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Attorneys

Attorneys – Tort/Negligence – Legal Malpractice – Civil Practice – Collateral Estoppel – Statute of Limitations (access required)

Royster v. McNamara In a prior fraud case against the current plaintiff — Kevin Royster — and other employees in a family business, the family’s motion for a new trial was denied, and this court affirmed the denial. However, in the fraud case, both the jury instructions and the new trial motion applied to the family as a group and not to Mr. Royster individually. There was evidence that Mr. Royster had no dealings with the fraud plaintiff. Mr. Royster’s legal malpractice claim against the family’s attorney in the fraud case is not barred by collateral estoppel.

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Attorneys – Tort/Negligence – Legal Malpractice – Civil Practice – Election of Remedies – Settled Claims (access required)

Danius v. Rodgers Even though the plaintiff-clients allege that the defendant-attorney’s negligence caused them to settle their claims against third parties for less than those claims would have otherwise been worth, the clients’ settlement of those claims constitutes an election of remedies and bars their claims against the attorney. We affirm summary judgment for defendants.

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Attorneys – Public Admonition – Multiple Misrepresentations – Criminal Appeal (access required)

In re Liotti A New York lawyer with 33 years’ experience and an “AV rating,” who acted as court-appointed counsel in successfully appealing his client’s sentence for wire fraud and identity theft, has received a public admonition from the 4th Circuit for multiple misrepresentations in his representation of his client on appeal, including an assertion that the trial judge suppressed a letter from an informant.

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Attorneys – Discipline – Censure – Lack of Diligence – Evidence – Unlisted Witness (access required)

North Carolina State Bar v. Hunter The defendant-attorney failed to serve process on a contractor and consultant, failed to have the summonses extended, and failed to answer the contractor and consultant’s complaint; moreover, she failed to file an answer on behalf of the same client in a separate matter. Defendant did not diligently represent her client. We affirm the State Bar Disciplinary Hearing Commission’s censure of defendant.

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Attorneys – Suspension – Reinstatement Motion – Administrative – Regulatory Procedure – Civil Practice – Collateral Attack (access required)

In re Petition for Reinstatement of McGee There is an administrative procedure for having a suspended law license reinstated; it is set out in 27 N.C.A.C. § 01B.0125(b). Petitioner cannot avoid this procedure by simply moving to amend the records of the State Bar to say that his law license had been reinstated and to strike portions of the Bar’s record reflecting otherwise. We affirm the Disciplinary Hearing Commission’s denial of petitioner’s motion to amend the Bar’s records.

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Attorneys – Attorney-Client Privilege – Work Product – Waiver – Advice of Counsel Defense – Corporate Sale – Disparate Shareholder Prices (access required)

Richardson v. Frontier Spinning Mills By raising the advice-of-counsel defense as to disparate share pricing, material disclosures in a stock purchase agreement, and otherwise, defendants waived attorney-client and work-product privileges as to (1) the mechanics of and manner in which the stock sale was structured; (2) the manner in which information concerning the sale was disclosed to outside shareholders...

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Attorneys – Withdrawal – Continuance Denied – Domestic Relations (access required)

Skelly v. Skelly A week before trial, defendant told her lawyer that she wished to seek the advice of other counsel, and she asked her lawyer to get her a continuance to allow her time to do so. The lawyer waited until the day before trial to tell defendant that the motion to continue had been denied six days earlier. Contrary to defendant’s wishes on the day of trial, the trial court allowed the lawyer to withdraw and commenced trial with defendant proceeding pro se. Defendant was entitled to a reasonable opportunity to obtain new counsel, which she did not receive. We reverse the Feb. 15, 2010 custody order and remand for further proceedings.

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Attorneys – Tort/Negligence – Legal Malpractice – Landlord/Tenant – Commercial Leases – S.C. Tax Law (access required)

Marion Partners, LLC v. Weatherspoon & Voltz, LLP Hiring a lawyer did not relieve the plaintiff-landlords of the duty to read their lease, especially when the lawyer asked them to read the lease and told them changes had been made. We affirm summary judgment for defendant.

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Attorneys – Tort/Negligence – Legal Malpractice – Civil Practice – Statute of Limitations – Real Property (access required)

Bodie Island Beach Club Association, Inc. v. Dixon Even though, within the three-year statute of limitations, the defendant-attorney allegedly failed to correct previous misrepresentations, a claim for legal malpractice accrues at the time of the attorney’s last affirmative act, not when the attorney fails to act or when the client suffers damages.

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Attorneys – Motion to Disqualify – Former Client’s Claim – Assignment (access required)

International Forest Products Corp. v. Jackson Paper Manufacturing Co. The law firm of McKenna Long & Aldridge, LLP formerly represented Stonewall Packaging, LLC, and Stonewall assigned its claim to one of the plaintiffs herein. Since the duty of loyalty attaches to a client and not to a claim, McKenna Long is not disqualified from representing the defendants in a lawsuit filed by the assignee of the firm’s former client. Plaintiffs’ motion to disqualify McKenna Long and its attorneys from representing defendants is denied. The court grants defendants’ motion for pro hac vice admission of Gregory Brow, Clair Carothers, and McKenna Long & Aldridge, LLP.

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