DVPO – Pleading Requirements

By Becky Watts

Martin v. Martin, July 16, 2019, COA 18-465-2 (DVPO, pleading requirements)

At the hearing on Plaintiff’s complaint for a domestic violence protective order, Plaintiff testified about specific incidents that had not been mentioned in her complaint.  Defendant objected to the testimony, but the trial court allowed it and ultimately entered a DVPO which included findings of fact regarding the incidents that had not been mentioned in the complaint.  Defendant appealed.

The Court of Appeals issued an opinion on December 18, 2018.  In that opinion, the Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s order because the trial court violated Defendant’s due process rights by allowing Plaintiff to present evidence of acts that were not alleged in the complaint. Plaintiff filed a Petition for Rehearing, which was granted by the Court of Appeals.

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DVPO – A ‘Bunting We Will DVPO

By Becky Watts

Bunting v. Bunting, July 16, 2019, COA18-839 (DVPO, harassment, legitimate purpose for communication)

Between 2007 and 2012, Plaintiff obtained four DVPOs against Defendant.  Defendant repeatedly violated those orders.  In July 2017, Plaintiff filed a complaint seeking another domestic violence protective order.  In her complaint, Plaintiff alleged that the parties’ custody order included a no contact provision and that in violation of that provision, Defendant sent her six unsolicited text messages and that those messages caused her distress.  In January 2018, the trial court entered a DVPO against Defendant.  Defendant appealed, arguing:

  1. The text messages served a legitimate purpose (discussing the children), so they were not harassing.
  2. There was no evidence Plaintiff suffered emotional distress.
  3. The conclusion of law that Defendant committed acts of domestic violence was not supported by adequate findings of fact because the finding referenced was analogous to a finding of a “vague history of abuse” which cannot support issuance of a DVPO.

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Volunteer Your Time Helping Young Students Realize Their Love of Reading

By Shawana W. Almendarez

The Paralegal Division Council Pro Bono Committee is happy to announce another opportunity for our division members to move with purpose in our community.  The NC Bar Foundation’s (“NCBF”) Lawyers for Literary Program needs reading mentors for the children of North Carolina.  NCBF has the following existing groups in school classrooms in several cities and areas  undertaking this work:  Brunswick County, Greensboro, Charlotte, Chapel Hill, Raleigh, Durham, Goldsboro, Wilmington and Winston-Salem.

Through this program “legal professionals help to improve students’ reading skills and spark their interest in books, civic and history.”  We are looking for volunteers to commit to reading to a child in a classroom for 30 minutes once a week for 4 weeks starting January 2020 ending May 2020.  NCBF provides the books to be read.  If you are interested in volunteering, click the link below to get started:


If your county or city does not have a program listed, do not hesitate to contact Paul Vaughan, Program Coordinator at pvaughan@ncbar.org and become a program coordinator for your county.  Thank you for your support!

Checking In: Oct. 29, 2019


Robinson Bradshaw Hires 10 New Charlotte and RTP Attorneys

Brendan Biffany joins the firm’s Charlotte office. In the past, Biffany worked as a valuation analyst in public accounting. He holds a bachelor’s degree, summa cum laude, from High Point University and a Juris Doctorate, summa cum laude, from Duke University.




Chelsea Evans joins the firm’s Charlotte office. Before joining the firm, Evans clerked for Chief Justice Donald Beatty of the South Carolina Supreme Court. She holds both a bachelor’s degree, magna cum laude, and a Juris Doctorate, magna cum laude, from the University of South Carolina.




Amanda Fannin joins the firm’s Charlotte office, focusing her practice on corporate law. She holds a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from North Carolina State University and a Juris Doctorate, magna cum laude, from Duke University.




Jared Taylor joins the firm’s Charlotte office, focusing his practice on corporate law. Taylor previously worked as an associate at Cravath, Swaine & Moore in New York City. He holds a bachelor’s degree with distinction from the University of North Carolina, a Juris Doctorate from Columbia Law School, and a Master of Laws with merit from King’s College.



Ethan White joins the firm’s Charlotte office. Before joining the firm, White clerked for Chief Judge Louis Bledsoe III of the North Carolina Business Court. He holds a bachelor’s degree with honors from Rollins College and a Juris Doctorate, magna cum laude, from Wake Forest University.




Demi Lorant Bostian joins the firm’s Research Triangle Park (RTP) office, focusing her practice on corporations and individuals in complex civil and regulatory disputes. She holds a bachelor’s degree with honors and highest distinction from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Juris Doctorate from Columbia University.




Monica Burks joins the firm’s RTP office. Before joining the firm, Burks clerked for Chief Justice Cheri Beasley of the North Carolina Supreme Court. She holds a bachelor’s degree, magna cum laude, from North Carolina State University and a Juris Doctorate from the University of North Carolina.




Alexa Fleming joins the firm’s RTP office. She holds both a bachelor’s degree, cum laude, and a Juris Doctorate, cum laude, from Duke University.





Matthew Lenora joins the firm’s RTP office, focusing his practice on corporate law. Lenora previously worked as an associate attorney at Smith Anderson. He holds a bachelor’s with the highest honors from the University of Oklahoma and both a Juris Doctorate and a Master of Laws from Duke University.




Allen O’Rourke has joined Robinson Bradshaw as the co-chair of the firm’s Cybersecurity and Privacy Practice Group. O’Rourke is a former assistant U.S. attorney experienced in criminal and national security investigations, and he has IAPP Certified Information Privacy Professional certifications for both the United States and Europe. He holds a bachelor’s degree, magna cum laude, from Columbia University, and a Juris Doctorate from Harvard University.




Firms Announce Name Change, Appointments

The firm Dungan, Kilbourne & Stahl has recently changed its name to Allen Stahl + Kilbourne after hiring Derek Allen. Allen’s practice focuses on land use and development. Founder Robert Dungan will continue to support the development and expansion of the firm. Phone numbers for the firm and its attorneys will not change, but a new website, asklawnc.com, is currently under construction.



Zachary Anstett has joined the Raleigh office of Cranfill Sumner & Hartzog as an associate attorney in the Workers’ compensation practice. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland and a Juris Doctorate, cum laude, from Campbell University.




Melanie Huffines has returned to Cranfill Sumner & Hartzog, now working in the Wilmington office of as an associate attorney. She previously clerked at the firm while working her way through law school. Huffines’ practice will focus on civil and criminal defense. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Wake Forest University and a Juris Doctorate, magna cum laude, from Campbell University.



John Wright has joined the Charlotte office of Cranfill Sumner & Hartzog as an associate attorney, focusing his practice on employment and municipal law. He holds a Juris Doctorate from the University of Miami.




Lisa LeFante has joined Triangle Smart Divorce, bringing with her over 22 years of family law experience. LeFante is a certified parenting coordinator, and she holds a Juris Doctorate from Cornell University.





Compiled by Sidney Shank, NCBA Communities Administrative Assistant 

Welcome Message from the Co-Chairs

Tawanda Foster Artis

Jasmine McGhee

By Tawanda Foster Artis and Jasmine McGhee

Dear Members of the North Carolina Bar Association,
We are honored and excited to serve as the co-chairs for the Minorities in the Profession (“MIP”) Committee for the 2019-2020 Bar Year.

This committee has a full and rich history in one of our state’s largest voluntary bar associations.  Since 1987, MIP has worked to spotlight and eradicate discrimination and institutionalized racism in the legal profession, to expand opportunities for racially diverse attorneys and law students, and to educate the community at large.  MIP’s focus on addressing issues unique to attorneys and other legal professionals of color and minority law students make it one of the most active and value added committees of the Bar Association.  Our dedicated membership commits their time and talents to our projects and events each and every year.  We thank you for your continued support of this committee and our endeavors.

We have established an ambitious schedule full of impactful programming and events for this year.  Our calendar includes ¡Adelante! Moving Forward on November 2, 2019, the MIP Pre-Law Conference on March 21, 2020, the 1L Summer Associate Program in early 2020, the Diversity & Inclusion Summit on May 15, 2020, annual Legal Legend of Color Awards Reception during the Annual Meeting, as well as other networking events and pro bono programs. We also welcome the opportunity to partner with other Divisions, Sections, and Committees of the Bar Association and interested groups are encouraged to reach out to us at any time!

We know none of this would be possible without the help our invaluable committee members.  We are grateful for the support of our members, our allies, the bar association leadership, and every member of the Bar Association.  We look forward to seeing you all at an MIP event soon.

Best regards,

Tawanda Foster Artis (Tawanda.Foster@ncleg.net) and
Jasmine McGhee (jmcghee@ncdoj.gov)

Co-Chairs, Minorities in the Profession Committee

MacCord’s List: IP News & Notices From Art MacCord

Art MacCord is a patent attorney with 40 years of experience. He keeps an eye on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the U.S. Copyright Office for new rules and practice tips of interest to intellectual property attorneys. Find his latest updates here.

Update on Patent Subject Matter Eligibility

Participate in the Patent Center 2019 Beta release

Copyright Office Submits Proposed Fee Schedule and Analysis to Congress

Changes to the Trademark Rules of Practice To Mandate Electronic Filing (delay in effective date)

New TEAS login requirement


Updated Oct. 29, 2019

A celebration so historic that it belongs in a museum: The North Carolina Supreme Court Bicentennial Gala and Museum of History Exhibit.

By Jeff Kelly

Earlier this year, our Immediate Past Chair Gregg F. Schwitzgebel III wrote about the significant commemorative period for the North Carolina Judicial System and noted that the celebrations for the 200th anniversary of the North Carolina Supreme Court had only just begun.

Throughout 2019, the North Carolina Judicial Branch’s observation of the bicentennial anniversary of the Supreme Court has created several opportunities to showcase the importance of the judiciary and the rule of law through events such as ceremonial sessions, speaking to North Carolinians about civics, and holding oral arguments across North Carolina. Members of the bar have also collaborated to organize several memorable events. Most recently, the bench and bar convened for a spectacular gala hosted by the North Carolina Supreme Court Historical Society. We are also less than a month away from the grand opening of a special exhibit at the North Carolina Museum of History that will celebrate our Supreme Court.

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Riding the Waves of Change: 2019 Legislative Review

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By Christina Cress
Four NCBA Sections are combining their respective experience and subject matter expertise to bring you an informative CLE highlighting this session’s legislative updates.

The Administrative Law Section; Environment, Energy & Natural Resources Law Section; Government & Public Sector Section; and Juvenile Justice & Children’s Rights Section are teaming up to bring you a 6.0‑credit hour CLE beginning at 8:15 a.m. on Friday, November 8, titled “Riding the Waves of Change: 2019 Legislative Review.”  Although it will be available by webcast and On Demand, we encourage you to attend live so that you can enjoy fellowship and networking during breakfast and lunch, both of which are include in your CLE registration.

The content-packed agenda features speakers who are both seasoned veterans on Jones Street and those who are relatively new to lobbying.  The sessions are both broad enough to include tips for all lawyers and practice areas, but sufficiently tailored to provide a specific substantive update on the most salient legislative actions taken this session as well as a general refresher of legislative procedure 101!  Come learn what the North Carolina General Assembly has (or has not) changed and the practical effects of those changes.  Brush up on your legislative procedure knowledge and skills.  Hear about the most debated and followed bills of the current legislative session.

Specific sessions include a Hot Topics Potpourri Panel moderated by Bain Jones, featuring panelists Jack Nichols, Reginald O’Rourke, and Robin L. Tatum.  You also will hear from Karen Brinson Bell, Bob Joyce, Katelyn Love, and Bruce Thompson, II, during our Elections and Redistricting Updates.  Meisha Evans and Nick Fountain will bring you Legislative Process 101.  Dixon Snukals will take you on a deep dive into Environmental and Energy updates.  And LaToya Powell will end the day with an update on Juvenile Justice Reform and Child Welfare Law.

There truly is something for everyone in this CLE – even if not in your specific practice area, then at least in your role as a citizen of the Old North State!  We hope you will join us!

Announcing the 2019 IP Institute for Paralegals! Date: Nov. 14, 2019

By Jake Sullivan

Are you a “new” paralegal looking to learn more and meet others in the paralegal field? Does your work involve trademarks, copyright, or patents? Are you curious to learn more about intellectual property? If so, the 2019 NCBA IP Institute for Paralegals has something for everyone.

The 2019 Institute is being held on Thursday, November 14, 2019 at the NC Bar Center in Cary. Registration opens at 8:30 am and the program begins at 9:00 am. Lunch will be provided to all attendees and is included in the registration fee. The program will adjourn by 4:15 pm.

Attendees will have the option to attend breakout sessions that cover both basic and more advanced IP topics. In addition to providing information about what intellectual property is and includes in the context of the paralegal role, speakers will be sharing updates in the law and information on current intellectual property hot topics. There will also be an afternoon panel with in-house and law firm IP paralegals and attorneys to discuss the industry and what it’s like to be an IP paralegal.

Attendees will be eligible for 6.0 hours of Certified Paralegal Education (CPE), 5.0 hours of General CLE credit, and 1.0 hour of Ethics/Professional Responsibility CLE credit.

This year’s agenda promises to be very engaging and interesting. We hope you can join us!

For a full description of the event and registration, please visit: http://gateway.ncbar.org/store/seminar/seminar.php?seminar=145579

Jake Sullivan is an Intellectual Property Paralegal with Apex Tool Group, LLC and has worked in the private and public sectors as a paralegal since 2008 with a primary focus on trademarks, copyright(s), and most recently, patents. He is a graduate of UNC Chapel Hill (BA 2005), the Meredith College Paralegal Program (2008), and the UNH School of Law (JD 2013). Email: jakersullivan@gmail.com

Using Our Skills to Make a Difference – Pro Bono Month and Domestic Violence Awareness Month

By Larissa Mañón Mervin

 With the welcome of October comes the opportunity to honor National Pro Bono Month and Domestic Violence Awareness Month. While October is the month we choose to bring awareness to these topics, I want to challenge us to think about domestic violence throughout the year and to think about ways we can volunteer with various organizations to bring about the cessation of family violence.

In 2019 alone, we have seen 33 domestic violence homicides in NC so far.[1] Last year, there were 53 domestic violence homicides in our state. [2] Nationally, on average, 24 people per minute are victims of intimate partner violence.[3] Severe physical violence in an intimate partner relationship affects 1 in 4 women nationally and 1 in 7 men nationally.[4] Nationally, 30-60% of abusers also abuse children in the household.[5] These statistics are discouraging and frightening.

So what can we do about it? Sign up to volunteer with Legal Aid of North Carolina! Legal Aid lawyers across the state spend countless hours advocating for survivors of domestic violence as part of Legal Aid’s Domestic Violence Prevention Initiative. An academic study by two economists found that access to civil legal aid was one of the three major factors explaining the 21% decline in domestic violence during the ‘90s. The economists found that access to civil legal aid was more likely to decrease domestic violence than the availability of shelters, hotlines and counseling programs for victims.[6] That’s incredible and you can be a part of that by volunteering to help in whichever capacity you can.

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