North Carolina Law and Policy

William W. Plyler, N.C. Attorney, Publisher

WILLIAM W. PLYLER, PLLC
Of Counsel, Kirby & Holt, LLP

North Carolina Lawyer William W. Plyler and guest authors discuss law-related topics, including recent N.C. tort cases (personal injury, wrongful death, and business torts) and public policy issues.

Published by William W. Plyler, a trial attorney practicing law in North Carolina.

July 2014
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Chapel Hill Landlords Required To Monitor Rental Property Parking

Posted By on April 2, 2014

The North Carolina Court of Appeals, in Patmore v. Town of Chapel Hill, (NC-COA No. 13-1049, decided April 1, 2014), yesterday upheld the constitutionality of a Chapel Hill zoning ordinance that regulates parking in neighborhoods close to campus. The ordinance establishes a four car limit on the number of cars permitted to park on residential lots.

Enforcement of the ordinance is accomplished by citing and fining the owners of rental properties, rather than the tenants. The plaintiff landlords contended that they should not be expected to patrol (more…)

Supreme Court Throws Lifeline To First Mate In Big Rock Prize Case

Posted By on January 25, 2013

The North Carolina Supreme Court, in Topp et al v. Big Rock Foundation, Inc. et al, (No. 279A12, filed January 25, 2013) today reversed the decision of the N.C. Court of Appeals, 726 S.E. 2d 884 (2012), and sent this well-publicized case back to Superior Court for trial.  The Supreme Court, in a Per Curiam decision, adopted the dissenting opinion from the Court of Appeals decision below.  In so doing, it gave new life to the infamous first mate who failed (more…)

Greenville Gets Pass From N.C. Court of Appeals

Posted By on January 16, 2013

While speeding 90 mph in a 45 mph zone without activating his emergency lights and siren, a Greenville police officer lost control of his patrol vehicle, crossed the center line, and crashed head-on into an oncoming car.  In the process, he killed himself and the innocent driver of the oncoming car.  The innocent driver’s widow sued the Greenville Police Department.    The North Carolina Court of Appeals, in Greene v. City of Greenville, (COA12-908, filed January 15, 2013), dismissed the case.

The officer must have had a good reason for driving like a madman, right?  Maybe he was chasing a fleeing bank robber or a suspect in an Amber Alert?  Not exactly.

It turns out (more…)

Physical Contact Rule Knocks Out Plaintiff

Posted By on August 8, 2012

In yesterday’s opinion in Prouse v. Bituminous Casualty Corporation, et al (COA12-160, filed August 7, 2012), the North Carolina Court of Appeals insured (by issuing a 2-1 decision) that the N.C. Supreme Court will have an opportunity to administer an overdue fine-tuning of the “physical contact” rule applicable to uninsured motorist claims.

In Prouse, the plaintiff was a passenger in a truck.  The truck was hit by a tire which fell from a moving vehicle.  The impact of the tire caused the truck to overturn, which (more…)

Court of Appeals Rocks First Mate (And Crew)

Posted By on June 5, 2012

A first mate’s failure to have a valid fishing license cost him and his four crewmates the $910,062.50 first prize for catching an 883 pound marlin in the 2010 Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament.  The North Carolina Court of Appeals in a 2-1 decision, in Topp et al v. Big Rock Foundation, Inc. et al, (COA11-681, filed June 5, 2012), affirmed the trial court’s decision to grant summary judgment in favor of the Tournament. 

The Court of Appeals held that the Tournament Rules Committee did not act arbitrarily by disqualifying the Citation (an unfortunate name for the plaintiffs’ boat) and its catch, for violating (more…)

“Billy Buck”, A Tribute To William Joslin, by Martin Brinkley

Posted By on October 7, 2011

Martin H. Brinkley allowed me to publish his tribute to deceased Raleigh attorney William Joslin.  Mr. Brinkley presented the tribute on 2/5/11 at the funeral service for Mr. Joslin.  The tribute is published in its entirety.

BILLY BUCK

A Tribute to William Joslin

Christ Church

February 5, 2011

             When William Joslin boarded what his lifelong friend Robert McMillan calls “the express train to heaven” last Saturday, I embarked (more…)

Snake In The House

Posted By on September 11, 2011

A man can sue his wife’s paramour for negligent infliction of a sexually transmitted disease (NISTD), held the North Carolina Court of Appeals last week, in Carsanora v. Colvin, (COA11-43, filed September 6, 2011)It is long settled law in North Carolina that a person is liable if he negligently exposes another to a contagious or infectious disease.  See, Crowell v. Crowell, 180 N.C. 516 (1920) (married woman may sue her husband for infecting her with venereal disease).  However, Carsanora (no, it’s not Casanova) is the first North Carolina case where liability extends beyond (more…)

Robert McMillan’s Tribute to William Joslin

Posted By on August 17, 2011

Robert McMillan allowed me to publish his tribute to deceased Raleigh attorney William Joslin.  Mr. McMillan presented the tribute on 8/12/11 at a memorial service in Wake County Superior Court which honored William Joslin and other Wake County attorneys who passed away in the preceeding year.  The tribute is published in its entirety.

FOLLOWING WORLD WAR II THE WRITER, IRWIN SHAW, WROTE A BOOK ENTITLED ‘THE YOUNG LIONS’. IT TELLS THE WAR TIME STORIES OF SEVERAL PERSONS WHO HAD KNOWN ONE ANOTHER PRIOR TO THE WAR. IT IS WORTH YOUR READING.

A WRITER OF SHAW’S STATURE COULD WRITE AN ENTHRALLING (more…)

Courts Need Not Be More Ignorant Than Rest of Mankind

Posted By on July 19, 2011

It is refreshing to see the North Carolina Court of Appeals inject a little humor in the normally dry analysis of insurance law.  Judge Martha Geer’s decision today, in Herbert v. Marcaccio, No. COA10-876, filed July 19, 2011), quotes from a 1938 Supreme Court case in stating, “Justice does not require that courts profess to be more ignorant than the rest of mankind.”  State v. Vick, 213 N.C. 235, 238, 195 S.E. 779, 781 (1938). 

The issue in Herbert which drew the dead-pan zinger from Judge Geer was (more…)

Webster’s Dictionary Resolves Non-Compete Dispute

Posted By on June 8, 2011

The North Carolina Court of Appeals, in Inland American Winston Hotels, Inc. v. Crockett and Winston, (COA10-593, filed June 7, 2011), held yesterday that the words “solicit”, “recruit”, and “induce” have different meanings than the word “hire”.  Not leaving anything to chance, the Court of Appeals cites Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary and Black’s Law Dictionary for two pages worth of definitions. 

The defendants in this case were former executive officers of a company which merged with another company.   As part of the merger, the defendants left the merged company to pursue other ventures.  When they left the merged company, the defendants signed non-compete agreements.  The non-compete agreements, in pertinent part, prohibited (more…)