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Jury mediation: a new tool to resolve cases (access required)

This one was different. It was a jury mediation, at which both sides gave short presentations of their cases to a group of recruited jurors. The jurors were directed to discuss how they saw the case, specifically focusing on liability issues, including how they would apportion fault.

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June 30 deadline looms to apply for specialty certification (access required)

Lawyers looking to call themselves specialists have until June 30 to apply for state bar certification. This year, there are 10 categories of specialization, with a new one for appellate law. By becoming certified, lawyers are able to show clients they are experts in their specialties. Lawyers can become certified in the following areas: bankruptcy, criminal, elder, family, estate planning and probate, immigration, real property, workers' compensation, social security disability and the aforementioned appellate law.

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Email went too far by bringing up opponent’s daughter (access required)

The lawyer-to-opposing-counsel email was 146 words, and the South Carolina Supreme Court deemed it uncivil because of two that normally would be thought most benign: "daughter" and "child." But the email was blunt, sharply worded. The sender stated he had information that the other attorney's daughter had been detained for buying "cocaine and heroine." He wrote that a child's drug use was "far worse than the allegations your client is making."

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False testimony (access required)

Beneath the surface of what appeared to be a routine driving-while-impaired case in Mecklenburg District Court lay what defense attorneys say is an ugly flaw in the justice system. In an April 15 hearing in front of Judge Sean P. Smith, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Officer Barry D. Grimes testified that he had administered two field sobriety tests, and the driver flunked both. But that wasn't true.

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Former NC justice says high court is ducking constitutional issues (access required)

A former justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court is publicly questioning whether the court has all but shut down as a main appellate route on constitutional issues. From the fall of 2004 through the spring of 2010, the seven justices dismissed 480 of 482 notices of appeal of right to the top court based upon issues involving a substantial constitutional question, according to an analysis by Bob Orr (pictured), who served as a justice from January 1995 through July 2004. Orr also was a recent unsuccessful gubernatorial candidate.

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Dental Board’s suit against FTC dismissed (access required)

A lawsuit the North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners brought in February against the Federal Trade Commission in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina has been dismissed. Chief United States District Court Judge Louise Flanagan dismissed the case on May 3, ruling that the Board's lawsuit sought "to subvert the established administrative review process set forth in 15 U.S.C. § 45, which vests the circuit courts with exclusive jurisdiction to hear the sort of challenges made [in the lawsuit]."

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Rise of ADR means fewer trials, fewer experienced trial lawyers (access required)

For litigants and lawyers, the benefits of formalized alternative dispute resolution in North Carolina trial courts seem to be that rare issue upon which most attorneys agree. But those benefits come at a cost: ADR may be depriving young attorneys of courtroom experience. Charlotte attorney and mediator Wayne Huckel told Lawyers Weekly that more and more attorneys are starting to trust the mediation process to get cases resolved.

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