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attorney's fees

Jul 27, 2020

Looming loss of job won’t affect attorneys’ fee award

  A family court judge shouldn’t have accounted for the fact that a plaintiff was about to lose her job before deciding whether she had the means to pay for her own attorneys’ fees in a child custody case, a divided North Carolina Court of Appeals has ruled. Jamie Sherrill sought attorneys’ fees after Watauga […]

Sep 19, 2018

Civil Practice – Attorney’s Fees – Frivolous Claim – Contract – Vehicle Repair

Plaintiffs alleged that defendants had failed to make necessary repairs to plaintiffs’ vehicle and had actually damaged the vehicle, and the trial court relied on plaintiff Burton’s affidavit – saying the vehicle was undriveable and had sustained $22,750 in damages – when it denied defendants’ motion for summary judgment. At trial, Burton admitted that the […]

Aug 30, 2018

No attorney fees for licensing board discipline

  Where sentence structure and punctuation cause confusion, the state Court of Appeals stands ready to provide clarity. A three-judge panel did just that recently, unmuddling a comma-heavy statute and holding that state law does not authorize an award of attorney’s fees resulting from a disciplinary action by a licensing board. In the second round […]

Aug 22, 2018

Administrative – Attorney’s Fees – G.S. § 6-19.1 – Statutory Construction

Even though the respondent-board lacked the authority to discipline petitioner for his inspection of a swimming pool heater, G.S. § 6-19.1 does not authorize an award of attorney’s fees resulting from a disciplinary action by a licensing board. We reverse the superior court’s award of $29,347 in attorney’s fees to petitioner. G.S. § 6-19.1(a) provides […]

Jun 14, 2018

Fee orders in family law immediately appealable

Raleigh lawyer Jonathan McGirt waited nearly five years for an appellate court to clarify whether interlocutory orders for attorneys’ fees in family law cases were immediately appealable under the substantial right exception. The exception gives a litigant an avenue to appeal an order that doesn’t completely dispose of a case, but only if the order […]

Jun 7, 2018

Attorney’s fee award vacated for lack of comparables

A divided North Carolina Court of Appeals panel has vacated an attorney’s fee award because the attorney’s affidavit offered no evidence about comparable fee rates in his field of practice, saying that the trial judge who ordered the award should not have relied on his personal knowledge of customary fee rates when calculating the award. […]

May 29, 2018

Domestic Relations – Attorney’s Fees – Child Support – Arrearage – Civil Practice – Appeals

The plaintiff-father failed to pay child support from 2014 until 2016, resulting in an arrearage of $12,483.18 and in the defendant-mother hiring an attorney and filing a motion to show cause. Plaintiff purged himself of contempt by writing a check for $12,483.18; furthermore, defendant’s affidavit showed that her total expenses exceeded her income. These facts […]

Mar 6, 2018

Trusts & Estates – Attorneys’ Fees – Obstructionist Trustee – Egregiousness Unnecessary

Holding: A review of G.S. §§ 36C-10-1004, 6-21(2), and Belk v. Belk, 221 N.C. App. 1, 728 S.E.2d 356 (2012), convinces the court that no finding of egregious conduct is required for attorneys’ fees to be awarded under the Uniform Trust Code. In any event, the former trustee’s obstructionist conduct, leaving the trust’s primary asset […]

Jan 22, 2018

Court: Judges must offer chance to object to attorney fees

RALEIGH (AP) The North Carolina Court of Appeals has ruled that convicted criminals can dispute the cost for their court-appointed attorney with a judge if they’re told to pay up. The court said Jan. 16 that trial judges must tell defendants they can challenge their attorneys’ fees. The court said defendants are told to let […]

Jan 18, 2018

Criminal Practice – Attorneys’ Fees – Defendant’s Right to Be Heard – Evidence – Interrogation Recording – Plain Error Review – Ineffective Assistance Claim

State v. Friend (Lawyers Weekly No. 011-021-18, 13 pp.) (Richard Dietz, J.) Appealed from Catawba County Superior Court (Robert Sumner, J.) N.C. App. Holding: When the trial court is contemplating a money judgment against a criminal defendant for attorneys’ fees incurred by appointed counsel under G.S. § 7A-455, the interests of the defendant and trial […]

Nov 8, 2017

Domestic Relations – Attorney’s Fees – Parties’ Estates – Trial Court Discretion

Schneider v. Schneider (Lawyers Weekly No. 011-332-17, 9 pp.) (Donna Stroud, J.) Appealed from Mecklenburg County District Court (Christy Mann, J.) N.C. App. Holding: In ruling on the plaintiff-father’s motion for attorney’s fees, the trial court said that “the law doesn’t . . . provide for me to consider how much money” the defendant-mother makes; […]

Aug 24, 2017

State to pay $81K in attorneys’ fees for bungled investigation

  When a Virginia police detective’s body and his submerged truck were discovered in a family fishing pond in North Carolina, the state’s chief medical examiner ruled that the manner of death was undetermined, despite overwhelming evidence that it was accidental, according to a judge who later considered the case. The investigation into George Tuggle’s […]

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