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NC Business Court on a Barely Ever-Referenced Rule of Civil Procedure and a Host of Employment-Related Claims

There are undoubtedly many of the Rules of Civil Procedure that you remember by number. Certainly Rules 12, 56, and 65. But Rule 10(b)? What does that even say? If you are reaching for your Rulebook, put it away. Rule 10 is titled "Form of Pleadings." Section (b) of that Rule says: Paragraphs;...

Pizzas and Trademark Infringement

It is easy to forget that there is a North Carolina Trademark Registration Act. It is in Chapter 80 of the General Statutes . The Business Court's mandatory jurisdiction extends to cases brought under Chapter 80 per N.C. Gen. Stat. §7A-45.4(a)(4), so you might expect that Court to be a hotbed...

NC Business Court Takes on the Oxford Comma

You most likely have heard of the Oxford Comma. It is also referred to as the "serial comma.” If you are not familiar with this literary device, it is a comma placed before the word "and" or another conjunction (like or or nor) in a series of three or more terms. So, here's...

Some Stats on the North Carolina Business Court

When the North Carolina Legislature "modernized" the Business Court last year , it added a provision to the General Statutes mandating that the Director of the Administrative Office of the Courts prepare a report, twice a year, showing the total number of civil cases pending in each business...

North Carolina Business Court: What Part Of Disqualification Do You Not Understand?

You will all recall the Business Court's disqualification of a law firm from representing its longtime client, in Kingsdown Inc. v. Hinshaw , 2015 NCBC 27 [ an enhanced version of this opinion is available to lexis.com subscribers ]. Now there is a second chapter to the disqualification, which came...

An Interesting Trade Secrets Case from the North Carolina Business Court

If you were unsure whether customer information held by your client -- like customer contact information, sales reports, prices and terms books, sales memos, sales training manuals, commission reports, and vendor information -- can be considered a "trade secret", the Business Court's opinion...

Can You Sue Only One Conspirator After Dismissing Its Co-Conspirators?

Can you sue an alleged conspirator without suing the other parties to the alleged conspiracy? That was one of the questions addressed by Judge Gale in the decision last week in Loftin v. QA Investments LLC , 2015 NCBC 41 [an enhanced version of this opinion is available to lexis.com subscribers] . ...

Interpreting the Right to Specific Performance in a Shareholder Buy-Sell Agreement

I've never thought very hard about the remedy of specific performance. That means ordering a party to a contract to perform its contractual obligations. But the ability of the Court to order specific performance was front and center in the North Carolina Business Court's decision Wednesday...

Trade Secret Plaintiff Avoids Dismissal, Gets Discovery

One of the most interesting Business Court decisions of last year was Judge Bledsoe's opinion in DSM Dyneema, LLC v. Thagard , 2014 NCBC 50 , in which he held that the Plaintiff, which was suing for misappropriation of trade secrets, was barred from pursuing discovery because it had not identified...

Something That You Might Not Have Known About Injunctions

I had always thought that you need to post a bond in order to obtain an injunction, both in federal and state court. It turns out that I was wrong. The federal rule seems to require a bond. It says: (c) Security . The court may issue a preliminary injunction or a temporary restraining order only...

There's a Difference Between "Confidential and Proprietary Information" and a Trade Secret

I can't remember the last time that the Business Court granted a motion opposing the designation of a case as a mandatory complex business case. And since the Business Court Modernization Act went into effect in October 2014? I don't think one has been granted. But earlier this week, Judge...

Don't Overplay Your Hand in the North Carolina Business Court

When you last heard about London Leasing LLC v. Arcus , the Business Court had entered a default in March 2015 against two of the Defendants for what I called their "defiant and obnoxious conduct ." It then seemed like the Plaintiff was just a hop, skip, and a jump away from obtaining...

When You Wish Upon a (Lode)Star: NC Business Court Cuts Fees Requested by Attorneys for Class Plaintiffs

The Business Court last week knocked down a fee request of Plaintiffs' class action counsel to $500,000, from the $660,000 requested, in an Order in Nakatsukasa v. Furiex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. , 2015 NCBC 68 [subscribers can access an enhanced version of this opinion: lexis.com | Lexis Advance ]...

The Meaning of "Successors," "Members," and "Designees" in a Release

The words "successors," "members," and "designees," as used in a Release were at issue in Judge Bledsoe's Opinion last week in TaiDoc Technology Corp. v. OK Biotech Co ., 2015 NCBC 71 [subscribers can access an enhanced version of this opinion: lexis.com | Lexis Advance...

Did It Need to Be in Writing?

Surratt v. Brown , 2015 NCBC 72 , decided last week by the Business Court, involved an oral partnership to open and operate tattoo parlors throughout North Carolina [subscribers can access an enhanced version of this opinion: lexis.com | Lexis Advance ]. Plaintiff and Defendant entered into an partnership...

Minority Shareholder Owed No Fiduciary Duty To Other Shareholders In Merger Transaction

Judge Gale's decision earlier this month in Corwin v. British American Tobacco PLC , 2015 NCBC 74 dismissed all of the claims of the Plaintiff class [subscribers can access an enhanced version of this opinion: lexis.com | Lexis Advance ]. If the name Corwin is ringing a bell with you, his case is...

NC Business Court Awards Rule 11 Sanctions For Baseless Fiduciary Duty Claim

It is probably a good idea for a corporation to avoid making fiduciary duty claims against its employees (unless they are also officers and directors). Clients (or their lawyers) who insist on making such claims are liable to be assessed with the attorneys' fees of the persons they sue, at least...

A Happy Dance For Plaintiffs Who Moot a Motion to Dismiss by Moving to Amend Their Complaint

Maybe you've been in this situation before. You've moved to dismiss a complaint, have fully briefed your motion, and the defendant dances in on the day of the hearing on your motion and amends his complaint. And the defendant doesn't even bother to make a motion to amend his complaint! ...

NC Business Court Enjoins Enforcement of High Interest Rate Loans Made by American Indian-Related Business

Judge McGuire's opinion last week in Western Sky in State v. Western Sky Financial, LLC , 2015 NCBC 84 has a little bit of everything in it: choice of law, the U.S. Constitution, claims for usury (excessive interest rates) and American Indians [subscribers can access an enhanced version of this opinion...

NC Court of Appeals Affirms Business Court Award of $1 Million in Fees to Class Counsel

It seems like forever ago that the then venerable North Carolina institution, Wachovia Bank, failed and was acquired by Wells Fargo. (This was actually seven years ago). But just last week came what might be the final closure in the battle by the lawyers representing the class which challenged that acquisition...

Can an NC Superior Court Judge Modify Another Judge's Class Certification Order?

Is the certification of a class by an NC state court set in stone or can it be modified during the course of the litigation? The federal rule vs. the state rule There is a difference between the federal rule governing class actions ( FRCP 23 ) and the North Carolina equivalent ( NCRCP 23 ). The...

It Can Be a Tough Road for Trade Secrets Plaintiffs in the NC Business Court

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that litigating a trade secrets case in the Business Court can be tough. Last year, the Court barred a plaintiff from engaging in any discovery at all until it identified its allegedly misappropriated trade secrets with sufficient particularity. And...

Two Cases From NC Business Court: Class Action Fees Doubled and Expedited Discovery Denied

Last month, North Carolina Business Court. Judge Gale issued three rulings in class action cases. Two of the rulings were in consolidated class actions that had been settled. Those were in In re Pike S'holders Litig. , 2015 NCBC 89 [subscribers can access an enhanced version of this opinion: lexis...

Unusual Area of Law for the NC Business Court: Life Estate in a Beach House

When Governor McCrory appointed Judge Gregory McGuire to the Business Court, I doubt that he had any concern whether Judge McGuire had any expertise in the area of trusts and estates. After all, that area of law is not enumerated in the types of case that warrant designation to the Business Court, contained...

Rule 11 Sanctions (Again!) from the NC Business Court

This month, for the second time in the last two months, Judge McGuire of the NC Business Court entered Rule 11 sanctions against a party whose attorney relied on inaccurate information from the client in making claims against the opposing party. This month's decision was in NC Bioremediation,...