Quantcast
Home / Top Legal News (page 200) /

Top Legal News

U.S. Supreme Court hears case involving alleged kickbacks from title insurers  (access required)

At oral arguments two weeks ago, the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court seemed skeptical of a homeowner’s claim that a kickback scheme violated the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act without showing any actual injury was suffered. In First American Financial Corp v. Edwards, plaintiff Denise Edwards purchased a home in Ohio. In the transaction, her settlement agent referred her title insurance to First American Title. Edwards claims that her settlement agent was part of a network of individual title companies that had entered into exclusive referral agreements with First American that involved kickbacks that violated RESPA.

Read More »

Even Supreme Court stumped by telemarketing abuse law  (access required)

The U.S. Supreme Court last week tried to decipher the strange wording of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act to determine if plaintiffs can sue in federal court rather than state court. The act prohibits certain abusive telephone and fax-related practices such as robo-calling, sending unsolicited faxes and making calls using prerecorded messages. The law provides several government enforcement mechanisms as well as a private right of action for citizens, who may seek $500 per violation and treble damages for willful conduct. The act states that such actions “may, if otherwise permitted by the laws or rules of court of a state, [be brought] in an appropriate court of that state.”

Read More »

New direction, same old fighting spirit

After spending the past several years as the founding executive director of the N. C. Institute for Constitutional Law, former Supreme Court Justice Robert Orr is returning to private practice, joining Raleigh’s Poyner Spruill. It’s the next step in the career of a man who shows little interest in retiring and little inclination to retreat from the issues that fuel his passion. And one who, throughout his career, has defied labels and expectations. Although a Republican, Orr opposes the use of economic incentives to lure businesses to the state, and wrote the dissent in the Supreme Court’s decision upholding the use of such incentives, Maready v. Winston-Salem. When he left the bench, Orr took that fight to the Institute for Constitutional Law.

Read More »

Legal battle between Charlotte neighbors ends with odd twist  (access required)

After much legal wrangling in trial and appellate courts, a lawsuit between neighbors in an affluent Charlotte neighborhood has reached an unusual disposition that will benefit college students. At the center of the suit is a $500,000 addition to a million-dollar home in Myers Park. The addition violates the neighborhood’s setback restrictions, prompting a couple living two doors down from the owner of the remodeled home to sue to have the structure razed. But the addition can stay, as long as the homeowner establishes a $50,000 scholarship fund at Queens University of Charlotte, a historic liberal arts school in Myers Park, Superior Court Judge Jesse B. Caldwell ruled Nov. 15.

Read More »

Judge scolds woman for suing ex-husband over family business   (access required)

A North Carolina Business Court judge has rebuked a woman for filing a flimsy lawsuit against her former husband – dismissing the suit and ordering her to fork over more than $20,000 in legal costs to her one-time spouse. Judge John R. Jolly Jr. wrote in a Nov. 22 decision that Jane N. Sutton’s derivative action against her ex-husband was “seriously deficient and subject to dismissal on several grounds.” The most glaring problem: Sutton filed the suit on behalf of Carl L. Sutton Jr.’s tree cutting business, after she had agreed to give up her interest in the company as part of a separation settlement. To file a shareholder’s derivative action, the plaintiff has to be an actual shareholder.

Read More »

Federal civil trials teeter on the edge of extinction  (access required)

In the 12 months ending Sept. 30, 2010, only one civil jury trial took place in federal court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. That wasn’t because of a lack of cases. In fact, there were plenty — 1,780 cases were pending during that time period. The Middle District fared a little better, with four civil jury trials. The Western District saw nine civil jury trials in that period. South Carolina thrived, in relative terms, with 46 civil jury trials.

Read More »

ADA claimants find courts less friendly these days  (access required)

It’s bad enough for Charlotte’s commercial real estate industry. Lenders aren’t lending. Vacancies are still high. And then there’s the ongoing problem of lawsuits alleging that shopping centers, office buildings and industrial parks are violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. “It is troubling because some folks out of Florida, usually Miami or Fort Lauderdale, come up and file a lawsuit claiming their rights under the ADA have been violated,” said John Bowers, a lawyer for Charlotte law firm Horack Talley. Bowers (pictured) is among attorneys who have been hired to defend two clients in the Charlotte area dealing with ADA lawsuits.

Read More »

NC-based institute to take leadership role in forensics technology (access required)

Help is on the way as North Carolina’s embattled state crime lab seeks to put more science into its forensic science. Under scrutiny for forensic errors and misconduct, the state crime lab is under new leadership and is overhauling its policies and procedures, and undergoing legal and scientific reviews. By 2012, the lab should gain two accreditations that are recognized by the academic community and most of its forensic scientists should have their skills tested and externally certified, said George McLeod, who as head of the State Bureau of Investigations oversees the crime lab. “We want to demonstrate that we are committed to the pursuit of justice,” McLeod said.

Read More »

The Achilles heel of e-records (access required)

In a decision likely to add to the legal woes of beleaguered brokerage firm Morgan Keegan, the North Carolina Court of Appeals upheld a ruling by the state’s Business Court that the firm had failed to establish the existence of an investor’s arbitration agreement. As a result, and barring a reversal on further appeal, the case will proceed to a jury trial. The decision in Capps v. Blondeau is significant for other Morgan Keegan investors, who have largely had to confine their claims to arbitration before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), with mixed results. It may also have larger implications as it calls into question Morgan Keegan’s record-keeping and document retention practices – which may be common at other brokerage firms.

Read More »

Landlord not to blame for trailer-park brawl (access required)

The owner of a mobile home park cannot be held liable for a crazed tenant who set fire to a neighbor during a brawl in Gastonia, the N.C. Court of Appeals has ruled. The burn victim, Daniel L. Davenport, argued in a lawsuit that the park owner knew or should have known that his attacker was dangerous and had a lengthy criminal record, but still allowed the man to live on the property. The park owner, Henry Moore, contended that Davenport had contributed to his injuries by choosing to fight with Tony A. Herrin (pictured), the man who lit him on fire. Moore also asserted that Davenport had failed to prove an actionable negligence claim.

Read More »