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Court: ‘Apply’ means apply, get a hearing, get a ruling (access required)

If a client needs a temporary restraining order, get one. If it can't wait until a hearing date, find a judge. "You can find a judge anywhere in the state," said Wilmington attorney Ryal Tayloe of Ward & Smith. "I've heard of stories of judges being called off golf courses and tennis courts to sign an order. I've paid visits to a judge's home to get an order signed." That's what Marlon Goad should have done if he wanted to stop the foreclosure of his Sunset Beach property, the Court of Appeals ruled Dec. 7 in Goad v. Chase Home Finance, LLC.

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McCullough edges Thigpen in instant runoff for appeals court (access required)

In a surprise turnaround, former Court of Appeals Judge Doug McCullough has narrowly edged out Judge Cressie Thigpen Jr., apparently winning the seat. With all 100 counties reporting the results of a second round of ballot-counting, McCullough has a 5,988-vote lead over Thigpen. A spokesman for Thigpen said his campaign will ask for a recount, with a letter being delivered to the state Board of Elections this afternoon.

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Feds settle negligent-entrustment claim over ether-huffing marine (access required)

In a negligent-entrustment case that took a turn when discovery revealed new evidence, the U.S. government has agreed to a $6.675 million settlement in a lawsuit filed by families involved in a fatal car crash caused by a Camp Lejeune marine who was high on ether from the base. Plaintiffs' attorney Joseph Anderson said the case took a dramatic turn earlier this year when discovery revealed "an unexpected cache of documents" and he learned that one of the witnesses he was set to depose had evidence showing that military officials knew the marine, Pvt. Lucas Borges, was a habitual substance abuser and had questioned his ability to serve in the military.

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Doctors, lawyers find common ground helping elderly (access required)

Experts say wariness of medical-malpractice claims and a discomfort that arises from occupations with different bodies of training has historically led physicians and attorneys to operate on separate playing fields. "There's been a mutual suspicion of the other profession," said Dr. Stephen Kramer (pictured), professor of psychiatry and behavioral medicine at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem. "They're both highly traditional and learned professions, and you'd think they'd have a lot in common, but the mindset is very different.

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Ex-Camp Lejeune resident’s cancer claims can proceed (access required)

A lawsuit brought by a woman who was one of perhaps a half-million people exposed to cancer-causing pollutants and contaminants in drinking and bathwater at Camp Lejeune has withstood a salvo of dismissal motions filed by the government. But now a new motion is pending. The plaintiff, Laura J. Jones of Iowa, lived with her husband, a marine, at Camp Lejeune from 1980 to 1983. In 2003 Jones was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. She didn't learn about problems with Camp Lejeune's water supply until 2005.

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Counties still counting votes in 13-way appeals court race (access required)

Court of Appeals Judge Cressie Thigpen Jr. is maintaining his lead over challenger Doug McCullough as workers at county elections boards across the state continue to count second- and third-place votes to determine the winner of the seat that went up for grabs when Judge James A. Wynn Jr. was confirmed to the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. As of Thursday evening, elections officials in 52 of North Carolina's 100 counties had completed their counting. But state elections board officials said they didn't have a good breakdown on which counties were reporting, and it would be impossible to project a winner.

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Novartis hit with nearly $13M verdict in failure-to-warn case (access required)

A federal jury in Winston-Salem has returned a verdict of nearly $13 million against pharmaceutical giant Novartis, saying the company failed to adequately warn patients and doctors about the risks of taking the bone-strengthening drugs Zometa and Aredia. The estate of Rita Fussman of Chapel Hill had sued Novartis after Fussman came down with what at first appeared to be a mysterious jaw disease after she had been taking the drugs for several years. Fussman discovered her complications with the drug when she had a CT scan on her jaw. "The guy said, ‘You have exposed bone in your mouth,'" said Vernon Glenn (pictured) of Winston-Salem, a second-chair attorney for Fussman.

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Commissioner: Dog had no intrinsic value to its owners (access required)

A Jack Russell terrier that died due to the negligence of the N.C. State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital had no intrinsic value to its devoted owners, a deputy commissioner for the N.C. Industrial Commission has ruled. Deputy Commissioner George T. Glenn II awarded only the $2,755 in veterinary bills that were presented to the couple after their 12-year-old dog died in the intensive-care unit of the hospital, saying that the plaintiffs had failed to prove by the greater weight of the evidence that the dog had any intrinsic value.

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Exam jitters could stall specialization plans for some (access required)

Currently, 784 North Carolina attorneys are certified specialists out of the 19,000 active lawyers who are eligible. The prospect of an exam does indeed play a part in an attorney's decision to get certified. Dan Pope, a workers' compensation attorney in Raleigh who was certified as a specialist last year, said the exam "was like one of those law school exams you can't stop thinking about."

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Charlotte-area lawyers sponsor sister city residents (access required)

Charlotte's sister city is Arequipa, Peru. As sisters go, it is anything but the Queen City's twin. With a population approaching 800,000, North Carolina's banking and finance hub is home to skyscrapers, million-dollar condos and swanky mansions and estates fringed with parks and greenways linking neighborhoods with upscale shopping and dining. Compare that to the Alto Cayma settlement on a windswept perch at over 7,500 feet in the Andean highlands on the fringes of Arequipa. It is short on resources, short on opportunities for its more than 30,000 residents and, some N.C. lawyers say, short on hope. Those same lawyers are trying to change that.

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