A Message from the Chair of the NCBA Government and Public Sector Section

By Mike Thelen

Dear Members of the North Carolina Bar Association’s Government and Public Sector Section (GPS):

Welcome to the Association’s 2019-2020 year!  My name is Mike.  I’m honored to serve as this year’s chair of the GPS Section alongside a formidable and distinguished set of officers and a Section Council, the members of which are LINKED HERE.  I look forward to working alongside our officers, Council members, and committee chairs to deliver to you the value each of you deserve as members of the GPS Section.

As we start the year, I invite you to mark your calendars with and to consider the following opportunities:

If you haven’t yet done so, please renew your Bar Association membership.  As you may know, the Bar Association revised its due structure for this year.  Two of the benefits of that revision are (1) you are entitled to one free Section membership (Can you hear me Irish whispering “GPS”?), and (2) you are entitled to monthly on-demand CLEs from the Expert Series.  Renew your membership now so that you can consume the September CLE before it expires.  You can email membership@ncbar.org or call (919) 677-0561 to discuss your renewal.

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What’s New With Your Workers’ Compensation Section?

By Eleasa Allen

Dear Members of the Workers’ Compensation Section:

It is my honor to serve as the chair of the Workers’ Compensation Section Council for the 2019-2020 bar year.  My goals for our Section include building upon and continuing to develop the social/networking opportunities for the members and identifying a pro bono project for the members to support. Our Section has an outstanding group acting on your behalf as officers, Council members, and committee chairs. A full listing of the Council members and committee chairs can be found on the NCBA’s Workers’ Compensation Section webpage.  Please feel free to reach out to any of the Council members, officers and/or me with any suggestions, questions, or concerns.

The Section Council held its first quarterly meeting on Friday, August 16th at the NC Bar Center in Cary. We have a lot of plans for the upcoming year, and I want to highlight some of those here.

First, in keeping with the goal of providing our members with more social and networking opportunities, Council members Kathleen Quinn DuBois and Julia Hooten, co-chairs of the Membership Committee, are working with other Section members to plan a social event in the Raleigh area for later this fall. Be on the lookout for more details. We hope you will be able to join us!

Additionally, with the leadership of Council members Jeanette Byrum and Sherman Criner, the Section will be hosting a CLE on December 4, 2019 at the NC Bar Center in Cary. The CLE will be a 6-hour program to provide the “basics of workers’ compensation.” This program will be beneficial to all the new attorneys beginning their workers’ compensation practices. It can also serve as a great opportunity to ensure more experienced members can meet the CLE requirements to become a board certified specialist in workers’ compensation. Speaking of CLE, our Section’s Annual Meeting and CLE will be held at the Grandover Resort & Conference Center on February 6-7, 2020. Council member Sarah Blair and Section member Cameron Simmons are in the process of planning this program as well. If you have any interest in presenting at either of these programs, please contact the planners to volunteer. Otherwise, we look forward to seeing you at one, or both, of these great programs!

Also, in case you have not already heard, the NCBA CLE Department is now offering an exclusive member benefit, the Member E-Library. Members can access a virtual collection of past CLE program manuscripts, including access to more than 32,000 pages of content on a wide variety of legal topics. This content can be accessed here, or by navigating to the E-Library from the Members tab on the NC Bar Association home page, www.ncbar.org.

Finally, I encourage all members to get involved in the work of our Section. You can volunteer to serve on one of our many committees by contacting me directly (eallen@robinsonlawing.com). Please also consider volunteering to write a post for the Section Blog. To do so you can contact the Communications Committee co-chairs, Kyla Block (kblock@teaguecampbell.com) and Stase Vonsiastsky (stase.vonsiatsky@oxnerpermarlaw.com).

The Council and I are looking forward to a great year!

Eleasa H. Allen
NCBA Workers’ Compensation Chair 2019-2020

Unplug Social Media? How CJEU’s Fashion ID Ruling Could Affect Your Website


By Sean W. Fernandes

Weeks after the FTC fined Facebook $5 billion and the company entered a $100 million settlement with the SEC, Facebook has once again made significant privacy law news—this time on the other side of the Atlantic.

On July 29, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) issued a significant opinion in the Fashion ID case regarding the use of social media plugins such as the Facebook “like” button.

Although the ruling interprets GDPR’s predecessor, the EU Data Protection Directive, it contains some important takeaways for websites subject to GDPR.


The Fashion ID case arose when a German consumer advocacy organization asserted a claim against online fashion retailer Fashion ID regarding its use of a Facebook “like” button on its website. The claim alleged that the “like” button automatically transmitted personal data from Fashion ID website visitors to Facebook, regardless of whether the visitor had a Facebook profile or clicked on the “like” button, and that Fashion ID failed to obtain the visitors’ consent to, or to notify them about, Facebook’s processing.

In response, Fashion ID argued that it could not be held responsible for data transmitted through the use of the “like” button, as it had “no influence either over the data transmitted by the visitor’s browser from its website” or over whether and how Facebook used that data.

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Business Funding 101: Key Considerations When Funding a Business

By Doug Colvard

BUSINESS FUNDING 101: Key Considerations When Funding a Business

Pursing funding for a business is an exciting process, but can often be intimidating to even the most experienced founders. Although most businesses are initially funded by the personal assets of their founders, most businesses will require some form of outside funding in order to thrive. While there are pros and cons to outside funding, being adequately informed about the different types of financing is crucial, as it will ultimately help a business make the most informed choice on what is right for its specific enterprise.

Ultimately, while there are multiple mechanisms businesses utilize in order to achieve their funding goals, most of them can be condensed into two primary categories: Debt Financing and Equity Financing. Debt financing involves injecting capital into the business by obtaining loans, lines of credit or convertible debt, while equity financing involves selling some form of ownership of the business in exchange for capital. Each of these forms of funding are explained below in further detail.

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Welcome to the 2019-2020 IP Law Section!

By Sarah Nagae

I am excited to start my role as Chair and to be working with a great group of attorneys on the Board, Council, and those serving as Committee Chairs (list here).

Three important notes:

  • Our Annual Meeting will be held on Friday, April 3, 2020 in Wrightsville Beach. Please mark your calendar now and let us know if you have an idea for a topic, would like to be a speaker, or have a speaker recommendation. Our CLE committee co-chairs are Dan Becker (danbeckr@gmail.com), Erica Rogers (ebrogers@wardandsmith.com) and Andy Prokepetz (aprokopetz@cottoninc.com).
  • If you are interested in joining a committee, we would love to have you. View our list of committees and sign up here.
  • You will soon receive a short survey about the types of programming you would like to see this year. Everyone who responds will be entered into a drawing to win one of two $50 Amazon gift cards. We hope that this survey will enable us to understand your interests and preferences so we can plan our programs accordingly.

If you have any questions about the Section or would like to get involved but are not sure where to start, please contact me at sarah.at.ncba@gmail.com or (919) 360-1210.

This Week’s Immigration Updates

By Jennifer Parser

Site Inspections
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has started to make site inspections of employers hiring F-1 students on STEM Optional Practical Training. Usually with 48 hours’ notice, but not necessarily, employers must have a clear game plan in place which includes a designated and prepared company officer to meet with ICE, the employee’s I-983 training plan and other relevant documentation available for the ICE officer to inspect.


Changes in Passport Visa Stamps
US Customs and Border Protection has announced it will stop physically stamping passports of visa holders seeking admission to the US at certain ports of entry. The stamp in the passport shows authorized duration of stay. It is therefore incumbent on the visa or ESTA traveler to access his/her I-94 online. The I-94’s authorized duration of stay controls, not the visa expiration date in the traveler’s passport.

The Year Ahead, from Your New Criminal Justice Section Chair

By George P. Doyle

When I think of those who came before me, I must say that it is a great honor for me to serve as this year’s Chair of the Criminal Justice Section of the NCBA. Other Officers serving you this year are Vice-Chair Sherri Lawrence, a special Deputy Attorney General in the AG’s Office; Secretary Jennifer Martin, chief assistant District Attorney in Forsyth County; and Treasurer Kathleen Gleason, an assistant Federal Public Defender in the Middle District.

Immediate Past Chair Patrick Weede and Rob Heroy, co-Chairs of the CLE Committee, are already working hard to prepare for our annual meeting/CLE, which will be held on January 24, 2020 at the Bar Center in Cary. The topics will cover areas that impact your practice. The evening before is the Smith/Gilchrist Awards Dinner. I strongly urge you to attend this event. I promise you will leave the evening reminded of our noble calling and re-energized for the work ahead.

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Supreme Court Adopts Generous, Secured-Leave Policy To Assist Sleep-Deprived, New Parents

By Beth Scherer

On Thursday, the Supreme Court of North Carolina issued its latest amendments to the North Carolina Rules of Appellate Procedure. The amendments impact word-count limitation applicable to appellate briefs and parental leave.

Rule 3.1 Supreme Court Briefs are Subject to Rule 28(j)’s Word Count Limitation

Historically, word-count limitations have not applied to appellate briefs filed in either direct or secondary appeals to the Supreme Court.  In January 2019, the Supreme Court overhauled Appellate Rule 3.1 to reflect a shift of appellate jurisdiction over a subset of Rule 3.1 juvenile appeals from the Court of Appeals to the Supreme Court.  As noted here, I was surprised to learn during a March 2019 CLE that the Supreme Court was interpreting Appellate Rule 3.1(f) to implement a word-count limitation for Rule 3.1 briefs filed in the Supreme Court.  The September 2019 amendments now remove any doubt: Rule 3.1 briefs filed in either appellate court are subject to Appellate Rule 28(j)’s word-count limitation.

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September YLD E-Blast


September 12, 2019 | Family Law Section Networking Event | Pinehurst | 5:30 pm

September 13, 2019 | Litigation Networking Event | Raleigh | 5:00 pm

September 18, 2019 | Minorities in the Profession Committee Attorney-Student Networking | Campbell Law School | 5:30-7:30pm

September 26, 2019 | Insurance Law Social Event | Cary | 4:00 pm

October 4, 2019 | Member Social | Winston-Salem | 5:30 pm

October 28, 2019 | Lunch with Law Students | Elon University School of Law | 11:45-1:00pm

October 31, 2019 | Lunch with Law Students | Wake Forest University School of Law | 11:45-1:00pm


Minorities in the Profession Committee: The Minorities in the Profession Committee of the NCBA will host an attorney-student networking social at Campbell Law School in downtown Raleigh on Sept. 18 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. The YLD Diversity & Inclusion Committee encourages all YLD members to join MIP for refreshments and the chance to network with fellow legal professionals and law students. RSVP by 5 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 13.

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Oral argument scheduled in hospital-physician “unfair trade” case


By Tara Muller

Heads up, North Carolina hospitals and doctors! On Wednesday, September 30, the North Carolina Supreme Court will hear oral argument in Hamlet v. Hernandez. The Court’s decision may have a significant impact on the way physicians work and negotiate with hospitals in North Carolina, and could have ripple effects extending to employment practices in other industries.


A hospital system hired Dr. Pedro Hernandez as an independent contractor and gave him hospital privileges. The contract had a 36-month term and provided that Dr. Hernandez could choose to become an employee of the hospital 18 months into the contract term.

When his private practice failed, Dr. Hernandez tried to exercise his option to be hired as an employee. The hospital did not send him a new contract of employment but apparently believed that his original agreement encompassed the “employment” option. However, Dr. Hernandez began looking for work elsewhere and shut down his practice more than a year before the end of his contract period with the hospital.

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