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Tag Archives: Attorneys

Criminal Practice – Attorneys – Ineffective Assistance – Evidence – Child Abuse (access required)

State v. Surratt Defense counsel provided ineffective assistance when he failed to challenge a social worker’s testimony that gave the jury the incorrect impression that defendant’s children were removed from her home because of sexual abuse; they were actually removed based on neglect. Defendant is awarded a new trial.

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Criminal Practice – Attorneys – Proceeding Pro Se – Colloquy with Judge – Sentencing – Federal Conviction (access required)

State v. Watlington Despite defendant’s dissatisfaction with his prior counsel and his clearly stated desire to proceed pro se, the trial court erred by failing to conduct the inquiry required by G.S. § 15A-1242. Therefore, defendant is entitled to a new trial on his indictment for habitual felon status.

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Attorneys – Attorney-Client Privilege – Work Product – Waiver – Advice of Counsel Defense – Corporate Sale – Disparate Shareholder Prices (access required)

Richardson v. Frontier Spinning Mills By raising the advice-of-counsel defense as to disparate share pricing, material disclosures in a stock purchase agreement, and otherwise, defendants waived attorney-client and work-product privileges as to (1) the mechanics of and manner in which the stock sale was structured; (2) the manner in which information concerning the sale was disclosed to outside shareholders...

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Attorneys – Withdrawal – Continuance Denied – Domestic Relations (access required)

Skelly v. Skelly A week before trial, defendant told her lawyer that she wished to seek the advice of other counsel, and she asked her lawyer to get her a continuance to allow her time to do so. The lawyer waited until the day before trial to tell defendant that the motion to continue had been denied six days earlier. Contrary to defendant’s wishes on the day of trial, the trial court allowed the lawyer to withdraw and commenced trial with defendant proceeding pro se. Defendant was entitled to a reasonable opportunity to obtain new counsel, which she did not receive. We reverse the Feb. 15, 2010 custody order and remand for further proceedings.

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Criminal Practice – Contract – Bail Agent – Attorneys – Practice of Law – Bond Forfeiture – Motion to Set Aside (access required)

State ex rel. Guilford County Board of Education v. Herbin Filing a motion to set aside a bond forfeiture does not constitute an appearance before a judicial body; therefore, a bail agent is not engaging in the unauthorized practice of law when he files such a motion. We affirm the trial court’s ruling that permits a bail agent to appear pro se to contest a bond forfeiture.

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Attorneys – Tort/Negligence – Legal Malpractice – Landlord/Tenant – Commercial Leases – S.C. Tax Law (access required)

Marion Partners, LLC v. Weatherspoon & Voltz, LLP Hiring a lawyer did not relieve the plaintiff-landlords of the duty to read their lease, especially when the lawyer asked them to read the lease and told them changes had been made. We affirm summary judgment for defendant.

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Attorneys – Tort/Negligence – Legal Malpractice – Civil Practice – Statute of Limitations – Real Property (access required)

Bodie Island Beach Club Association, Inc. v. Dixon Even though, within the three-year statute of limitations, the defendant-attorney allegedly failed to correct previous misrepresentations, a claim for legal malpractice accrues at the time of the attorney’s last affirmative act, not when the attorney fails to act or when the client suffers damages.

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Attorneys – Motion to Disqualify – Former Client’s Claim – Assignment (access required)

International Forest Products Corp. v. Jackson Paper Manufacturing Co. The law firm of McKenna Long & Aldridge, LLP formerly represented Stonewall Packaging, LLC, and Stonewall assigned its claim to one of the plaintiffs herein. Since the duty of loyalty attaches to a client and not to a claim, McKenna Long is not disqualified from representing the defendants in a lawsuit filed by the assignee of the firm’s former client. Plaintiffs’ motion to disqualify McKenna Long and its attorneys from representing defendants is denied. The court grants defendants’ motion for pro hac vice admission of Gregory Brow, Clair Carothers, and McKenna Long & Aldridge, LLP.

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Attorneys – Contract – Fee Splitting – Client Approval – Further Negotiations (access required)

Dunn v. Dart The parties are attorneys who represented some of the plaintiffs in a class action in federal court. Even if the attorneys had reached a final agreement as to how they would split fees - which they did not - any such agreement would be unenforceable because the clients never agreed to it in writing. Defendants’ motion for summary judgment is granted.

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Attorneys – Agency – Contract – Client’s Release – Tort/Negligence – Abuse of Process (access required)

Rodgers v. Preferred Carolina Realty, Inc. When plaintiff released the defendant-attorney’s clients in a state-court lawsuit, plaintiff also released the attorney with regard to the actions the attorney took within the scope of his agency, i.e., his representation of the clients in the settled lawsuit. The court grants the defendant-attorney’s and the defendant-law firm’s motion for judgment on the pleadings.

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