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Medicaid Act may trump state seizure law (access required)

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The justices of the U.S. Supreme Court seemed divided over whether the federal Medicaid Act pre-empts a North Carolina law authorizing the state to recoup as much as one third of any medical malpractice jury award or settlement, regardless of how much of the award was designated for medical expenses.

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Lawyers in the News (access required)

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Michael C. Tarwater Jr. has joined Charlotte’s Horack Talley as an associate with the litigation and real estate groups. Tarwater is a graduate of the Charlotte School of Law and also has a Master of Business Administration from UNC Charlotte’s Belk College of Business.

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Does a 10-time felon get a gun? (access required)

As Congress prepares to debate proposals for new gun regulations in the wake of the Sandy Hook shootings, North Carolina’s courts continue to review whether the state’s existing gun laws square with recent state and U.S. Supreme Court decisions. Most recently, a divided Court of Appeals overturned a Caswell County judge’s ruling that the state’s Felony Firearms Act is unconstitutional, but kept alive one man’s claim that it violates his rights.

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Tried and True yet ignored (access required)

A decade ago, when the SCRAM bracelet first hit the market, the idea seemed revolutionary — a high-tech tool to battle the chronic problem of alcohol abuse. It kept tabs on abusers and helped them stay sober via an electronic anklet that constantly monitors blood alcohol content.

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School principal can’t be sued for fire extinguisher horseplay (access required)

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Usually when someone at a middle school gets in trouble for messing around with a fire extinguisher, you expect it to be one of the students. But a secretary at a middle school in Lenoir will not be able to sue the principal of her school for injuries she suffered when the principal was “joking and horse playing around” with a fire extinguisher that subsequently went off. She claims that the discharge aggravated her rare medical condition, but the North Carolina Supreme Court has held that she will have to file her claim through workers’ comp because she couldn’t prove the principal’s behavior was “willful, wanton and reckless.”

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Think you know the law about bad brake lights? Think again (access required)

brake light

The case of two inept drug smugglers has taken another surprising and far-reaching turn in the North Carolina courts. First, the Court of Appeals ruled that pretty much everyone has misunderstood the law about how many working brake lights a car needs. Now, in the same case, the Supreme Court has ruled that a traffic stop sparked by a bad brake light may be justifiable if the police officer made a “reasonable mistake” about what the law actually says.

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