NCBA LRS Benefit So Sweet, a Member Just Had To Bring Us Chocolates

The Lawyer Referral Service is one of many benefits available to NCBA members.
Renew your membership before Oct. 31 to stay with the NCBA.

By M’Lea Peak
NCBA Lawyer Referral Service Program Coordinator

Not every attorney on his way to pay a $20,000 bill would have a spring in his step and smile on his face. But when Steve Paul stopped by the North Carolina Bar Center on a sunny afternoon last fall, not only was he smiling, he was also carrying an armload of Godiva chocolates for the NCBA Lawyer Referral Service staff.

Paul was dropping off a remittance fee check representing 10 percent of his share of a medical negligence case that originated with a referral from LRS. Standard operating procedure does not require attorneys to deliver their remittance fee checks in person – or for them to bring chocolates – but the LRS staff is happy to accommodate both practices.

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Case Summary: Watson 2018 – Equitable Distribution

By Ketan P. Soni

Equitable Distribution, Unequal Distribution of Marital Property, Classification, Valuation; COA17-899; August 2018

Dwight Watson v. Gurtha Watson

Wake County

In this nearly 20 year marriage, this case was tried on Equitable Distribution. The court awarded an unequal distribution to Wife, which Husband appealed.

The parties had a home acquired one year before marriage held as joint tenants, which the court found was “separate property” of each of the parties. Despite this classification, the court distributed the entire home to Wife, and the court ordered Husband to pay the HELOC secured by the residence.

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To My Dearest Florence:

By Angela Doughty

The ravaging of my beautiful hometown of New Bern and the decimation of so many wonderful homes and families has broken my heart and irreversibly altered my soul.  The images, videos, and stories cannot do justice to the devastation experienced by those hit hardest. There are not words to express the feelings swirling deep in my heart about the wake of destruction left behind in our communities.

Yet, I am one of the lucky ones.  My loved ones are safe.  My home is habitable with relatively minimal damage. I am left, however, with a feeling of helplessness, of survivor’s guilt, of the desire to assist with more than care packages and donations.

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Welcome To the Bankruptcy Section Blog!

By Anna B. Osterhout

I am pleased to be part of the Bankruptcy Section’s initial blog post. While the Bankruptcy Section’s newsletter, the Disclosure Statement (and before that, the Bankruptcy Lawyer), served us well for decades, I am excited that the Bankruptcy Section has launched a more modern and updated way to communicate with our members. Many thanks to all Bankruptcy Section members who served on the Newsletter Committee or who contributed to the Disclosure Statement over the years!

The newly formed Communications Committee is planning at least two blog posts each month. If you are interested in providing content for the blog, please contact Jennifer Lyday, Communications Committee Chair (

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New Blog Series: Paralegal Spotlight and Paralegal Perspectives

By Mollie Schwam and Alicia Mitchell-Mercer

Greetings from your Communications Committee Co-Chairs, Mollie Schwam and Alicia Mitchell-Mercer. We want to introduce ourselves and provide an update regarding some exciting developments with regards to the Division blog. To promote the Division and its members, we will be adding two new blog series! First, we will be profiling one member of the Division each month in our first new blog series entitled Paralegal Spotlight. Second, we look forward to receiving member submissions regarding a variety of different topics for our second new blog series entitled Paralegal Perspectives. We hope to have both new blog series begin in October. Read more below.

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Welcome To the Bar Year, Education Law Section

By Chad Donnahoo

Welcome to the Education Section! It is an exciting year for the Section and I encourage you to join and get involved.  For those of you that don’t know me, my name is Chad Donnahoo and I am the Chair for 2018-2019.  I work at Campbell Shatley, PLLC in Asheville and our firm specializes in K-12 and community college representation.  Don’t hesitate to contact me should you ever have any thoughts or questions about the Section.  Read more

Case Summaries: August 2018 Unpublished

By Ketan P. Soni

The Unpublished Cases – August 2018

Just because they are unpublished doesn’t mean this blog won’t give them some attention, albeit brief.

Mecklenburg County
This case is about equitable distribution.

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‘Big Pimpin’’ and Moral Rights: A Look At a Ninth Circuit Copyright Appeal

By Michael Garrigan

Shawn Carter, professionally known as rapper and entrepreneur Jay-Z, released the hip-hop track “Big Pimpin’” in 2000. Like many songs in the hip-hop genre, “Big Pimpin’” contains a fair amount of profanity and suggestion. “Big Pimpin’” peaked at #18 on the “Billboard Hot 100” chart. The song also ranks at #467 on Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Songs of All Time.” Producer, Timothy Mosley, professionally known as Timbaland, provided an eclectic sound bed over which Jay-Z could compose—an infectious, exotic flute melody consumed by a Southern hip-hop beat. The flute melody would eventually be the source of an eleven (11)-year legal dispute.

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Representing Employers In the #MeToo Era

By Robin Shea

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reports that it has seen only about a 3 percent increase in sexual harassment charges since the #MeToo movement began roughly a year ago. However, a more significant increase may become apparent in early 2019, after the Agency compiles its charge-filing statistics for the fiscal year that runs from October 1, 2017, through September 30, 2018.

Meanwhile, human rights agencies in several states report that they have seen dramatic increases in the number of sexual harassment charges received.

As a lawyer who represents employers, how can you best ensure that your clients minimize their risks of being targets? First, tell them not to panic. Many of the #MeToo scenarios involve CEOs or other top executives, or uniquely talented creative individuals. It’s difficult for employers to take action against individuals in these categories because they are often the lifeblood of the employer, if not the actual founders. In addition, because of their unique value, they also frequently have contracts with termination provisions that, if exercised, can be prohibitively expensive for the company. The good news is that these individuals represent a small percentage of the population of employees accused of sexual harassment.

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A Family Practice. A Cunning Nurse. Does Section 75-1.1 Apply To Her Conduct?

By Stephen Feldman

North Carolina law prohibits unfair or deceptive acts “in or affecting commerce.”

But “commerce” doesn’t include “professional services rendered by a member of a learned profession.” This quoted language comes straight from Section 75-1.1.

One clear takeaway from this language is that a professional’s treatment of a patient or client doesn’t violate Section 75-1.1. A medical malpractice plaintiff can’t get treble damages.

It’s less clear, however, whether this language applies to claims about conduct between or among medical professionals.

This post studies a recent Business Court decision on that issue. The decision comes from a case styled Alamance Family Practice, P.A. v. Lindley, 2018 NCBC 82 (N.C. Super. Aug. 14, 2018).

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