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Court Bolsters Strength of Medical Review Privilege

In an opinion released Tuesday, the Court of Appeals reinforced the difficulty plaintiffs face when asserting claims against hospitals or other medical providers alleging that the provider was negligent in allowing a physician the privilege of practicing at the hospital. In Estate of Ray v. Forgy (Ray IV), the Court reversed a trial court’s order requiring the hospital defendants to produce hundreds of documents relating to the defendant doctor and …Read More

Ethical Pitfalls in Alternative Fee Arrangements Exposed

When a client cannot pay in cash, may an attorney accept other forms of payment such as an equity stake in the client’s business? Isn’t this a classic “win-win” scenario? In a warning for attorneys looking at creative ways to implement alternative fee arrangements, the Court of Appeals held Tuesday that an attorney’s violation of the North Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct can, under appropriate circumstances, relieve a client from …Read More

Need Electronic Court Records? Get a License.

Last week, the Supreme Court held that electronically maintained court records are not subject to the Public Records Act, reversing a unanimous opinion of the Court of Appeals. While the Court’s opinion in LexisNexis Risk Data Mgmt. v. N.C. Administrative Office of the Courts does not protect the records from public disclosure, it requires private parties to enter into a licensing agreement with the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) …Read More

Supreme Court Decision Means School Voucher Program Is Likely Here to Stay

In what is sure to fuel an already vigorous political debate, the North Carolina Supreme Court upheld North Carolina’s school voucher program yesterday, dissolving the trial court’s injunction prohibiting disbursement of funds to private and religious schools on behalf of qualified students.  In Hart v. State of North Carolina, the Court ruled that the school voucher legislation was constitutional, stating that “the wisdom of the enactment is a decision for …Read More

When Is the Right Time to Seek a Rule 54(b) Certification?

A split decision of the Court of Appeals Tuesday provides a warning to litigators:  If you plan to take immediate appeal from an order that is final as to some but not all claims or parties under Rule 54(b), you need to speak up and have the certification of “no just reason for delay” included in the order itself.  A subsequent order retroactively certifying the earlier order will not satisfy …Read More

NC Supreme Court to Address whether Auditors Owe Fiduciary Duties to Clients

The North Carolina Supreme Court agreed Friday to review a Court of Appeals decision that raised concerns among North Carolina accountants over their ability to perform independent audits in conformity with applicable professional standards requiring independence and objective, impartial judgment. In Commscope Credit Union v. Butler & Burke, LLP, the Court of Appeals considered a dispute between a credit union (Commscope) and its auditing firm (Butler & Burke). After the …Read More