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Tag Archives: Legislature

Lawyers’ bill would wrest control of closings (access required)

Doing a closing is the practice of law - and it isn't. It depends whom you ask, where you are and which part of a "closing" you're doing. Last week the State Bar council adopted a resolution supporting H. 690, a bill pending in the General Assembly that would "clarify the law with respect to the involvement of attorneys in closings," according to Rep. Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, one of the bill's co-sponsors.

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Bills would bring sweeping changes to workers’ comp system (access required)

North Carolina's workers' compensation system has been around since the late 1920s. Every few decades it gets a bit of an overhaul, with the last one coming 15 years ago. But the renovations anticipated in a Republican-backed bill under consideration in the General Assembly could lead to seismic changes in the system, which is designed to make injured workers whole and prevent lawsuits against employers. Critics of the current system say it can reward people for staying out of work and provides the potential for abuse. But those who support the status quo say the changes being proposed are draconian and would unfairly limit the rights of injured workers.

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Bill would insert committee into judicial elections (access required)

A measure introduced in the General Assembly last week would create a hybrid system of selecting judges that would combine a screening committee with elections by the public - the first system of its kind in the nation. The legislation was crafted by the NCBA Committee for Judicial Independence, co-chaired by former N.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Jim Exum and John Wester (pictured), past president of the NCBA. "This bill, if enacted and approved by the people, will greatly improve the way we select judges in North Carolina," Exum said in a prepared statement.

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Regulators’ nod would bar liability for products (access required)

A sweeping tort-reform bill that would have the effect of preventing product-liability lawsuits in cases where the product got a stamp of approval from government regulators was formally introduced in the state House this week. At a packed hearing, Greensboro attorney Janet Ward Black (pictured) said the product-liability provision in the bill would be the most plaintiff-unfriendly in the country. The bill also incorporates some controversial aspects of a medical-malpractice tort-reform bill under consideration in the Senate.

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It’s official: Good-faith exception part of state law (access required)

As Rep. Paul Stam, R-Wake, sees it, an injustice to the people of North Carolina has been righted with the passage of an act to provide for the adoption of the good-faith exception to the exclusionary rule into state law. "In some cases, a murderer, rapist or drug dealer will not go free. In other cases, like the victim in State v. Carter, an elderly rape victim won't have to testify twice because of an unjust suppression of evidence," Stam said. But Charlotte criminal defense attorney Bill Powers said the rationale for the exclusionary rule is not to protect guilty criminals.

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Bill: FDA approval would bar drug liability claims (access required)

In what plaintiffs' lawyers are calling a "radical" move, House Republicans are pushing for a measure that would give immunity in products-liability cases to pharmaceutical manufacturers so long as a drug was approved by the Federal Drug Administration. The provision says that no manufacturer or seller shall be held liable in a products-liability action so long as the product was designed, manufactured, packaged and sold in accordance with the terms of an approval of a government agency.

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Legislator moves ahead of curve on ‘fracking’ in NC (access required)

State Rep. Mitch Gillespie described his bill to raise bonding permit fees on companies that want to drill for oil in North Carolina as "a one-issue place-holder bill." While that bill, H. 242, is in the House's Standing Committee on the Environment, the Burke County Republican said he will publish a proposed committee substitute addressing the broader issues posed by the process of hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking."

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