• Blog Post

    EARTH FARE AND THE “WARN” ACT

    In early February, Earth Fare announced it would be closing all of its stores, likely meaning each of its 3,000 employees would be laid off.  In response, two employees of the Asheville-based grocery store chain filed a class-action lawsuit alleging Earth Fare violated the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (the “WARN Act”).  Generally, the WARN Act requires employers with at least 100 employees to provide at least a 60-day advance written notice of plant closings and mass layoffs; however, the likelihood of success of the plaintiffs’ claims will be determined by the specific definitions provided in the WARN Act, as well as its exceptions and exemptions.   The WARN…

  • Blog Post

    IMPLIED EASEMENTS BY PRIOR USE

    In B.V. Belk, Jr. v. VRS Magnolia Plaza, LLC, the North Carolina Court of Appeals addressed the question of when an easement can be implied by prior use.  An easement is an individual’s right to use the land of another individual for a specific purpose.  Frequently, easements are created by the express agreement of the landowner and the individual seeking to use the land; however, as the court in Belk confirmed, easements can also be created by implication.   Factual History   In Belk, B.V. Belk, Jr. (“Belk”) acquired 107 acres of undeveloped land in 1986.  He then transferred title to a joint venture consisting of himself, as managing member…

  • Blog Post

    BUNKER HILL COVERED BRIDGE CONSTRUCTION LAWSUIT

    The Bunker Hill Covered Bridge is a well-known historical landmark in Claremont, North Carolina, originally built in 1895.  The bridge was damaged due to excessive rain, flooding, and erosion in the area, which prompted the Historical Association of Catawba County (the “Historical Association”) to hire NHM Constructors, LLC (“NHM”) to repair the bridge.  A dispute arose between the parties, NHM filed a lien on the property, and subsequently filed a lawsuit, seeking payments from the Historical Association.  The Historical Association alleges NHM is not owed additional payments because the costs exceeded the budget provided in NHM’s bid.  The case will largely turn on the type of contract the parties executed…

  • Firm News

    CONGRATULATIONS TO TREY LINDLEY, SATIE MUNN, AND KEVIN CLEYS FOR BEING RECOGNIZED IN SUPER LAWYERS MAGAZINE

    Lindley Law is pleased to announce its recognition by the 2020 edition of Super Lawyers. Trey Lindley was selected as a Super Lawyer in Estate and Trust Litigation, his third consecutive year receiving this award.  Trey was previously recognized as a Rising Star by Super Layers Magazine from 2012 through 2017, making this his ninth consecutive honor from the publication.  Satie Munn and Kevin Cleys were selected as 2020 Rising Stars by Super Lawyers Magazine. This is Kevin’s first year receiving this award for Civil Litigation. This is Satie’s second consecutive year receiving the award for Rising Star in Estate and Trust Litigation. Each year, Super Lawyers recognizes the top…

  • Blog Post

    PIERCING THE CORPORATE VEIL IN NORTH CAROLINA

    In North Carolina, as in all states, a shareholder or owner of a business is generally not personally liable for the debts of the business.  Additionally, Business A is generally not liable for the debts of Business B, even if the two businesses are associated entities.  However, a recent North Carolina Court of Appeals decision illustrates that these limits on extended liability for corporate debts are themselves limited by the concept of piercing the corporate veil.   The Court of Appeals Decision   In General Fidelity Insurance Company v. WFT, Inc., et al., General Fidelity Insurance Company (“General Fidelity”) contracted with WFT, Inc. (“WFT”), for whom co-defendant Peter J. Willis…

  • Blog Post

    SETTLEMENT PUTS STOP TO “WE CAN’T STOP” COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT LAWSUIT

    Musician Miley Cyrus, record label RCA Records, and songwriter Michael May (a/k/a Flourgon) settled the parties’ dispute over Cyrus’s hit song “We Can’t Stop.”  Flourgon alleged Cyrus’s hit unlawfully infringed copyrighted material in his previously recorded song “We Run Things.”  What does the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976 (the “Copyright Act”) provide regarding music, and what damages are available to the owner of an infringed copyright?   The Basics of Copyright Law   As discussed in Lindley Law’s prior blog post, a copyright protects an original work of authorship “fixed in any tangible medium of expression.”  “Copyright” is not a single right, in the literal sense.  Instead, it refers to…

  • Blog Post

    TORTIOUS INTERFERENCE WITH EXPECTED INHERITANCE

    North Carolina recognizes a cause of action for tortious inference with expected inheritance.  This cause of action can be confused with tortious interference with prospective economic advantage, which occurs in the context of a contract or potential contract. Conversely, tortious interference with expected inheritance occurs in the context of a will or estate, rather than in the context of a contract or potential contract.  Further, unlike a cause of action for undue influence, which permits recovery by the testator (the person executing the will), tortious interference with expected inheritance permits recovery by the individual expecting to benefit from the testator’s will.   The Elements   To prove tortious interference with…

  • Blog Post

    EPIC GAMES EMPLOYEE ALLEGEDLY LEAKS EPICLY SECRET DETAILS ABOUT FORTNITE CHAPTER 2

    North Carolina-based Epic Games filed a lawsuit over the alleged leak of secret information related to Fortnite Chapter 2.  The company claims employee Ronald Sykes violated the terms of a non-disclosure agreement by sharing information related to the new game, including new game-play features and a virtual map of the fictional game universe, prior to its public release.  The success of Epic Games’ claims will primarily hinge on whether the non-disclosure agreement is enforceable and whether the allegedly leaked information constituted protected trade secrets.   Non-Disclosure Agreements   A non-disclosure agreement (“NDA”) is a contract, or part of a contract, that prohibits one or more parties from disclosing certain confidential…

  • Blog Post

    DO I NEED TO RESPOND TO THIS SUBPOENA?

    A subpoena is a very useful tool for gathering information in civil litigation.  They are also used in other contexts, such as by the United States Congress (for example, the congressional subpoena issued to Rudy Giuliani).  A civil subpoena is a document provided to an individual or entity compelling that individual or entity to do something – either to testify or to provide documents or other forms of evidence.  In North Carolina, the form and function of a subpoena is explained in Rule 45 of the North Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure.   Form and Service: What Should My Subpoena Look Like and How Do I Need to Serve It…

  • Blog Post

    DUKE’S MAYONNAISE TRADEMARK DISPUTE

    Duke’s Mayonnaise can trace its roots to 1917 in Greenville, South Carolina.  Founder Eugenia Duke developed a recipe for mayonnaise to add to sandwiches she sold to soldiers fighting in World War I.  Eventually, the sandwich shop became an independent business – the Duke Sandwich Company – and Duke’s mayonnaise continued to be produced by new owner C.F. Sauer Company.  Nearly 100 years later, C.F. Sauer Company is suing Duke Sandwich Company over alleged trademark infringement and trademark dilution.  C.F. Sauer’s lawsuit claims other causes of action, including unfair competition, which fall outside of the scope of this article.   A Foundation in Trademark Law   The Lanham Act protects…