NCIC COVID-19 Hearing & Mediation Updates

By Eleasa Allen

Update from the North Carolina Industrial Commission

The Industrial Commission has issued the following policies for Full Commission hearings, Deputy Commissioner medical motion hearings, and Executive Secretary’s Office informal hearings, which have been posted to the NCIC website. These policies are effective June 1, 2020. Policies for Deputy Commissioner hearings (non-medical motion hearings) and mediations to be held as of June 1, 2020 will be announced shortly.

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Your Dues Do Good Work

By Stephen J. White

Section Pro Bono Chair

In normal times, our section dues are carefully budgeted for use throughout the year for substantive reasons related to the work of the Section, communicating that work to you and getting you involved, as well as face-to-face networking and other personal interaction. This spring, most of the activities for which the Section budget allocated funds have been canceled or moved online due to the COVID-19 emergency. Under NCBA rules, there are, of course, restrictions on how and when Section funds can be expended and what happens if they are not expended by the end of the NCBA fiscal year.

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BarCARES is Here for You

By Ann Anderson

Do you need a listening ear during this time? BarCARES is here for you now and always to provide support during any difficult time. Available 24/7 via telehealth (video + audio) or telephone, BarCARES is a confidential, short-term counseling program, cost-free, for members of the NCBA and law students at participating schools.

BarCARES can help all of us as we try to manage and balance family, work, and study in the face of the unknown future. Skilled professionals available through BarCARES assist in dealing with depression, anxiety, financial concerns and marriage and family conflicts, as well as professional stressors. In these challenging and uncertain times, why not utilize a benefit of your NCBA membership and ask for guidance?

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Be a Part of Our Team – the Litigation Section Needs You!

By Rick Conner

Thank you all for being members of the Litigation Section! As you know, your Section membership offers numerous benefits, such as networking opportunities, discounted CLE rates, and the opportunity to read and publish on our blog.

Because of COVID-19, we are living in strange and challenging times, unlike anything any of us have ever seen during our careers. Attorneys, judges, courthouse officials, legal staff, and our clients are all doing their best to adapt to social distancing and public health recommendations that make operating a business and maintaining a litigation practice much more difficult. New rules and recommendations are being written and revised nearly every week, and it is a constant challenge to stay up to speed on the latest developments.

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New COVID-19 Orders from Chief Justice Beasley on Civil Court Operations

By PJ Puryear

Chief Justice Beasley just rolled out her newest orders on the courts.

You can read about them here, but below are the highlights that should be of interest to North Carolina litigators:

Filing, Deadlines, and Statutes of Limitation/Repose

  • Filings due pursuant to statutes of limitation or repose are extended until July 31.
  • Filings and actions due in civil matters that had been previously extended are due June 1.
  • Filings by mail are encouraged and clerks may require filings be dropped off rather than submitted face-to-face at a service counter as well as reduce hours/require appointments.
  • To encourage filing by mail, a 5-day grace period will be provided for documents delivered by mail.

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What You Missed at the May 8 Administrative Law Discussion on COVID-19 Developments

On May 8, the Administrative Law Section conducted its first-ever free-for-all and open-to-all-section-members discussion by Zoom conference. We hope you will find the information below informative and that you will join us for our next teleconference.

We opened with Section legislative committee co-chair David Ferrell, who provided a brief overview of the action in the General Assembly regarding COVID-19. David outlined some of the key administrative law related provisions in the primary COVID-19 bill, S.L. 2020-3 (S 704), for which most of the provisions presently expire on August 1. He mentioned the following: health care changes, including some related to regulated professions, such as pharmacists and dentists; emergency video notarization (which is not the same as remote notarization, he said); emergency video witnessing; e-signatures for warrants; temporary loosening of witness/notary requirements for advance health care directives; rescheduling public hearings; authorization for the Chief ALJ to extend the time for filing contested case petitions; electronic meetings of public bodies; and regulatory flexibility for State agencies, including occupational licensing boards. David also discussed what people, including legislators, are saying about when they will return and what they will be doing when they return.

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What in the World Happens Next? How Family Law Attorneys Should Plan Now for Alimony and Child Support Case Modifications

By Tonya Graser Smith

The economic side effects of the coronavirus pandemic on divorced or soon-to-be-separated clients can’t be ignored. As family law attorneys, we know the flood is coming.

We see the tidal wave. We see the stress of family and work, the emotional imbalance, the inability to make decisions, the very quick accusations that one side or the other is acting crazy. We see our clients crumbling into tears with non-case related issues like trying to get their Instacart or Shipt groceries delivered on time and making sure their kids get on their Zoom classroom meetings.

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Why VPNs and Encryption Services Are Our Digital Masks and Gloves

By Jaren Butts and Nickeyea Wilkinson 

Thanks to social distancing mandates, teleconference platforms have experienced a huge surge in site traffic as new users around the world participate in telehealth, telework, and many other teleservices that have now been transitioned online.[1] As virtual capabilities become more important to our daily lives than ever before, now is also the time to focus on the importance of our daily digital hygiene by gearing up with VPN and encryption services in the same way as we do with our masks and gloves.

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COVID-19 Eviction Assistance Project – Help Those Who Are in Jeopardy of Losing the Most

By Will Quick

Dear Litigation Section Members:

We know better than most how great a disruption the COVID-19 pandemic has caused to the legal system. Trials have been postponed indefinitely, motions are just starting to be heard remotely, and how we connect with, advise, and counsel our clients is so very different than it was just two months ago.

While we litigators want the courts to open up as soon as is safely possible, the reopening of the Courts carries a whole different significance for many North Carolinians. For many in our state, the reopening of the courts—particularly the Small Claims Court—represents the moment when they must face the reality of eviction proceedings stemming from an inability to pay residential rent due to the impact of COVID-19 on their personal financial situations.

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Court Reopening Plans, Video Conferencing Rules, and Other COVID-19 Updates

By Kasi Robinson

Some time has passed since the initial flurry of court orders modifying deadlines, postponing in-person hearings, and setting guidelines for remote hearings. In an attempt to stay up to date with the latest orders and announcements from the state and federal courts within North Carolina as those courts begin to contemplate reopening, here is a compilation of the most recent items within each jurisdiction. A high-level summary is included below each order, but the specific language of each order should be carefully reviewed alongside any additional orders issued by a presiding judge in a particular case.

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