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Independent Auditors Do Not Owe Clients Fiduciary Duties After All

In an opinion that must have come as a relief to North Carolina accounting firms and the Chamber alike, the North Carolina Supreme Court held that, absent unusual circumstances, an auditor is not a fiduciary to its client. In Commscope Credit Union v. Butler & Burke, the Court reversed a Court of Appeals’ holding that the relationship between a client and its auditor is one that may give rise

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Buyer Beware: Winning the Race to the Courthouse Isn’t Always Enough when the IRS is Involved

Harkening back to your first year property class, you may recall that North Carolina is a “pure race” state – that is, the first person to record a deed wins even if he has notice of other unrecorded conveyances of land.  However, the Court of Appeals held Tuesday that this rule doesn’t always apply – particularly where federal law provides differently.  In Henkel v. Triangle Homes, Inc., the Court

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Why You Might Want to Make a Federal Case Out of Something

There are myriad reasons why, when given the choice, North Carolina litigators might want a case venued in federal court as opposed to state court (and depending on the circumstance, of course, the opposite is also true).  A list of these reasons might not typically include “more options if we lose,” but the reality is that in many instances the federal rules–of both civil and appellate procedure–provide more options to a losing party than the North Carolina rules. 

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Resisting the Urge To Give The Trial Court One Last Chance: Dangers of Using N.C. R. Civ. P. 59 To Revisit Final Judgments Entered Without A Trial

Most attorneys have had a least one unfavorable final judgment entered before trial.  The attorney may feel that the trial court completely misunderstood her argument. Perhaps the trial court entered a summary judgment order that missed a key appellate case.  Or perhaps the trial court issued a Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal that appeared inconsistent with an earlier ruling.  The natural inclination is to devise a motion that will give the trial

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Update: Appellate Court Jurisdiction

It was just over one year ago that I wrote about the authority of one appellate panel to overrule another panel when the issue is one of jurisdiction. Last week, the Supreme Court of North Carolina issued an opinion in that case that helps to explain the jurisdiction of the appellate courts. The opinion may also offer a preview of the analysis we will see in the pending State

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No Transcript? Maybe No Appeal.

About a month ago, the North Carolina Court of Appeals issued an unpublished opinion that underscored the importance of compliance with Appellate Rule 9(a), which provides that appeals from the trial division will be reviewed “solely upon the record on appeal, the verbatim transcript of the proceedings, if one is designated, and any other items filed pursuant to this Rule 9.”  (emphasis added).  In Wilson v. Wilson, the pro se appellant failed to contract for the transcription of the proceedings that he contended resulted in 21 (yes, twenty-one) issues for appeal.  The Court first addressed whether many

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