Friday Fun – Why Hollywood Loves Lawyers!

This is fun for a Friday. The ABA Journal has come out with top “law” movies of the last 100 years.  The article opines “…From Sophocles to Shakespeare, Dostoyevsky to Dickens, John Grisham to Scott Turow, the world’s great poets and dramatists, novelists and film directors have been enamored of the legal system for its plotlines and morality tales.”

Illustration by Stephen Webster and Brenan Sharp; Getty Images.  ABA Journal.

Illustration by Stephen Webster and Brenan Sharp; Getty Images. ABA Journal.

And just to prove the point further, in the last several years, our law firm’s LEGAL TRENDS, ODDS & ENDS e-newsletters have featured (with tongue firmly planted in cheek!) why lawyer-movies and lawyer-TV shows make for the most romantic Valentine’s Days.


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A few words from an old friend on Summer Camp Safety

Corey Andres is a sports and recreation expert, who specializes in sports programming, recreational facilities design and safety, athletic training conditioning, and youth camp supervision and administration. A few years back, Corey served as an expert witness for us in a significant sports injury case where a young mother had suffered a horrendous leg injury at a birthday party.

Summertime's calling...Time to ask some good questions to the camps which are caring for your kids.

Summertime’s calling…Time to ask some good questions to the camps which are caring for your kids.

(In that case, our client — a guest at a gym facility — had been encouraged to “play” on all types of gymnastic equipment without sufficient instructions or safety procedures in place. Corey’s opinions and insights were instrumental in helping us hold the facility accountable and helping this young mom – literally – get back on her feet.)

When Corey’s name popped up in a recent email about an article he’d written encouraging safe practices in summer camps, (entitled “The Questions To Ask Before Sending Your Child to Camp”) I thought it was so valuable, I called Corey and asked if I could share it.

He said he’d be honored.

So here they are:

1. What is your staffing ratio? (Campers/Counselors)
2. Do you perform background checks of all staff?
3. How many days of training do you provide staff?
4. Can I have a copy of your training manual?
5. Do you follow ACA Accreditation Guidelines?
6. How many incidents have you had in the last 5 years requiring outside medical treatment?
7. What aquatic activities do you provide?
8. Are life jackets and lifeguards on site for all aquatic activities?
9. What are your safety guidelines for shooting sports? (Archery, Rifle range)
10. If zip lines and ropes courses are available are courses and equipment inspected daily?

Corey’s article provides explanations behind each of these questions. READ MORE

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Justice Kagan takes the cake! (…or fish)

Although I don’t know the context, or the underlying issues in the case that led to this opinion from Justice Kagan, I’m not sure it really matters.

Apparently there was some dispute about whether a statute authorized criminal sanctions for fishermen who allegedly dispose of undersized fish.  The arguments involved the legal meaning of the term “tangible object” and whether fish — red groupers, to be specific– qualified.  To lend veracity and authenticity to her reasoned and erudite opinion, Justice Kagan cites an authority beyond dispute, and in so doing, surely she wins the award for the all-time greatest single citation to ever appear in a United States Supreme Court opinion.

To wit…

2015-02-25 Justice Kagan & Dr Suess-boxed

– mcd

PS – Thanks to my colleague and cohort in crime John D. Burns for letting me know the case: Yates v. United States.   (Go to page 29.)

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A “LEGAL REMEDY” for your Valentine’s Day?

OK, as we all head into this romantic Valentine’s weekend, why bother which “degree of grey” suits you best, when you can get those passionate juices flowing by just contemplating a bunch of lawyers in GREY SUITS?  Seriously, think about it… A quiet

Now THAT'S a great expert witness!  Joe Pesci finishes his direct examination of Marisa Tomei in "My Cousin Vinny" - #3 on the ABA's list of Top 25 Movies on The Law

Now THAT’S a great expert witness! Joe Pesci finishes his direct examination of Marisa Tomei in “My Cousin Vinny” – #3 on the ABA’s list of Top 25 Movies on The Law

evening.  You, your loved one. A quiet fire, a nice glass of wine. Who needs some silly romantic movie, when you have the option to watching one of The Top 25 Lawyer Movies as chosen by the American Bar Association a few years back?

Really, has Demi Moore ever looked hotter than in her JAG uniform in A Few Good Men? And is there anything more tender and loving than seeing Paul Newman haul off and cold-cock Charlotte Rampling in The Verdict?   OK, OK – maybe that’s not the most romantic fare, BUT — My Cousin Vinny, is #3 on the ABA’s list, and that really IS a fun date movie. Besides having some great scenes between Joe Pesci and Marisa Tomei, it has some of the funniest courtroom dialogue on film.

However, you decide to celebrate your love, be extra careful on the roads.  (I’d rather not have you call saying that your romantic evening was interrupted by someone who had “one too many” veering into your lane!)  Happy Valentine’s Day!


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A quick look back, before 2014 gets too far in the rear view…

Before 2014 gets too far in the distant past (where the heck did January go?), let’s look at some of the more important civil law appellate opinions from late in the year. More analysis will follow as time permits, but here’s our choice for the top five:

Lunsford v. Mills  An insured person under an auto policy is entitled to UIM coverage as soon as the policy of a single defendant is exhausted in a car crash involving multiple defendants.  (Check out my latest e-newsletter for a more thorough discussion.)

Truhan v. Walston  When a sheriff deputy drove at  high speeds with no lights or sirens on the way to merely direct traffic at a minor accident scene, he may have violated traffic laws, including NCGS § 20-145.

Nicholson v. Thom  In a medical negligence action, the injured plaintiff was not required under the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur to produce an expert witness to provide testimony against the defendant surgeon about the side effects of the medicine she was taking when she left a surgical sponge in the plaintiff during surgery.

Mohr v. Matthews  The defense of contributory negligence barred the estate of a 19-year old young man who was killed in a crash from recovering a wrongful death claim, even though the social host defendants knowingly provided alcohol to him and informed him that “the keys are in the car” they knew he was going to drive.

Kelly v. United States  The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina ruled that a liability waiver signed by the parent of a minor child was enforceable, following an injury to that child while using a rock-climbing apparatus at a JROTC event.

–mcd 2/3/2015     DaisleyLaw - Logo and Tagline

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Judicial Elections 2014…and other scary ghost stories!

Ah, late October…Time for spooky, scary, silly antics in the hopes of getting some sweet treats.  Of course, I am talking about the election season, which blessedly, is soon coming to an end. Early voting in North Carolina begins tomorrow (Thursday (10/23)DaisleyLaw - Logo and Tagline

For folks looking for scary Halloween costumes, some of the photo-shopped ugly images of Kay Hagan and Thom Tillis are offering some great ideas.  We’ve certainly seen them enough, after 80,000 TV commercials and more than $100 million spent.

And while no one can argue that the U.S. Senate race isn’t important, I would suggest that the choices in this year’s Judicial Elections are going to effect your life and the lives of your family, children and colleagues even more.  Elected bodies may pass laws, but the Judges interpret them and rule on what they mean for each of us.

Judge Sam J. "Jimmy" Ervin IV -- Looks a little different from his days when I met him as a Davidson freshman.

Judge Sam J. “Jimmy” Ervin IV — Looks a little different from his days when I met him as a Davidson freshman.

This year, the citizens of North Carolina will elect a majority for the North Carolina Supreme Court.  Four of the seven seats are being contested, and the stakes could hardly be higher.  Issues are coming before the High Court on patients’ rights, workers’ rights, voters’ rights and homeowners’ rights.  Very well-financed interests are lined up against these rights, so more than ever it is important to keep the Judiciary independent.  As I have written before, justice should not go to the highest bidder.

That’s why in the past I have let you know what was going to be on my ballot and why.  Many readers of LEGAL TRENDShave told me “thanks” for the guidance. A few have written to say that disagreed with my choices (which is fine).  And I guess it does folks some little bit of good, because this month I’ve received about a dozen emails in the last few weeks asking for this year’s picks.  So here goes…

My ballot will include checks by the names of Sam J. Ervin IV, Mark Martin, Cheri Beasley and Robin Hudson to serve (or continue serving) on the Supreme Court.

It was about this time last year,  I wrote in my LEGAL TRENDS, ODDS & ENDS newsletter my Davidson classmate, “Jimmy” Ervin, and what a good appellate Judge I believe he is.  (On this choice, I am splitting with the endorsement of NCAJ;  I’m doing so not to support a fellow Wildcat — see below that I’m not voting for Mike Robinson.  I’m voting for Jimmy Ervin because I think he’s a great judge.)  Likewise, I wrote earlier about my vote for Robin Hudson in the nasty primary race last spring.  While I really like Eric Levinson personally, I am very concerned with the high-dollar interests that have thrown big money into this race.

Although he is a Republican, Mark Martin in my mind is clearly the better choice.  And while I also like Michael Robinson (like Ervin another Davidson grad) he is very conservative politically, and I see no reason not to keep Justice Cheri Beasley on the bench.

Judge Lucy Inman is one of the best trial judges in the state.  She'll make a great addition to the Court of Appeals.

Judge Lucy Inman is one of the best trial judges in the state. She’ll make a great addition to the Court of Appeals.

The race for the North Carolina Court of Appeals is just nuts.  There are NINETEEN candidates on the ballot running for one seat.  And that’s just the beginning…there are four more squaring off for two other seats.  (Just so you know, the Court of Appeals is made up of 15 judges, who divide up into three-person panels to review cases that are appealed from the Superior and District Courts in the 100 counties, as well as some of the state’s administrative agencies.  They decide whether the trial judges or agencies committed errors about the law; they don’t determine the truth about any facts.)  John Arrowood is my choice out of the 19 for the “Martin” seat.    He is a well-respected attorney from Charlotte, and has served on the Appeals.   Lucy Inman is one of the best trial judges in the state, and would make a great addition to the Court of Appeals.  And Mark Davis wicked smart, has a great demeanor and very much deserves to stay on the Court.

Ok, so now we get down to the local level…

Back almost 20 years ago, I was on a very short list to be appointed by Gov. Jim Hunt to the Superior Court Bench.  While I was disappointed that he chose another Assistant District Attorney instead of a civil litigator like myself, I could not disagree that Bob Bell was an outstanding selection.  He has be a “superior” Superior Court Judge since 1997, and I heartily recommend him for another term.

My ballot, here in my neck of the woods in Mecklenburg County, also includes two contested races races for District Court Judge.  I’ll be proudly voting for Theo Nixon, but I honestly don’t know what I’m going to do between Casey Viser and Alicia Brooks.  (I don’t know either that well, and I’ve heard good and bad things from fellow attorneys.  Keep watching this space for updates…)

Finally, as I have said many times before, I am always delighted whenever I hear from readers of our LEGAL TRENDS newsletters or this blog on any issue involving the law (or anything else for that matter). If you disagree with any of my selections, that’s what democracy is all about.  So email me, or call my office (704-887-6776) and let’s schedule a visit.  Come try a cup of our fancy-schmancy coffee here.  I’ll pour.   –mcd

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How can someone not living in your house still be a “HOUSEHOLD RESIDENT”?

This has been quite a year for insurance coverage cases in North Carolina.  So far in 2014, there have been at least three opinions handed down by the N.C.

A very interesting case involving insurance coverage and Old Grand-Dad... but not this kind.!

A very interesting case involving insurance coverage and Old Grand-Dad…but not this kind.!

Court of Appeals that are worth close examination for their explanations and determinations of insurance coverage in various automobile crash cases.

As you might imagine, finding appropriate coverage for the harms done by a careless or drunk driver is integral part of our practice at DaisleyLaw.  Every case s different, and   you should always consult an attorney about your particular situation, a quick look at these three cases may help you spot potential concerns with your automobile insurance coverage.  (The focus here will be on the first one;  other blog comments to follow on the other cases.)

16-year-old Harley Jessup lived with her father in a small farmhouse about a mile away from the residence of her grandfather, Thurman Jessup. Both houses were owned by Grand-dad Thurman, and located on the same farm property owned by him.  One night, Harley was injured when a truck driven by her cousin Randall ran off the road into a ditch, causing Harley to be injured severely as she was ejected from the truck.  Randall’s insurance company paid out the full limits on Randall’s policy, but that did not begin to cover all of Harley’s expenses from her injuries. Additional coverage was sorely needed, and Harley’s attorneys filed a claim through the Under-Insured Motorist (UIM) portion of the policy owned by Grand-dad Thurman, through North Carolina Farm Bureau.

This may come as a shock, but Farm Bureau said, in essence, “Big Fat No!” It based its denial on the contention that Harley was not a “household resident” of her grandfather as required under Farm Bureau’s standard auto policy.  But in the case of North Carolina Farm Bureau vs. Paschal, the North Carolina Court of Appeals told Farm Bureau — “Big Fat No!”

Judge Linda McGee

Judge Linda McGee

Judge Linda McGee wrote the decision for a unanimous panel.  (Full disclosure: I have had the great pleasure of meeting Judge McGee on several occasions, and dining with her and her husband at the NCAJ Annual Convention, and I’m a pretty big fan.) The Court ruled against Farm Bureau’s interpretation, with Judge McGee focusing on previous court decisions which described the term “resident” as being “flexible, elastic, slippery and somewhat ambiguous…” and which has “many shades of meaning.”

Because insurance companies routinely spend a lot of money on lawyers to draft the precise wording of  its insurance policies, the courts in North Carolina and other jurisdictions typically hold their feet to the fire whenever the terms of those policies are ambiguous.

When an insurance company, in drafting its policy of insurance, uses a ‘slippery’ word to mark out and designate those who are insured under the policy, it is not the function of the court to sprinkle sand upon the ice by strict construction of the term (against the policyholder)…
Fonville v. Ins. Co.  36 N.C. 495, 497-8 (1978).

Thus, in this new case, the Court of Appeals determined that since Harley lived rent free in a home owned by Graddad Thurman on the same farm property also owned by him, and since her grandfather visited Harley almost every day and provided her with most of her food and clothing, and had the key and free access to Harley’s house, Harley was in fact a “household resident” of the family farm (even though living a mile away from Granddad Thurman’s house). She, therefore, was afforded coverage under the grandfather’s standard insurance policy.

This case was similar to a case handled by DaisleyLaw a few years back, where a young man was horribly injured in a road rage crash. His family came to us after being told by his insurance company there was no coverage at all. We were able to obtain — after our investigation revealed he spent significant time with both his mom and dad (who were at that time separated) — that he qualified as a “family member’ and “household resident” in two households. Eventually, we were able to get the full limits of coverage coverages under his, his mother’s and his dad’s automobile insurance policies.

ADDENDUM: Farm Bureau hasn’t paid anything yet to Harley. It asked the North Carolina Supreme Court for discretionary review, and that request has been granted. So stay tuned!

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NC Statewide Primary has one VERY important judicial race!

The latest e-Newsletter -- on perhaps THE most important race.

The latest e-Newsletter — on perhaps THE most important race.

Just sent out the latest LEGAL TRENDS ODDS & ENDS newsletter regarding the beginning of “early voting” and the NC statewide primary election.  Perhaps the most important race is one at the bottom of the ballot for a seat on the NC Supreme Court.  READ MORE...

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Marching to Madness – LEGAL TRENDS newsletter discusses the madness of spending millions on judicial races

The March 2014 e-dition of LEGAL TRENDS, ODDS & ENDS has been posted, and it highlights a whole new kind of “March Madness” on the “courts” — the courts of law in North Carolina.


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Seventy-four words that can save American Democracy.

Districts represented by members of Congress, or by members of any state legislative body, shall be compact and composed of contiguous territory. The state shall have the burden of justifying any departures from this requirement by reference to neutral criteria such as natural, political, or historical boundaries or demographic changes. The interest in enhancing or preserving the political power of the party in control of the state government is not such a neutral criterion.

This is the brain-child of former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens.  And if he gets his way (and I’ll do all I can to see that he does) it will become the next Amendment to the United States Constitution.  It is one of six proposed Amendments he is advocating in a new book (appropriately titled Six Amendments) to come out later this year.

Six Amendments -- But there's one that should be TOP priority

Six Amendments — But there’s one that should be TOP priority

Right now, though, the one that excites me is the one above regarding on political gerrymandering.  Folks that know me at all know that I have long been a critic of such practices, whether done by Democrats or Republicans.  Just within the last month, I had a piece in the Charlotte Observer complimenting the conservative Republican Secretary State of Ohio for his enlightened and courageous stand on the issue.  (The practice is also especially bad in North Carolina.)

As I’ve noted before in another op-ed piece,  The vast majority of this nation’s Congressional districts are surgically tailored to protect incumbents from one party or the other. This precise “gerrymandering” produces representatives who have zero incentive for reasoned compromise; indeed it is more likely to be penalized.

Thus, we have a situation where far more often politicians are pick their voters rather than voters having any substantive say in choosing their representatives.

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A victory for the good guys… courtesy of the NC Court of Appeals.

In a unanimous decision, the Appeals Court agreed with our position that the North Carolina Industrial Commission was wrong when it dismissed our client’s case involving a school bus, and a young child who was killed while crossing a rural highway in the pre-dawn hours to trying to get to his ride.

Sometimes it takes a while, but occasionally the good guys have a good day in Raleigh.  Such a day occurred earlier this week when the North Carolina Court of Appeals handed downed a well-reasoned and well-written opinion establishing jurisdiction within the NC Industrial Commission for a case involving a horrible pedestrian accident killing a 7-year old boy while he was trying to cross a rural highway to get to his school bus.

A case in search of a home…and this is it!
(The NC Industrial Commission building)

The case is Burns v. Union County Board of Education and it involves the wrongful death case of young Jonathan Beegle, who, as the opinion describes it… was waiting on the east of Medlin Road in Union County about six to ten feet from the roadway… At approximately 6:50 a.m., the bus… was travelling southbound…  As (the child) began to cross the street, a vehicle driven by a third party…was traveling northbound towards the stopped school bus. Before (the child) could reach the bus, he was struck (and) died later that day as a result of the trauma suffered in the accident.”

Just an unspeakably sad and awful loss.  (With her permission, I have written in this blog before about the very brave mom who is taking this tragedy as an opportunity to help others cope with their losses.)

Almost two years ago, we filed a claim under the State Torts Claims Act in the North Carolina Industrial Commission, based on a long standing statute giving that body jurisdiction to decide almost all school bus crashes.   But we received immediate opposition from the Attorney General’s office that the NCIC lacked any authority to decide the case or render any award to the child’s estate.  Basically, because we were upfront in saying we thought the case was more about negligent route design than driver error, the AG took the position that it was beyond the NCIC’s purview.

The Industrial Commission agreed with the Attorney General, but we appealed that decision to the Court of Appeals.  In essence, and Judge Robert C. Hunter (along with Judges Calabria and Robert N. Hunter) decided, they were wrong and we were right!

Big kudos to co-counsel SAM MCGEE for crafting an erudite, concise and clever brief that obviously did the trick with the Court!

Like I said, let’s hear it for the good guys!

(You can read more in an upcoming LEGAL TRENDS, ODDS & ENDS newsletter.)

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Advice to Keep Halloween Safe-via Channel 9

Reporter Jason Stoogenke interviewed me last week to understand better how residents can protect themselves from possible liability.

WSOC Reporter Jason Stoogenke interviews me regarding ways that help avoid legal liability to homeowners.

WSOC Reporter Jason Stoogenke interviews me regarding ways that help avoid legal liability to homeowners.

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NC Court of Appeals Proves Once Again — Being A Landowner Doesn’t Always Mean Having To Say You’re Sorry…

In a tough case involving crippling injuries to a Charlotte worker, the North Carolina Court of Appeals just last month handed down a case that once again proves that just because someone who is injured on your property — even someone who has been invited there — does not mean that you are legally liable to pay the resulting damages. Burnham v. S&L Sawmill, Inc, et al. NC Ct of Appls Case # COA12-1581

Judge Sam J. "Jimmy" Ervin IV

Judge Sam J. “Jimmy” Ervin IV – wrote the opinion upholding a dismissal of a trucker’s case against a landowner.

Nicholas Burnham worked as a dump truck driver for McGee Brothers Company in 2008, when he made a trip to the sawmill operated by S & L Sawmill, Inc. Once there, his task was to drive on to a scale to weigh the load, untie the binding straps which secured the load,, unload the logs and receive payment for the delivery before leaving. Although he had done this on numerous occasions previously, parking his truck in the same spot without incident, on April 3, 2008 his truck “was ‘fairly’ although not completely, level” with the truck leaning to the side slightly. As he engaged in the unloading process, a binding strap “snapped out” towards the place where he was standing, and a falling log rolled off and struck him, crippling him. He is now permanently confined to a wheelchair.

This case argued by three attorneys I know very well and for whom I have great respect, and the appellate decision was written by a Davidson classmate of mine, the Honorable Sam J. (“Jimmy”) Ervin IV. (Bribe me with enough wine, and I’ll tell you some not so “honorable” stories…heh, heh.)

In essence, Judge Ervin upheld the ruling by the trial judge (Yvonne Mims Evans is another jurist I know well, and for whom I have great respect) by explaining that the Plaintiff simply had not shown exactly what duty the Defendants had breached toward Mr. Burnham.

This opinion is a good “teaching” case, in that it quotes extensively from basic case law to more fully define and explain a landowner’s responsibilities. Judge Ervin quoted the seminal case of Nelson v. Freeland, 149 NC 615 (1998), as well as some others, as he tried to convey the delicate balance needed to hold landowners responsible for taking reasonable precautions for safety, but not making them liable for every injury that happens to occur on their property:

The ultimate issue…..

Having thus explained the law, Judge Ervin applied it in this case: “After carefully reviewing the record, we have been unable to find any record evidence tending to show that Defendants either created the condition which caused Plaintiff’s injury or failed to correct such a condition after notice of its existence.” And so the landowner wins, and the injured plaintiff doesn’t even get to a trial.

One final note: The next time you hear at some cocktail party some blowhard spouting off about how “everyone’s getting rich off of the legal system,” remind them that it’s just not so. I have no doubt the Plaintiff’s attorneys invested thousands of dollars on their own money to help their client and don’t have a dime to show for it. And neither the Defendant, nor its insurance company, didn’t have to pay a dime to a person horribly injured on its property.

Justice is a process, not necessarily any one result. We would all be wise to let the process work, and not muck it up any further through misguided “tort reform.”

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At least ONE good new law…Yaaaaay!!

Folks who know me well, know that I have not been a big fan of this General Assembly, so I want to take any opportunity I can to broadcast some good news coming from Raleigh.  Session Law 2013-159 brought about a few important changes in how civil cases will be litigated, and for the most part I think there’s a lot more good than bad.


The Legislative Building in Raleigh: A place where good ideas were hard to come by.

  • Small Claims Court can now hear disputes up to $10,000;
  • District Court is allowed to hear claims up to $25,000;
  • Arbitration may be required for many more small disputes, with new penalties for parties that appeal the arbitration award and lose; (I’m reserving judgment on that one.)
  • Insurance companies now have greater incentive to settle lawsuits up to $25,000.  If a Plaintiff wins a higher amount at trial than what the insurance company offered, the insurer may be required to pay the Plaintiff’s attorneys’ fees and costs.  (The old limit was $20,000. There are a lot of requirements and considerations that go into this, so be sure to check with an attorney in you need more details!)
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Happy (Real) Independence Day! …The Second of July

image003Yesterday, we sent out our firm’s annual Fourth of July e-newsletter.  We hope you’ll take the time to look at it, and even more so, take some time to read or listen to The Declaration of Independence.  Have a safe and celebratory Fourth of July everyone!


Resolved: That these united colonies are and of right ought to be free and independent states…

On this day, July SECOND, in 1776, the Continental Congress passed a resolution that the 13 “united colonies” were now “states” — free and independent from the British crown.

The next morning (while a more formal declaration was being hammered out by “Mr. Jefferson from Virginia”) John Adams wrote a letter to his wife Abigail.  In it, he expressed just how important the occasion was:

Yesterday the greatest question was decided, which ever was debated in America, and a greater, perhaps, never was or will be decided among Men. A resolution was passed without one dissenting colony “that these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states…You will see In a few days a declaration setting forth the causes which have impelled us to this mighty revolution and the reasons which will justify it in the sight of God and man.

John to Abigail: "You will think me transported with enthusiasm" for The Second of July!

John to Abigail: “You will think me transported with enthusiasm” for The Second of July!

In a second letter, written that evening, he predicted “The Second of July” would be the new nation’s day of celebration:

The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival… with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.

Even though Mr. Adams may have missed the mark on which date on the calendar would get notoriety, he was “spot on” when he concluded to his wife and closest confidante:

You will think me transported with enthusiasm; but I am not. I am well aware of the toil, and blood, and treasure, that it will cost us to maintain this declaration, and support and defend these states. Yet, through all the gloom, I can see the rays of light and glory; I can see that the end is more than worth all the means, and that posterity will triumph…

Regardless what kind of “bells, bonfires or illuminations”  you choose to celebrate this 237th anniversary of our nation’s independence, I do hope it is done safely for you and your family.

Read more in my LEGAL TRENDS e-newsletter.

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When is a Civil Contempt fine more than a fine?

When is a Civil Contempt fine more than a fine?

In a brand new opinion from the Court of Appeals, a “creative” order from a District Court Judge was given a stamp of approval.

The defendant in Tyll v. Berry was told to have no contact with the plaintiff or the plaintiff’s family for a year.  It appears the Defendant had a tough time paying attention to the calendar because after one month, he was at it again sending harassing emails, only this time to a more distant branch of the plaintiff’s family tree.

The Judge accessed a contempt fine against the Defendant, but added the requirement that the payment be made NOT to the Clerk of Court, but to THE PLAINTIFF.  Typically, damages are not awarded to a party for the other party’s contempt but fines are not unusual at all.  Here the fine is just ordered to be paid to the Plaintiff.

You can READ MORE in North Carolina Lawyers Weekly.

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