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Verdicts & Settlements

Awesome, dude: Skater wins $280K (access required)

When the husband-and-wife owners of Sinister Skate Shop in Lake Norman heard their investor was charged with marijuana possession, they totally bailed on him. Owners Shawn and Jennifer Soules expelled Owen Coumas from the business, but kept his $25,000 investment, claiming he violated the ethics clause in their operating agreement.

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Two missing seats net $575K verdict for buyer of plane (access required)

When NASCAR’s Braun Racing went looking in 2008 for a plane to shuttle pit crews and their families from race to race, it wanted 30 seats. But it fell for a 27-seat 1994 Dornier 328-100 turboprop. When the seller, Concord-based Spitfire Aviation Parts, said that it could add two seats, Braun plunked down $3.625 million for the soon-to-be 29-seater. Only then did the parties learn that installing the seats would cost upwards of $100,000. And when Spitfire balked, Braun sued.

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Bankrupt tobacco company’s settlement hits $10 million, could climb higher (access required)


A few years ago, Calvin Phelps was a cigarette millionaire who bought a Jazz Age palace filled with antiques and stocked his garages with Italian sports cars. Last month, one of Phelps’ Mocksville, N.C.-based companies agreed to pay millions of dollars to escrow accounts it shortchanged in several states, including North Carolina and South Carolina, while Phelps pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges in Mississippi. He could spend more than 40 years in prison and forfeit up to $2 million for dodging $5 million owed on cigarette sales.

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Food-poisoning verdict, $140K award upheld (access required)

Memories of a bad meal, a seven-day hospital stay and a surgeon’s testimony were valid evidence to support a plaintiff who fell ill after eating O’Charley’s chicken in his claim of breach of implied warranty of merchantability, according to the N.C. Court of Appeals.

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Furniture dealer wins $537K counterclaim (access required)

In 2010, St. Louis-based HDM Furniture Industries filed suit in Burke County Superior Court against Utah furniture retailer Hamilton Park for $35,000 in unpaid invoices. It was an unlikely — and as it would turn out, unfriendly — forum for a minor dispute in Utah, as HDM soon found itself not only fighting the retailer’s claims of wrongful termination, but doing so before a jury well-acquainted with the woes of the furniture industry.

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