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‘One day at a time’ (access required)

Lawyer Matt Webster huddled with his family in their basement as the tornado barreled through his Joplin neighborhood. "You could hear the freight train," said his wife, Kerry. And as the tornado roared overhead, she heard Matt yelling: "Our home is gone! Our home is gone!"

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Cancer-stricken mom in custody case files appeal (access required)

A Greensboro attorney on Tuesday filed a notice of appeal in the case of Alaina Levane Giordano, a breast-cancer-stricken Durham mother who has been ordered either to move to Illinois to be near the father of their two children or have her custody of them significantly reduced. The case has drawn international attention. Clint S. Morse (pictured), an associate with Brooks, Pierce, McLendon, Humphrey & Leonard, said Tuesday that he is representing Giordano pro bono.

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Cap concerns delaying tort legislation (access required)

Tort reform appears to be thriving in the North Carolina General Assembly, but the opposition has not given up on blocking it in the 2011 session. Todd Barlow, representing the North Carolina Advocates for Justice's Political Affairs Council said, "The NCAJ and other groups concerned about safety absolutely continue to fight for the rights of injured patients. Every day, patients and their advocates are asking legislators to put people above insurance company profits."

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Judge takes setback case to the streets (access required)

A judge will decide as early as this week whether a Charlotte homeowner has to demolish a half-million dollar addition to her Queens Road home. Before deciding, Superior Court Judge Jesse Caldwell (left in photo) said he wanted to see the structure with his own eyes. "Seeing something in person does put a different perspective on it," Caldwell said last Tuesday morning while viewing the structure.

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Royally honored (access required)

Don't solicit gossip about the royal wedding. That was Raleigh attorney H. Martin Lancaster's first lesson as the newest honorary officer of Order of the British Empire. Even as he chatted face-to-face with Prince Charles not one week after the worldwide frenzy surrounding the prince's son's nuptials, Lancaster bit his tongue. The two men stood amid blooming roses and azaleas in the spectacular garden of the British Embassy. Female attendees hatted themselves with colorful fascinators.

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Forsyth County hopes that 4th Circuit is answer to prayers (access required)

The legal battle, in which the county lost its first two skirmishes, renewed May 12 with oral arguments in front of the U.S. 4th Circuit Court in Richmond, Va. The Forsyth County Board of Commissioners invites local clergy to open meetings with a sectarian prayer. But in 2007, Forsyth County residents Janet Joyner and Constance Blackmon filed a federal lawsuit claiming the Board of Commissioners' policy of inviting local clergy members to give invocations at the start of the board's twice-monthly meetings violated the First Amendment's separation of church and state doctrine.

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FTC, Dental Board tussle may land in highest court (access required)

As the collision between the Federal Trade Commission and the North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners unfolds in legal slow motion, Ron Haynes sells teeth-whitening supplies and insists he doesn't understand the fuss. It's a fuss that is taking two routes toward the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals and appears bound for the U.S. Supreme Court. The Board of Dental Examiners says non-dentist proprietors of teeth-whitening kiosks, such as Haynes, are breaking the law by practicing dentistry without a license. A subsection of G.S. § 90-29(b) defines the practice of dentistry to include the removal of "stains, accretions or deposits from human teeth." But Haynes (pictured with employee Kate Law), who runs his Pro White kiosk in SouthPark Mall in Charlotte, told Lawyers Weekly that his employee doesn't remove stains from anyone's teeth. The kiosk merely supplies the materials and equipment for teeth-whitening.

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Lots of jawing, not much enforcement against ‘unlicensed dentists’ (access required)

The math is coldly convincing. A person having a teeth-whitening treatment can spend between $300 and $700 at a dentist's office, or between $100 and $150 with a non-dentist, according to a Federal Trade Commission antitrust complaint filed in opposition to the North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners' cease-and-desist letters sent to about 40 teeth-whitening services. Ron Haynes, the proprietor of Pro White teeth whitening services in SouthPark Mall in Charlotte, said his service comports with state law and offers consumers a low-cost choice. But Raleigh attorney A.P. Carlton, who represents the Board of Dental Examiners, said the real choice was between upholding the rule of law and supporting lawbreakers. The FTC chose the latter, he said.

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Jury mediation: a new tool to resolve cases (access required)

This one was different. It was a jury mediation, at which both sides gave short presentations of their cases to a group of recruited jurors. The jurors were directed to discuss how they saw the case, specifically focusing on liability issues, including how they would apportion fault.

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