• Blog Post

    TRULIANT AND TRUIST TRADEMARK DISPUTE – WHAT IS A PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION?

    In 2019, banks BB&T Bank and SunTrust Bank announced a merger, with the new bank to be named Truist Financial Corporation (“Truist”).  In response, Truliant Federal Credit Union (“Truliant”) filed a lawsuit alleging the name Truist infringes on Truliant’s trademark in its name.  For a discussion of trademark law and trademark infringement, please see Lindley Law’s previous blog post related to the trademark dispute regarding Duke’s Mayonnaise.  Recently in the dispute between Trulian and Truist, Truliant moved for a preliminary injunction, seeking to prevent Truist from using its name pending the outcome of the lawsuit.  What is a preliminary injunction, and how does a court determine whether to issue it?…

  • Blog Post

    CONTRACTUAL FORUM SELECTION CLAUSES

    In S&S  Family Business Corp., et al. v. Clean Juice Franchising, LLC, the North Carolina Court of Appeals addressed the impact of a forum selection clause in a business contract.  A forum selection clause is a contractual provision that, if enforceable, designates a particular state or court to bring any litigation between the parties.  In most instances, a forum selection clause can be mandatory – the parties must litigate disputes in the forum provided in the clause.   Factual History   Clean Juice Franchising, LLC (“Clean Juice”) entered a multi-unit agreement (the “Multi-Unit Agreement”) with S&S Family Business Corp. (“S&S”) to franchise at least three Clean Juice stores.  The Multi-Unit…

  • 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

    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

    WHAT IS A WILL CAVEAT?

    A will caveat is a special proceeding in which parties can challenge the validity of a document purporting to be the last will and testament of the decedent.  The question to be answered is whether the purported will is valid.  As a result, admissible evidence and potential remedies are limited to a determination of that question.   Initiating Steps   A caveat proceeding is initiated when an individual (the “decedent”) dies, leaving behind a document purporting to be his or her will.  The purported will is submitted to the clerk of court to be probated.  Any interested party – any party with a pecuniary or beneficiary interest in the decedent’s…

  • Blog Post

    THIRD PARTY BENEFICIARIES TO CONTRACTS

    ABC Seller agrees to sell 100 widgets to XYZ Buyer for $10 per widget. This agreement creates a contract, which largely governs the rights and obligations of ABC Seller and XYZ Buyer. However, contracts such as this often impact additional entities or individuals beyond the parties themselves. For example, ABC Seller may need to contract with a manufacturer, who in turn may need to contract with components manufacturers, to honor XYZ Buyer’s order. ABC Seller and/or XYZ Buyer may need to contract with a shipping company to deliver the widgets. To the extent XYZ is selling the widgets to an end user, the end user will also benefit from the…

  • Blog Post

    TORTIOUS INTERFERENCE WITH CONTRACT

    Last week, Lindley Law discussed the elements of tortious interference with expected inheritance, which can occur when an individual maliciously interferes with the making or revocation of a will to the detriment of the plaintiff.  This blog will address a similar but distinct tort: tortious interference with contract.   The Elements   In North Carolina, to prove tortious interference with expected inheritance, a plaintiff must allege:   A valid contract existed between the plaintiff and a third party, which conferred contractual rights upon the plaintiff against the third party; The defendant had actual knowledge of the contract between the plaintiff and the third party; The defendant intentionally induced the third…

  • 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

    DISINHERITED SPOUSES AND THE RIGHT OF ELECTIVE SHARE

    Ric Ocasek, famed singer for The Cars, recently passed away leaving behind a will that purportedly removes his estranged wife, Paulina Porizkova, as a beneficiary of his estate.  Ocasek and Porizkova were in the process of divorcing when Ocasek died; however, the divorce was not finalized, and the two were still legally married.  Removing one’s spouse from an estate plan – often referred to as disinheriting a spouse – is common, particularly when spouses are separating and divorcing.  States that have adopted the Uniform Probate Code, or similar statutes, create protection for a disinherited spouse in the form of the right of elective share.   What is Elective Share?  …