NC Court of Appeals Decision Reaffirms Contributory Negligence Defense is Not Absolute

Rebecca Thornton, Jennifer Milak and Patrick Scott

Klapp v. Buck, a recent unpublished opinion by Judge Dillon of the North Carolina Court of Appeals revisits the defense of contributory negligence and confirms that this affirmative defense is not absolute. Background of the Case This case stems from an accident where Defendant’s vehicle collided with the Plaintiff who was riding her bicycle. The…

County Implementation of New Medical Malpractice Law in North Carolina

Megan Silver

Effective October 1, 2021, the North Carolina General Assembly enacted a new law regarding judicial assignment related to medical malpractice cases. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7A-47.3 (directing the rotation and assignment of superior court judges) has been amended to add a subsection, “[t]he Senior Resident Superior Court Judge shall designate a specific resident judge or…

COVID-19 Limited Immunity Act: A Welcomed Degree of Certainty for North Carolina Businesses

Chris Stipes and Rebecca Thornton

As we continue to navigate the uncertain but improving times of the COVID-19 pandemic, potential legal exposure related to COVID-19 remains a particular concern for employers and business owners.  For example, consider those people who are finally deciding to dine out indoors at a local restaurant: From the customer’s perspective, they may wonder what can…

The Economic Loss Rule in a “Crescent University” Landscape: What Subcontractors and Subsequent Purchasers Should Know

Jacob Wellman

In North Carolina, lawsuits by homeowners against contractors and subcontractors are governed by the economic loss rule. This rule, articulated in the seminal case Ports Auth. v Lloyd A. Fry Roofing Co., states that a plaintiff cannot sue in tort when a contractual remedy exists, with a few exceptions: unless a third-party sustained the injury,…

Chapter 90 and 42 U.S.C. Section 1983: Raising the Bar for Pro Se Plaintiffs

Matt Little

In recent years, the Defense Bar has seen historic numbers of pro se prisoner filings. Along with this increase is a new litigation trend that involves coupling traditional medical malpractice claims under Chapter 90 of the North Carolina General Statutes with Federal civil rights claims under 42 USC Section 1983. Given the cap on non-economic…

COA Issues Opinion Affecting all Mediated Settlement Agreements in Superior Court Civil Actions

Patrick Scott and Tracey Jones

The North Carolina Court of Appeals recently considered the issue of whether a mediated settlement agreement can be signed by the attorneys on behalf of their clients in the case of Mitchell v. Boswell, ____ N.C.App. ___, ___ S.E.2d ___ (2020). In that case the parties were out of state while their attorneys participated in…

Unmasking the Confusion: COVID-19 – Are Employees Required to Wear Masks?

Chris Stipes, Natalia Isenberg and Jennifer Milak

In light of North Carolina entering “Phase 1” of lifting its COVID-19 restrictions, this article addresses issues involving employer requirements and employee use of facemasks, respirators, gloves, and other personal protective equipment (“PPE”). Current Guidance Here is what our government agencies are recommending. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) The EEOC released guidance that indicates an…