NCBA/UNC-TV Constitutional Amendment Programs Premiere Friday Night

Six proposed constitutional amendments are appearing on the North Carolina general election ballot this year. As a service to our members and the citizens of our state, the North Carolina Bar Association has partnered with UNC-TV to produce educational programming regarding the proposed constitutional amendments.

Two 30-minute programs have been produced, one focuses on the proposed judicial vacancy appointment amendment, and the other focuses on the proposed State Board of Ethics and Elections amendment. The programs include a segment on the history of the N.C. Constitution and discussion segments featuring proponents and opponents of both amendments.

Listed alphabetically, the proponents and opponents featured in the programs are: N.C. Senator Dan Bishop, former N.C. Governor Mike Easley, former N.C. Governor Jim Martin, and N.C. Speaker Pro Tempore Sarah Stevens. The segments focusing on the history and evolution of the N.C. Constitution feature Martin Brinkley, Dean of the UNC School of Law and a Past President of the NCBA. All of the interviews are conducted by Kelly McCullen, director of the North Carolina Channel and Public Affairs for Public Media NC at UNC-TV.

The “Amendments Explained” programs will premiere on Friday night, October 19, at 8 p.m. on UNC-TV’s North Carolina Channel and will air multiple times on UNC-TV’s primary channel and the North Carolina Channel. Online viewing of the interviews is available on the NCBA website at

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The All-Encompassing Secretary of State’s Office

By Mollie Schwam

The Secretary of State’s (SoS) Office does it all-literally! From offering helpful materials on starting a business in NC, database to file securities, to storing advance healthcare directives online, the NC SoS’s job is all encompassing and vital to all NC businesses.

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John Gresham Named 2018 Harkavy Award Winner

John Gresham is this year’s Jon Harkavy Award Winner. Last week, the Jonathan R. Harkavy Award Committee (John Doyle Jr., Michael Kornbluth, and Travis Payne) submitted this report to the Council of the Labor and Employment Section of the N.C. Bar Association:

John Gresham

The Committee developed a process to solicit nominations for the Jonathan R. Harkavy Award. An announcement went out in mid-March and a number of deserving and impressive lawyers were nominated. The nominations were circulated among the Committee members and, in early July, a conference call was convened for the members to candidly discuss the various nominees. Out of that discussion there resulted in a consensus that this year the Harkavy Award should go to John Gresham.

In at least some respects, the Harkavy Award is a recognition of a “lifetime” of achievement and service in the employment area of practice. Gresham, as most of his colleagues and friends call John, most certainly fits that criteria. John began his legal career in North Carolina in the mid-1970s, serving two years as a law clerk for United States District Court Judge James B. McMillan. He then joined the firm of Chambers Ferguson and Stein in Charlotte, where he ultimately became a partner. He stayed at that firm until 2011 when he joined the firm of Tin Fulton Walker & Owen.

Throughout his career, Gresham has focused on employment and civil rights/constitutional issues. He has litigated many cases and obtained decisions that have impacted the employment and constitutional law both nationally and within North Carolina. This includes Reed v. United Transportation Union, 488 U.S. 319 (1989), which expanded the time period in which union members could sue for violations of their rights. Perhaps of most significance for North Carolina is the decision that he obtained in Corum v. University of North Carolina, 330 N.C. 761 (1992), where our Supreme Court recognized a private right of action by citizens against government entities for violations of the rights enumerated in Article I of the Constitution of North Carolina, the Declaration of Rights.

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Early Registration Deadline Upcoming For SLD Fall Meeting CLE

Senior Lawyers Division Chair Erwin Fuller

The SLD 2018 Fall Meeting is scheduled for the weekend of Nov. 8-10 in Salisbury. Click here to view the schedule. Please be aware of these important items related to the meeting:

The early registration deadline for the 3-hour CLE segment on Friday morning, Nov. 9, is this Friday, Oct. 19. Beginning next week, unless the early registration deadline is extended a few days because of the recent hurricanes which affected our state severely, the CLE registration fee for our meeting will increase to $125.00 instead of $115.00.  There will not be a CLE segment of our meeting on Saturday morning, Nov. 10, but we will have three interesting and informative speakers (non-CLE) for that Saturday morning session. Click here to register for the CLE.

The preferred direct telephone number to use for room reservations at the Courtyard by Marriott in Salisbury is (704) 680-9201, and you will need to identify yourself as a NCBA SLD member to receive the favorable room rate (which is only guaranteed through Wednesday, Oct.31).  It will be best to contact the Salisbury Courtyard by Marriott directly for room reservation purposes rather than using the national Marriott reservation system.  The Salisbury Courtyard by Marriott will be the headquarters facility for our Salisbury SLD meeting.

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Effects Of GDPR Extend Beyond EU to NC Companies

By Anderson Ellis

Have you ever used a search engine to look for something, only to find that every subsequent website is advertising that item on sale? Have you ever mentioned some far-flung vacation locale to a friend, only to receive an unsolicited advertisement on your smartphone about cheap flights to that place? These targeted ads are the result of data-mining – the process by which websites you visit collect, store, and use your personal data to customize advertising in the hopes that you will click and buy. Most online users have become so accustomed to this practice that they barely bat an eye. But the value of personal data, and the scope of which it is being collected and stored, caused the European Union to recently enact strict privacy regulations (the General Data Protection Regulation, or “GDPR”), which are causing ripples for North Carolina companies far from European shores.

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‘Biomass: Helpful or Harmful?’: 2018 Sustainability Essay Contest Second-Place Winner

As we announced last week, the North Carolina Bar Association’s Environment, Energy & Natural Resources Section is pleased to announce the winners of its 2018 Sustainability Essay Contest.  A description of the contest and this year’s topic can be found here.  Please join us in congratulating this year’s winners.

Emily Liu:  “Wood Pellets as Biofuel: Is it Sustainable?”  FIRST PLACE  ($1000 prize + publication)

Catherine Trusky: “Biomass: Helpful or Harmful?”  SECOND PLACE ($500 prize)

Ann Winstead: “Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle: Waste”  THIRD PLACE ($250 prize)

The text of Catherine Trusky’s second place essay, “Biomass: Helpful or Harmful?” is published below.  The third place entry was published on our blog last week, and the first place entry will be published in the coming weeks.

A special thanks to Professor Maria Savasta-Kennedy, Ted Feitshans, and Blakely Hildebrand for their time and effort coordinating this contest!

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NC COA Case Summary: In the Matter of J.M.K

By Ryan Schultz

Termination of Parental Rights, No. COA18-451, Sept. 4, 2018
In the Matter of J.M.K
Buncombe County

In a termination of parental rights hearing, a court cannot base termination from a ground that has not been pled.

Facts:  Mother and Father were in a relationship from February 2014 -September 2014. During their courtship, a daughter was conceived. While still pregnant in October 2014, Mother filed and obtained a domestic violence protective order against Father. In a chapter 50 hearing, Mother was awarded sole legal and sole physical custody of the child. No child support order was ever entered, and finding was ever made that Father was the child’s biological father. Mother filed a private termination of parental rights action, to which the trial court entered an order terminating Father’s parental rights.

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Works For Me, Episode 2: Independent Contractor or Employee? The $64K Question

By Nina Pirrotti, Will Oden and Grant Osborne

In our second episode of “Works For Me,” our team dives into a crucial understanding of employment law: the difference between independent contractors and employees.
We’ll take on three questions:

  • What is an employee?
  • What is an independent contractor?
  • Why does it matter?

Please tune in and let us know what you think. You can email Grant at

4th Circuit Case Summary: Continental Casualty Co. v. Amerisure Ins. Co.

By Deb Bowers

Continental Casualty Co. v. Amerisure Ins. Co., 886 F.3d 366 (4th Cir. 2018)

The Fourth Circuit has ruled that the terms of an underlying agreement between the named insured and a third party can impose coverage beyond that necessarily provided for in the policy. This case further confirms the long standing principle that exclusions will be strictly construed against the insurer.

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Welcome to the New Professional Wellness Committee

Helping Lawyers Stay Healthy, From Law School Through Retirement

Sarah Nagae

Julie Beavers

By Sarah Nagae and Julie Beavers

One of NCBA President Jackie Grant’s points of focus for this bar year is making sure that lawyers of all ages and stages of practice have the information and support they need to take care of themselves, as well as their clients. To that end, we are happy to introduce the newly formed Professional Wellness Committee.

Under Jackie’s direction, the Transitioning Lawyers Commission (TLC) and the Lawyer Effectiveness & Quality of Life Committee (LEQL) have merged into one group, named the Professional Wellness Committee (PWC).  Julie Beavers and Sarah Nagae are honored and excited to serve as co-chairs of the PWC.  Julie comes from the Transitioning Lawyers’ side, having been an active member of the TLC for the past several years.  Sarah has a background in the wellness field and has spoken at many NCBA annual meetings and other CLE events on attorney health and mindfulness.

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