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Attorneys

Attorneys – Disqualification – Potential Witnesses – Breach of Contract – Anticipatory Repudiation – Real Property (access required)

Braun v. Trust Development Group, LLC The plaintiff-buyer alleged that the defendant-sellers breached the parties’ condo-sale contract by failing to provide architectural plans for a rooftop garden, and the sellers’ defense was that their performance was excused by the buyer’s anticipatory repudiation, based on alleged statements by plaintiff’s counsel that plaintiff could not obtain financing for the purchase. Since plaintiff’s counsel were potential witnesses, the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it disqualified them. We affirm the trial court’s order disqualifying plaintiff’s counsel.

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Attorneys – Contract – Fee Splitting – Client Approval – Further Negotiations (access required)

Dunn v. Dart The parties are attorneys who represented some of the plaintiffs in a class action in federal court. Even if the attorneys had reached a final agreement as to how they would split fees - which they did not - any such agreement would be unenforceable because the clients never agreed to it in writing. Defendants’ motion for summary judgment is granted.

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Attorneys – Agency – Contract – Client’s Release – Tort/Negligence – Abuse of Process (access required)

Rodgers v. Preferred Carolina Realty, Inc. When plaintiff released the defendant-attorney’s clients in a state-court lawsuit, plaintiff also released the attorney with regard to the actions the attorney took within the scope of his agency, i.e., his representation of the clients in the settled lawsuit. The court grants the defendant-attorney’s and the defendant-law firm’s motion for judgment on the pleadings.

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Attorneys – Rule 11 – Sanctions Denied – Fact Investigation – Real Property – Promissory Note (access required)

Ancelmo v. Oliver Plaintiffs told their attorney that they had made all the payments required by an installment sale agreement for a tract of real property, yet defendants refused to release the deed of trust encumbering the property. Plaintiffs said there was no promissory note, and plaintiffs’ attorney made oral and written requests that defendants produce any such promissory note. Defendants failed to produce a promissory note until more than a year after plaintiffs filed this lawsuit for breach of contract, specific performance, and “failure to extinguish proof of indebtedness.”

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Attorneys – Fee Award – ‘Costs’ – Post-Judgment Interest – Unavailable – Trusts & Estates (access required)

Nexsen Pruet, PLLC v. Martin Attorneys’ fees awarded as costs against an estate do not bear interest. We affirm summary judgment for defendants. In 2005, the plaintiff-law firm was awarded $150,259 in attorney’s fees and expenses from the estate of John Van Lindley. The firm received a $150,259 check on behalf of the estate in 2009. The firm sought four years’ worth of interest on the $150,259, but the superior court ruled that an award of attorneys’ fees is an award of costs. Costs are excepted from those parts of a judgment that bear interest. G.S. § 24-5(b).

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Attorneys – Tort/Negligence – Legal Malpractice Claim – Statutes of Limitations & Repose – Domestic Relations – Divorce (access required)

Button v. McKnight. After the client's first wife filed a motion in 2008 for relief from their 2005 divorce judgment, attorney McClain from the defendant-law firm allegedly assured the client that his . . .

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Attorneys – Tort/Negligence – Legal Malpractice – Standard of Care – Statute of Limitations – Damages (access required)

Chase Development Group v. Fisher, Clinard & Cornwell, PLLC. (Lawyers Weekly No. 11-07-0395, 22 pp.) (Sanford L. Steelman Jr., J.) Appealed from Guilford County Superior Court (Catherine C. Eagles, J.). N.C. App. Click here for the full text of the ...

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