By Nate Cook
Elon University School of Law May ’17
Edited by Anthony Rascati, Elon University School of Law Dec. ’17 and Mike Casterlow, Elon University School of Law Dec. ’17
North Carolina State Conference of NAACP v. McCrory, 831 F.3d 204 (4th Cir. 2016).
On July 29, 2016, the 4th Circuit struck down North Carolina’s Voter ID law, finding that the law at issue “target[ed] African Americans with almost surgical precision.” This decision had an immediate impact, as it changed the rules for voting in the 2016 election. While elimination of the photo ID requirement was the most covered and discussed provision struck down by the court, other important provisions were changed by the court’s decision, such as the days allowed for early voting, the use of same-day registration, out-of-precinct provisional voting, and preregistration of 16- and 17-year-olds. To fully understand the gravity of this case, one must look first to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that was passed to prohibit racial discrimination at the ballot box. Furthermore, it is important to understand the effect of the Supreme Court’s decision in the Shelby County case, and how that case has since changed the political landscape for election legislation across the country. As is frequently now the case, North Carolina’s political climate is a microcosm of American politics, where partisanship plays an ever-increasing role. Republican-controlled legislatures across the country have made many recent attempts to change voting and election procedures in the wake of Shelby County, and North Carolina led the march. The 4th Circuit’s decision in this case illustrates how courts may interpret voting rights cases post-Shelby County, and provides insight that is very valuable for anyone interested in American election law and voting rights.
By Anthony Rascati
Elon University School of Law Dec. ’17
Edited by Nate Cook, Elon University School of Law ’17 and Mike Casterlow, Elon University School of Law Dec. ’17
Raleigh Wake Citizens Ass’n v. Wake Cty. Bd. of Elections, 827 F.3d 333 (4th Cir. 2016)
Introduction and Background Information
This case involves the constitutionality of two session laws enacted by the North Carolina General Assembly, Session Law 2013-110 and Session Law 2015-4. On July 1, 2016, the 4th Circuit invalidated two laws passed by the General Assembly that established new districts for Wake County’s Board of Education seats and Wake County’s Board of County Commissioners, finding that the laws violated the one person, one vote principle under the Fourteenth Amendment. While district numbers may never be exactly the same in each district, the court’s decision in this case affirms the principle that “governments must ‘make an honest and good faith effort’ to construct districts as close to equal population ‘as is practicable.’”
By Joyce Brafford
A malicious program called WannaCry has affected more than 200,000 people, businesses and institutions in 150 countries in recent days. Through a bit of luck, an antivirus professional found a kill switch for the primary program. But other variants are still working. Global attacks may have slowed, but they haven’t stopped. Your law firm needs to update its software and get prepared for the inevitable onslaught of similar programs in the future.
Here’s what we know about WannaCry, and what you need to know to stay safe.
Name and Aliases: WannaCry, WannaDecryptor, WCry and WannaCrypt
Operating Systems at Risk: Windows, Windows XP, and Windows Server 2003 and Windows 8. The latest version of Windows does not have the exploited vulnerability. If you are running any of the unsupported systems, or Windows 8, download the security patch immediately. You can find guidance from Microsoft here.
By Russell Rawlings
The original version of this column appeared in the newsletter of the Communications Section of the National Association of Bar Executives (NABE) as a tribute to the young professional women serving on the section’s executive council. The sentiments contained therein, however, also apply to the thousands of working mothers who count themselves among the membership and staff of the North Carolina Bar Association.
My first big boss was a woman. Her name was Elizabeth Swindell, and she owned The Wilson Daily Times. That is where I began my professional career as a sportswriter in 1974 – before many of the women I’m writing about in this column were born.
Miss Swindell, as we knew her, would never weigh more than 100 pounds, yet she remains to this day the toughest woman I ever met. In addition to her duties at the newspaper, she was also a mother, grandmother and, by the time I started working for her, a great-grandmother.
By Sean F. Herrmann
Labor & Employment Law
In the Eastern District of North Carolina, U.S. District Judge Terrance W. Boyle recently granted conditional class certification to call center employees in their FLSA dispute against BB&T. In that case, Sheffield v. BB&T et al. (case number 7:16-cv-00332) plaintiff and the conditionally certified class allege that BB&T failed to pay overtime.
By Laura Wetsch and Faith Herndon
Labor & Employment Law Section
Things have calmed down significantly since the crossover deadline on April 27, and there haven’t been a lot of status changes to the bills that survived. The Regulatory Reform Act (declaring franchisors NOT employers) is now law (S.L. 2017-10), but that’s the only significant change to the bills we’re following. Here’s the updated spreadsheet of legislation.
There likely won’t be another flurry of activity until the General Assembly starts to smell the end of the session looming sometime in June or July, but we will continue to update.
NCBA Health Law Section / N.C. Society of Health Law Attorneys
On behalf of the North Carolina Bar Association Health Law Section’s Legislative Committee, we are providing the following 2017 post-crossover legislative update.
The North Carolina General Assembly has been considering a substantial number of bills of potential relevance to health law practitioners this session. The Health Law Section’s Legislative Committee, with the help of NCBA staff, has been monitoring these bills on virtually a daily basis.
The General Assembly’s rules provide for a “crossover date” during the legislative session, which this year was April 27. The importance of that date is essentially that, with certain caveats, unless a bill has passed one chamber (House or Senate) by the crossover date, the bill will no longer be considered by the legislature. The following listing provides brief descriptions of current proposed legislation, in two categories.
Family Law Section
By Rachel Beard, A.T. Debnam, Daphne Edwards, Rebecca Poole, Jeff Russell and Jennifer Smith
Equitable Distribution; Appeal After Remand; Value Of Marital Residence; Law Of the Case
Lund v. Lund (Lund II), No. COA16-813 (March 21, 2017)
(related Court of Appeals case: Lund v. Lund, __ N.C. App. __, 779 S.E.2d 175 (2015) (Lund I)
Plaintiff-wife appeals from the trial court’s revised equitable distribution order entered after the Court of Appeals remanded for further findings of fact. The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s decision.
By Amy Wallas Fox
For many couples, the only way to build their family is through assisted reproductive technologies (ART) including in vitro fertilization (IVF). With IVF, eggs are retrieved from a woman’s body and fertilized with sperm in the laboratory, creating embryos that are grown for several days outside the body. At that point, many embryos are cryopreserved prior to transfer to a woman’s uterus. What becomes of such embryos if they remain in storage at the time of progenitors’ divorce?
Reproductive clinics usually require couples to sign documents detailing disposition of their embryos in the event of their deaths and in the event of non-payment of storage fees. Clinics may also require agreement between the couple detailing what should happen if the couple divorces or one spouse is incapacitated while embryos are frozen. Options include procreation by one or both spouses, donation to medical research, or thaw and degeneration of the embryos. In California, New Jersey and Massachusetts it is required by statute that the fertility center mandate their patients to agree on disposition in a variety of circumstances, including divorce (See for example, California: Health and Safety Code 125315).
By Nick Brown
Experienced family lawyers are adept at helping their clients secure alimony, child support, property settlements and other financial relief. But what happens to these claims when the party obliged to make payments files bankruptcy?
This article takes a look at how domestic support obligations are treated in a bankruptcy case. The article also highlights some common issues for dispute and ways to protect your client.
What Is a Domestic Support Obligation?
The “domestic support obligation” is a defined term in bankruptcy law, referring to a debt “in the nature of alimony, maintenance or support” that is owed to a current or former spouse or child. In order to qualify, the obligation must be established under a formal agreement, court order or state law.
Common examples of domestic support obligations are alimony and child support. On the other hand, property divisions under equitable distribution orders typically do not qualify. In some instances, the nature of the claim is uncertain which could lead to litigation.