitrust – Monopoly Maintenance & Leveraging – Hospital System – Inpatient & Outpatient Care – Surrounding Area

Plaintiffs allege that, even if hospital-system defendants obtained their Asheville-area inpatient-care monopoly legally (largely via the now-repealed Certificate of Public Advantage law), defendants illegally coerced health insurers into including anti-steering provisions in their policies in order to maintain defendants’ monopoly in the “Asheville Region Inpatient Services Market.” Plainti[...]

Apr 4, 2023

Partnerships – Joint Venture – Real Property – Purchase & Sale

Even though plaintiffs have not alleged that they agreed to share in the losses of their partnership/joint venture with defendant Barfield, they have alleged that they agreed to be partners in the buying, holding, operation and sale of real property, and to split profits and share proceeds. At the judgment-on-the-pleadings stage, plaintiffs’ allegations are sufficient […]

Apr 4, 2023

Tort/Negligence – Breach of Fiduciary Duty – Insurance Agent – Ghost Policies – Contract – Merger & Shareholder Agreements

Defendants argue that plaintiff, as an officer of the defendant-agency, breached his fiduciary duty to the agency by issuing false certificates of insurance (COIs). However, plaintiff explains that he issued the false COIs in what he believed was the best interest of the agency. Consequently, there is a genuine issue as to whether plaintiff breached […]

Apr 3, 2023

Labor & Employment – Contract – Restrictive Covenants – Overbroad – Misappropriation of Trade Secrets

In the context of a covenant not to compete, legitimate business interests include protecting the goodwill that arises from a former employee’s contacts with customers and safeguarding the confidential information to which the former employee had access. Here however, the covenant between plaintiff and defendant Gibson – plaintiff’s former employee – is not sufficiently tailored […]

Apr 3, 2023

Civil Practice – Pleadings – Linking Plaintiffs to Claims

In their 84-page complaint, multiple plaintiffs bring claims against multiple defendants. The first 77 pages allege many facts in support of these claims; however, the last seven pages are vague as to which claims belong to which plaintiffs. Although defendants have moved to dismiss, the court deems it more appropriate to require plaintiffs to amend […]

Mar 20, 2023

Civil Practice – Expert Witness – Dismissed Claims

Plaintiff’s proffered damages expert, Scott Barnes, bases his opinions on claims that were dismissed at the summary judgment stage. Such opinions are inherently irrelevant. The court grants defendants’ motion to exclude Barnes’ report and to limit plaintiff’s evidence of damages. The court also grants plaintiff’s motion to exclude defendants’ expert witness. Plaintiff had 18 months [&h[...]

Mar 20, 2023

Tort/Negligence – Misappropriation of Trade Secrets – Compilation – Customer Information

The plaintiff-mortgage company alleges that its spreadsheet of information about past, present and future clients constitutes a trade secret. Although some of this information might be shared with third parties or might otherwise be in the public domain, plaintiff alleges that, over years of doing business, it has expended effort in compiling the particular information […]

Mar 13, 2023

Contract – Shipwreck Salvage – Media Rights – Administrative – Separate Permit

The plaintiff-salvage company argues that, after it spend a decade locating the wreck of the Queen Anne’s Revenge, the parties entered into a contract (the 2013 Agreement) to govern the treatment of the digital media and other matters related to the QAR but that the defendant-agency ignored the terms of the 2013 Agreement and cut […]

Mar 13, 2023

Contract – Real Property Development – LLC Operating Agreement

Even though individual defendant Crider is not a party to plaintiff Mary Annette, LLC’s operating agreement, defendants’ breach of contract counterclaim concerns an alleged breach, not of the Mary Annette operating agreement, but of an alleged oral agreement relating to capital funding of Mary Annette and development of the disputed real property that Crider transferred […]

Mar 2, 2023

Civil Practice – Default – Motion to Set Aside – Pro Se Litigant – Inattention

The court finds unconvincing defendant’s explanation that he did not attend to his obligations as a pro se party because he was on the verge of bankruptcy—such a condition is not an excuse for failure to comply with governing rules. As a pro se litigant, defendant was bound to be aware of and abide by […]

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