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Nobody would want to pay New York prices for a house in North Carolina, and one company certainly didn’t want to pay New York prices for attorneys’ fees awarded in a North Carolina case. That company may now get some ...

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Attorney’s Fees – Parent & Child – Custody & Support – Sufficient Findings – Domestic Relations (access required)

Hennessey v. Duckworth The parties’ consent order did not give either party a win or a loss, so neither party was entitled to attorney’s fees under their separation agreement. However, the trial court’s findings as to the parties’ finances and the plaintiff-mother’s good faith in bringing the custody/support action are sufficient to support its award of attorney’s fees to the mother under G.S. § 50-13.6.

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Attorneys – Fees – Reasonableness – Account Stated – First Impression (access required)

Mast, Mast, Johnson, Wells & Trimyer, P.A. v. Lane Where the plaintiff-law firm regularly billed the defendant-client, and where the client did not object to the amount of the bill and in fact promised to pay as he was able, the attorneys’ fees became an account stated, foreclosing the issue of the reasonableness of the fees. We affirm summary judgment for the law firm.

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Domestic Relations – Parent & Child – Custody – ‘Tender Years’ Evidence – No Presumption – Attorneys’ Fees – Insufficient Findings (access required)

Dixon v. Gordon Even though the defendant-mother and a psychologist testified about the bond between a young child and its mother, there is nothing in the record to suggest that the trial court relied on this evidence in particular in awarding primary custody to the mother or that the court applied the tender years presumption.

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Civil Practice – Appeals – Interlocutory – No Trial Court Certification – Domestic Relations – Alimony – Attorney’s Fees (access required)

Duncan v. Duncan The trial court has ruled that the parties’ 1989 Cherokee wedding was valid and that the defendant-husband must pay the plaintiff-wife alimony; however, the court has not yet ruled on the wife’s request for attorney’s fees, and the trial court did not certify its rulings for immediate appeal.

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Workers Compensation – Attorney’s Fees – Reduced Award – Clerical Error (access required)

Ensley v. FMC Corp. On appeals by both plaintiff and defendant, we find that the Industrial Commission appropriately awarded attorney’s fees under G.S. § 97-88.1, because defendants defended the claim without reasonable grounds. The Commission also reduced those fees appropriately. We remand for correction of a clerical error regarding the date on which disability benefits were to begin.

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Real Property – Condemnation – Abandonment — Attorney’s Fees (access required)

Town of Forest City v. Rutherford Railroad Development Corp. The plaintiff-town was not authorized to condemn the defendant-railroad’s property; furthermore, the town abandoned its condemnation proceedings when the parties stipulated to a dismissal of the condemnation action. Therefore, there were two independent grounds for an award of costs – including attorney’s fees – to the railroad under G.S. § 40A-8(b).

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Civil Practice – Attorneys’ Fees – Baseless Claims – Failure to Withdraw – Unfair Trade Practices – Labor & Employment – Severance Contract (access required)

McKinnon v. CV Industries Where plaintiff persisted in prosecuting his claims well after he should have realized they were baseless, he must pay some of the attorneys’ fees incurred by defendant after the entry of summary judgment.

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