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Attorney settles case which alleged she engineered opposing party’s arrest

The divorce attorney and the ex-wife at the heart of Chidnese v. Chidnese, a landmark malicious prosecution claims case, have reached a settlement. The ruling in the case by the N.C. Court of Appeals set a new standard for lawyers’ liability regarding their advice to clients. Asheville attorney Steven Kropelnicki said his client, Kathy Bryan (née Chidnese), recently negotiated a settlement with Diane McDonald, the attorney who represented her husband in their divorce. The amount is confidential, Kropelnicki said.

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Crop-seed patent suit finally bears fruit

The wheels of justice turn slowly indeed. A federal court in North Carolina has awarded over $5.3 million in attorneys’ fees to lawyers for Dow Agrosciences in a case that took 17 years to see from start to finish. Some of the attorneys arguing before the court weren’t even practicing law yet when the case began its journey in October of 1995. The dispute started when Plant Genetic Systems, later purchased by Bayer, received a patent for some insect resistant crop seeds. Bayer sued several companies, including Mycogen Plant Science, now owned by Dow, for allegedly infringing those patents.

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Court says condo owners don’t have to pay hefty assessment

A narrowly divided North Carolina Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the co-owners of a beachfront condo unit who refused to pay a $54,000 assessment for renovations. The owners, led by Charlotte police officer Jeffrey J. Johnson, argued that the condo association of Starboard by the Sea in Ocean Isle violated state law and its own development declaration when it renovated and assessed their building separately from the other 32 buildings in the complex.

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Q&A: The professor of propriety

Every day, attorneys have to face a challenge not present in any other profession — to be adversarial to one another without being acrimonious. So when Lawyers Weekly wanted to get some advice about what lawyers should do to handle firm dissolutions, terminations and other common disputes as professionally as possible, we turned to Ed Gaskins.

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Having it both ways

Trial lawyers throughout North Carolina are calling for legislators to close a loophole in the state law that lets counties, towns, cities and school boards buy liability insurance without losing the protection of governmental or sovereign immunity.

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