Treble Damages Upheld: Insurance Company’s Issuance of Settlement Check to Pro Se Claimant Violates Lien Statute and Constitutes Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practice Per North Carolina Court of Appeals

By Dana H. Hoffman and Molly F. Martinson On August 1, 2017, the North Carolina Court of Appeals issued a ruling in Nash Hospitals, Inc. v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., holding that an insurance company may not issue a settlement check directly to a pro se personal injury claimant without first satisfying any … read more

Who is the Face of Your Insurance Company?

Very often in bad faith or coverage litigation, an insurance company must respond to a notice of deposition pursuant to Rule 30(b)(6) of the Rules of Civil Procedure. This rule permits an adverse party to depose the actual company. The federal rule is entitled “Notice or Subpoena Directed to an Organization” and provides in pertinent … read more

Company Issues Accommodation Policy for Grooming Standards to Settle EEOC Dispute

A recent settlement between a staffing company and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) offers a reminder that company-wide grooming standards may implicate protections under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Orlando-based HospitalityStaff required a Rastafarian employee to cut his dreadlocks if he wanted to remain employed for a client that had … read more

IRS Grants Simplified Relief for Surviving Spouses Making Late Portability Elections

On June 9, 2017, the IRS released Revenue Procedure 2017-34 (the “2017 Rev. Proc.”) which sets forth a simplified method for surviving spouses to make a “portability” election to take advantage of a deceased spouse’s unused estate and gift tax exclusion amount (“DSUE”).  The Rev. Proc. allows executors of estates of decedent’s dying after December … read more

Good News for Providers Relying on Arbitration Agreements

Supreme Court Emphatically Rules Power of Attorney Need Not Expressly Allow Arbitration By a 7-1 margin, the United States Supreme Court firmly rejected a Kentucky decision that invalidated arbitration agreements executed by a representative holding a seemingly comprehensive general power of attorney unless the power of attorney instrument specifically entitled the representative to enter into … read more

Update on Transportation and Infrastructure in North Carolina

Along with my colleagues, Dana Hoffman and Brian Beverly, I attended the North Carolina Chamber’s Transportation and Infrastructure Summit recently held in Durham, NC and sponsored by Young Moore. The Summit brought together North Carolina business leaders to discuss the past, present, and future economic impact of the transportation and infrastructure industries in North Carolina. Carolina Connector … read more

Working Families Flexibility Act of 2017

The US House of Representatives just passed the “Working Families Flexibility Act of 2017” allowing employees to take paid time off – “comp time” – rather than overtime pay. The Act amends the Fair Labor Standards Act to allow employers to provide compensatory time off to employees instead of overtime payment, so long as the … read more

Launching New Graduates: Planning Opportunities and Tax Consequences for Gifts and Loans

May is graduation season. As mortarboards are tossed into the air, new graduates are celebrating their tremendous accomplishments as well as the excitement of standing at the starting lines of the rest of their lives. They can hardly wait to show the world what they can do. They are also eager to feel the freedom … read more

What Happens to My Pets After My Death?

Estate Planning for Pets If you are anything like me, your dog is a member of your family. However, providing for our pets after our deaths is often overlooked in the estate planning process. Frequently pets outlive their owners (some parrots can live over 50 years). It is too easy to get caught up in … read more

Estate Planning Dilemma: How to Plan When a Beneficiary has a Substance Abuse Issue

We are all familiar with the news that illegal substances, alcohol, prescription drugs, and even household chemicals used in ways not intended by the manufacturer are being abused in our society. We may have witnessed co-workers, neighbors, or friends having to address the issue within their families. Such abuse or addiction may be even more … read more