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Defendant couldn’t take the Fifth and argue contributory negligence (access required)

It's one thing for a client to exercise Fifth Amendment rights in a criminal case. In a civil case, it's another thing altogether. An opinion from the N.C. Court of Appeals last week reiterated in no uncertain terms that a party in a civil case can refuse to answer questions from opposing counsel during discovery, but not without consequences. The issue is relatively rare in civil cases. "But you do encounter it from time to time," said David W. McDonald, one of the plaintiff's lawyers in the case. "I'm surprised it's not used more often in personal-injury cases."

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Feds settle negligent-entrustment claim over ether-huffing marine (access required)

In a negligent-entrustment case that took a turn when discovery revealed new evidence, the U.S. government has agreed to a $6.675 million settlement in a lawsuit filed by families involved in a fatal car crash caused by a Camp Lejeune marine who was high on ether from the base. Plaintiffs' attorney Joseph Anderson said the case took a dramatic turn earlier this year when discovery revealed "an unexpected cache of documents" and he learned that one of the witnesses he was set to depose had evidence showing that military officials knew the marine, Pvt. Lucas Borges, was a habitual substance abuser and had questioned his ability to serve in the military.

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Nurse injured in Durham Freeway wreck settles case for $850,000 (access required)

Defendant-truck driver was driving a 2003 Freightliner tractor pulling an enclosed van semi-trailer north/northwest on N.C. 147 in Durham. Plaintiff Jane Doe, age 60 and an oncology nurse at Duke University Medical Center, was driving her 2000 Toyota Camry on ...

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Scooter rider settles for $775K after drilling truck hit him (access required)

Plaintiff was employed full-time and largely self-sufficient prior to the accident, living independently, with no government assistance or services. Plaintiff was working approximately 40 hours per week for a regional grocery chain, but had no health insurance. Plaintiff rode his ...

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