• Blog Post

    Think You Can Represent Yourself in Business Court? Think Again.

    While it is legally permissible to represent yourself in Business Court, it probably is not a good idea as one plaintiff learned the hard way. In a recent decision from the North Carolina Business Court, a plaintiff, James Gillespie, attempted to be a pro se litigant and wound up with his case dismissed and responsible for paying much of the defendants’ legal fees.   Gillespie originally retained counsel for the purpose of suing the defendants. However, his attorneys, John and James Scarbrough, filed a Consent Motion to Withdraw as counsel. The court granted this motion requiring Gillespie to retain a new attorney within four weeks. He did not make the…

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    Blog Post

    Five Things You Need to Know About Social Media and Discovery

    Social media can have a profound impact on a lawsuit and can even make or break one’s case.  Take, for example, a person who is claiming they are unable to work due to a workplace injury, but a quick perusal of their social media accounts reveals their ability to waterski simultaneous to the claim.  An attorney will likely be able to use that post to make an argument in court.  However, if the waterskiing employee realizes the post is problematic given his or her recent claim, they may decide to delete the photo.  Deletion of tweets or Facebook posts in an effort to conceal evidence could result in dismissal of…

  • Blog Post

    Playing by the (New) Rules in the North Carolina Business Court: Part 3

    The North Carolina Business Court’s new Rules went into effect January 1, 2017 and apply to every civil action designated as a mandatory complex business case or assigned to a Business Court judge, regardless of whether it was filed prior to the Rules’ effective date. They are meant to supplement, rather than supplant, the Rules of Civil Procedure and General Rules of Practice, but if there is a conflict with local rules or standing orders from the county of venue, the Business Court’s Rules will govern.   Part 1 of this topic addressed the changes in Notices of Designation, filing, electronic filing technology problems, motions practice, and emergency motions. For…

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    North Carolina Business Court Awards Rule 11 Sanctions for Second Time this Fall

              The North Carolina Business Court recently entered Rule 11 sanctions against attorneys who relied on inaccurate information from their clients in preparing and filing lawsuits.  The decision comes just two months after the NCBC awarded Rule 11 sanctions in a case with similar facts (which we summarized Here).                In the most recent decision, the client, John Mauney, represented to his attorneys that he was a manager and member of NC Bioremediation, LLC, and therefore had authority to file a lawsuit on the company’s behalf.[1]  In fact, Mauney was not, nor had he ever been, a member or manager…

  • Blog Post

    Rule 11 Sanctions Imposed for Improper Breach of Fiduciary Duties Claims Against Rank-and-File Employees

               In September 2011, Southeast Air Charter, Inc. (“Southeast Air”) brought suit against three (3) employees (“Defendants”) alleging, among other things, breach of fiduciary duty and constructive fraud.   The North Carolina Business Court (“NCBC”) determined all defendants were rank-and-file employees of Southeast Air and therefore could not be subject to the breach of fiduciary duty and constructive fraud claims.  As such, Plaintiff and Plaintiff’s attorneys were subject to Rule 11 sanctions for bringing these claims without any factual basis.  In determining the appropriate amount of sanctions and the allocation of attorneys’ fees incurred by Defendants, Judge James Gale, Chief Special Superior Court Judge of the NCBC,…