Case Law Updates – 3rd party custody

By Becky Watts

Chávez v. Wadlington, September 27, 2019, NC Supreme Court No. 366A18

October 2, 2018, COA 18-93 (third party custody, standing)

Mother and Father were separated and had an informal custody schedule wherein the children lived with Mother and visited with Father.  Plaintiff and Mother were in a multi-year relationship and during that relationship, Mother asked Plaintiff to act as a second Mother to the children.  Plaintiff acted as a second mother for about 7 years, taking on all of the responsibilities a parent would take on.  When Plaintiff and Mother broke up, Plaintiff attempted to communicate with Mother about seeing the children, but Mother refused to respond.  Finally, about a year after the breakup, Plaintiff initiated a custody action against Mother and Father. Neither Mother nor Father filed an Answer and neither responded to Plaintiff’s request for admissions.  Partway through the temporary custody hearing, Mother and Father filed a motion to dismiss Plaintiff’s complaint for lack of standing.  The trial court took limited testimony before ruling on the motion to dismiss but would not allow Plaintiff to present all of her evidence against the motion.  The trial court dismissed Plaintiff’s claim, in part because the trial court felt that at the time Plaintiff filed her complaint, she did not have the requisite relationship with the children.  Plaintiff appealed to the Court of Appeals.

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Choice of Law in Coverage Disputes

By Alan M. Ruley

Choice of law is often an important issue in insurance coverage disputes.  Both policy holders and insurers will argue for application of the law of a State that they deem most favorable to their position.  Judge Gale of the Business Court recently had an opportunity to consider that issue in American Realty Advisors, et al. v. Lexington Insurance Company, et al., No. 18CVS5171, Wake County.

The Plaintiff in American Realty Advisors owned property in Cary, North Carolina.  Four insurers, including Lexington, provided coverage for the property.

Construction of the property was completed in early 2007, and the plaintiff purchased the property shortly before construction was complete.  Upon purchase of the property in 2007, it was covered by a 2006-2007 “All Risk” commercial property insurance policy from Lexington, as well as substantially similar follow-form excess policies, combining for a total of $25 million in coverage.  The 2006-2007 policies – – which were the policies at issue in the case – – did not include a mandatory choice of law provision.  The policies for the following years did include a mandatory choice of law provision, providing for the application of California law.

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By Stephanie Elliott

What I am thankful for? It’s easy to look around me and see a wonderful life. I have a safe and secure home, with a husband and son that love me. I am rich with friends who support, love and encourage me. I have a great job with a firm that appreciates my contributions to my team and supports me personally and professionally. I am an active member of a thriving church that allows me to practice my faith through music and service to my community. I am offered many volunteer opportunities and serve on boards with people that help me see the bigger picture of life. These are all easy things that I should be grateful to have every day. What else in my life is there to be grateful for?

I am grateful for the days when I struggle. These days teach me that I have to get up every day with the mindset to work hard and believe in myself. I changed firms this year, and for the first few months I was overwhelmed with learning the new cases and how to work within them. Almost a year later, I am happy and fulfilled. Those moments of insecurity propelled me to put my head down and work. I have learned to lean into the uncomfortable moments, because on the other side of them is a blessed feeling of accomplishment.

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Pro Bono Opportunity

By Helen Herbert

Are you looking for a pro bono opportunity where you can use your tax expertise?  The NCBA Tax Section is looking for tax attorneys to train selected military personnel to be tax return preparers through the Military Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program.

The Military VITA Program is designed to assist US military personnel with preparation of federal and state tax returns and thereby save US military families the cost of tax return preparation and, in many instances, receive tax refunds. Many US military families are unfamiliar with federal and state tax requirements and how to file a complete and accurate tax returns and, accordingly, need help in preparing their personal income tax returns.

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Looking Back, Learning from a Recently Retired Administrative Law Judge

An Interview with former ALJ Butch Elkins

By Ann B. Wall
ALJ Augustus B. (Butch) Elkins II officially retired from the Office of Administrative Hearings on September 30, 2019. This article, based on an interview before his retirement, will offer answers to some interesting questions.

What kinds of legal experience did Judge Elkins have that qualified him to serve as an ALJ? 

Judge Elkins’ legal career began in the military, where he served from 1979 to 2001, first in the U.S. Air Force, ultimately retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel from the Air Force Reserve. In the course of his military career, he handled a variety of administrative law related matters, including employment, environmental, health and mental health law, as well as serving as legal advisor on investigations. He gained extensive hearing officer experience while conducting Article 32 investigations and hearings, including ruling on motions and submitting findings and recommendations regarding possible courts martial.

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Did You Know You Have Exclusive Access to our Membership Directory?

Did you know when you join the Sports and Entertainment Law Section (“SEL”) of the North Carolina Bar Association, you gain access to our membership directory? Our membership consists of lawyers who represent sports and entertainment clients, serve as counsel to organizations engaged in the multi-billion-dollar sports and entertainment industry, and wish to broaden their practices to include the sports and entertainment area. As you can see, this membership directory tool can be very useful to start making connections. In the directory, it lists the attorney’s or law student’s name, firm or company, address, phone number, and email address.

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NCIC Quarterly Update

Hello Everybody,

The North Carolina Industrial Commission has issued a quarterly update.  A copy of the quarterly update can be accessed here.

YLD November E-Blast

November 14, 2019 | YLD Diversity & Inclusion Know Your Rights Program I Durham I 5:00 pm

November 15, 2019 | Legal LINK Information Session | Durham | 12:00 pm

November 16, 2019 | YLD Winter Quarterly Meeting | Wilmington | 9:00 am

November 16, 2019 | YLD Social & Boat Tour | Wilmington | 2:00 pm

November 19, 2019 | Labor & Employment Section Empower Hour | 12:00 pm

December 12, 2019 |”Pathway to the Judciary” Panel | Cary | 6 pm

Bar Exam Committee: The Bar Exam Committee is looking for volunteers! As we gear up for the February 2020 Bar Exam, we are asking members of the NCBA to sign-up to be mentors to students studying for the upcoming Bar Exam. If you are willing to sign-up as a mentor for the February 2020 Bar Exam session, please fill out the form here.  If you have questions about the program, please contact Marissa Meredith or Leila Hicks.

Civic Engagement Committee: The Civic Engagement Committee of the YLD will be hosting a “Pathway to the Judiciary” Panel on December 12, 2019 from 6:00 to 8:00 PM at the Bar Center in Cary, featuring the following jurists: Court of Appeals Judge Allegra Collins, Fmr. Supreme Court Justice Bob Edmunds, Fmr. Court of Appeals Judge and Supreme Court Justice Robert N. Hunter, Jr., NC Admin. Law Judge Melissa Lassiter, Superior Court Judge Paul Ridgeway, and Fmr. Court of Appeals Judge Linda Stephens.

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A Recipe for a Tasty Thanksgiving

By Leslie Pegram

Thanksgiving is a time to gather with family, friends and friends that are more like family.  It’s a time to cook like a Food Network star, your favorite celebrity, blogger or Instagram star (or to just let someone else do all the cooking for you).  It’s a time to get up early and run in a Turkey Trot before donning your sweatpants to eat your heart out on turkey, ham, turduken, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, macaroni and cheese, stuffing, rolls, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, or your favorite vegetarian or vegan dishes for lunch and then hop in the car to your next destination where you’ll dine on the same food a few hours later for dinner. it’s a time for unexpected trips to the ER for those brave enough to try deep frying a turkey. A time to watch football, the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade or prepare your Black Friday strategy. A time to volunteer giving to others in need or just need compassion and company.  Also, did I mention naps?  It’s also a time for naps, lots of food-coma inducing naps! Thanksgiving is also the unofficial start of potluck season!

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Message from the Chair

By Bonnie Weyher

I am honored to serve as Chair of our Section for the 2019-2020 year.

Our other officers this year are Kate Deiter-Maradei, Vice President; Sarah Kromer, Secretary; and Jim Cooley, Treasurer.

Like other Sections, our work is largely done through committees.  I want to thank all those who have agreed to be chairs this year: Arbitration  (Catharine Arrowood/George Doyle); CLE (John Sarratt / Deborah Dillman); Clerk Mediation (Bill Wolcott/Nick Gordon); Collaborative Law (John Sarratt/Aida Doss Havel); Collaborative Family Law (Kerry Burleigh/Deborah Dilman); Communications/Website/Social Media (Ketan Soni); Ethics & Professionalism (Thomas Clare/Jim Cooley); Legislative & Rapid Response (Andy Little/Frank Laney); Membership (Arty Bolick); Nominations (Ann Anderson / Frank Laney); Observation Video (Ann Anderson/Jacqueline Clare); and Pro Bono (Rick Igou/Salim Uqdah).

We will keep you updated throughout the year on projects and initiatives of the Section.   In the meantime, please mark your calendars for our Annual Meeting and CLE/CME, which will be at Pinehurst on Thursday, March 12, 2020.  We will have a reception the evening before for those arriving on Wednesday.