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Court: Arbitration agreement not fatally vague (access required)


Last month, the North Carolina Court of Appeals struck down an arbitration clause for being inflexible about the arbitrators to be used. (See “Arbitration agreement proved too specific,” NLCW Jan. 28.) On Feb. 5, vagueness was in vogue at the court as it upheld an arbitration clause in a different case against claims that it was too vague to be enforceable.

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With Big Data come big implications for law firms (access required)


Odds are good that Julie Colgan has more tattoos than you do. Just as good are odds that she knows more about Big Data and how law firms can maximize its use. Colgan is a certified records manager who now helps IBM clients create strategies for technology and information management. Previously, she worked for Nexsen Pruett as director of records and information management. That experience and her leadership in ARMA International, the professional organization for information managers, put her at the forefront of the legal tech field.

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Taxing Delay: Tax reform still unknown (access required)

tax form

Tax reform continues to be the most important legislative issue facing the state’s legal profession this year. But details on the proposal remain scant as lawmakers have yet to file the much-anticipated legislation. The N.C. Bar Association and others who have been paying close attention to recent talk about taxing professional services say there is a very good chance that it will happen this session, ending a long track record of previous attempts that went nowhere.

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Notable defense victories in 2012 (access required)

defense sign

The state DOT wanted to pay for half of a car dealership’s property, but use all of it. It wound up buying the whole thing. Assent Property Management in 2004 bought an eight-acre site along East Independence Boulevard in Charlotte, where it remodeled the existing building and opened a luxury automobile superstore in 2008. The site had considerable frontage of East Independence and five access points.

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Top Verdicts and Settlements: Lucky Thirteen (access required)

Tidal wave of cash

Everyone loves a list, except the people who compile one. That’s because they (and in this case, that means “we”) never quite shake the feeling that somebody or something was inadvertently left off the list. The annual roundup of the previous year’s Top Verdicts & Settlements is, in some ways, an exercise in cat-herding. There are a number of subjective judgments that figure into the process, but the broad outline is this: The list represents the 25 highest dollar-amount awards and settlements, either in a North Carolina court or as the result of work done by a North Carolina lawyer in another state, that have been reported to Lawyers Weekly.

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High court tosses university professor’s libel case (access required)


A North Carolina State University professor trying to sue his supervisor for libel over a bad performance review had his suit tossed out by the North Carolina Supreme Court because the justices didn’t think the complaint was specific enough. The decision creates new precedent about the importance of specifying whether a plaintiff is suing a public employee in her official or personal capacity.

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One heart-balm challenge ends, another begins (access required)

kissing couple

A closely watched constitutional challenge to a North Carolina law that makes paramours liable for wrecking marriages recently came to an anticlimactic end with a settlement. But the fight against so-called “heart balm” torts has been resurrected in a different lawsuit, and dozens of cases statewide once again hang in the balance.

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Road contractor collects $6.5M settlement from DOT (access required)


A letter from the N.C. Department of Transportation secretary to a disgruntled resident helped a contractor win a $6.5 million award in the settlement of a breach-of-contract claim last month. Plaintiff’s attorney Matthew Bouchard said his client first filed a verified claim seeking more than $13 million to recover operating costs lost when completion of a road project the contractor was working on was delayed by more than 600 days. The contractor blamed DOT failures to meet project deadlines for the delay. The DOT rejected the claim so the company filed suit. The parties settled in pre-trial mediation.

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