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Elon, national fraternity not liable in frat-party incident (access required)

Photo by Heath Oldham / Shutterstock.com

John Mynhardt and three friends made a tragic decision when they dropped into an off-campus fraternity house party near Elon University in the wee hours of a Friday night in 2007. While there, Mynhardt got into a dispute with one of the fraternity members, and two men started physically forcing him toward the exit. He claims one of them pushed him to the floor, after which he found he could no longer move his limbs. The two men then dragged a paralyzed Mynhardt by his legs out of the house, compounding the injuries. The paralysis was permanent.

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Young father’s death results in $2M settlement (access required)

Quick investigative work lead to a pretrial settlement and payment of the policy limits of $2 million in a Duplin County wrongful death case. In June 2011, the defendant was driving 63 mph in a 55 mph zone on Highway 117 in Duplin County. He crossed a double yellow line to pass a car stopped in front of him at an intersection and collided head-on with a car approaching from the opposite direction, killing the 21-year-old driver, and injuring his 20-year-old wife and three-year-old daughter.

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Verdict trends: What’s fueling the rise in jury awards? (access required)

The past year saw some of the highest Top Ten Jury Verdicts in recent years, exceeding the previous two years. Are jury verdicts trending higher? How is the prolonged economic downturn affecting juror attitudes, and has any of the public frustration displayed in anti-corporate protests like the Occupy Wall Street movement seeped into jury deliberations?

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Law school websites don’t score well for transparency (access required)

Like most of the country’s law schools, those in North Carolina and South Carolina stumble when it comes to reporting clear and accurate information about post-graduate employment on their websites, according to a new survey by the advocacy group Law School Transparency. The nonprofit policy organization issued the Transparency Index on its website (www.lawschooltransparency.com) earlier this month. The exhaustive evaluation is LST’s latest effort to cajole law schools into providing prospective and current law students with more realistic portraits of the economic conditions awaiting them after graduation.

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Camp counselor’s choking ‘game’ results in $1M verdict   (access required)

When the mothers of Dylan Walker and Austin Maness, then 9 and 12, picked up their sons from Clemson University’s Camp Military Kid — a program held at Camp Bob Cooper in Summerton, S.C. for children of deployed soldiers — something was clearly wrong. Dylan was sitting by himself in the back of an otherwise full cafeteria, his eyes bloodshot. Austin was noticeably irritable. Once home, both boys couldn’t sleep. Dylan was wetting the bed and began sleeping with his mother. Austin was distant and angry towards his mother. Neither would say what was wrong until Austin’s mother caught him strangling his younger brother, then 8. That’s when they learned about Ronald “Eddie” Riley, a17-year old camper who’d been elevated to the role of junior counselor and was in charge of a group of four boys, including Walker and Maness.

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State’s new JNC faces an immediate quandary: More demand for names than supply (access required)

A simple arithmetic problem was the first challenge for members of the state’s new Judicial Nominating Commission: So far, the group has one candidate to recommend for North Carolina’s empty District 11-A Superior Court judgeship. It needs three. The JNC held its inaugural meeting Jan. 18 in the old Senate chambers of the State Capitol in Raleigh. Pictured, former N.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice James G. Exum Jr. addresses the JNC.

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Judge dismisses class action against Family Dollar   (access required)

A U.S. District Court judge in Charlotte has dismissed a class-action lawsuit that accuses the Family Dollar discount-store chain of discriminating against female employees. The plaintiffs in Scott v. Family Dollar Stores, Inc. failed to meet the standard for class claims set by the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Dukes v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Judge Max O. Cogburn Jr. determined in a Jan. 13 order. Cogburn appears to be the first federal judge in the country to interpret the Dukes ruling in a potential nationwide class-action employment suit, according to the head of Family Dollar’s defense team, John R. Wester of Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson in Charlotte. His colleagues David C. Wright III and Adam K. Doerr also represent the company.

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Is this any way to build a road?  (access required)

When Paula Smith and her husband put their house in Winston-Salem up for sale nine years ago, they had plenty of lookers, but no buyers. They couldn’t figure out why, until they learned that the state planned to route the eastern loop of the Northern Beltway close to their neighbor’s house. The neighbor’s property would just be for green space, they were told, so the Smiths figured they’d get a buyer eventually. Two years later, when they tried to sell again, their real estate agent told them that the road had moved. Now it would run right through their house.

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