It’s Just Business

Analysis of North Carolina Business Court Decisions (and other musings)

Sometimes the Cards Must be Played Out Even When the Table has Cooled If the cards have been kind, often the better instinct is to cut and run before your luck changes. That was the plan in Aym Technologies, LLC v. Gene Rodgers, et al., (N.C. Super. Ct. March 19, 2020). The defendants got all of the plaintiff’s claims thrown out at summary judgment in an opinion we discussed here, and sought to stay…
If you have employees that work from home (WFH), you may be subject to PJ in their location. During the last few months, the NC Supreme and Business Courts have answered some tricky PJ questions:  Are pre-conflict contacts relevant?  (Yes and Yes); Is a single contract with a NC resident always enough to justify PJ?  (No, contacts not contracts matter).  Is PJ defense waivable? (Yes, and this case tested the
Q: Are pre-conflict NC contacts relevant? A: Yes. Q: What if they relate to a separate contract between the parties? A: Yes. Still relevant. In Button v. Level Four Orthotics & Prosthetics, Inc., 2020 NCBC 18 (Mar. 13, 2020), Judge Robinson considered whether the court could exercise personal jurisdiction over Florida defendants based in part on their course of dealing with the NC plaintiff, including “pre-conflict” NC contacts and consent to NC jurisdiction provisions…
Business Court Considers “Extraordinary” 5-Page Introductory Narrative An “introduction” section in a complaint can set the stage for the case and the claims being asserted. It can forecast and outline the allegations in a way that makes the pleading more “reader-friendly.” And surely, kicking off with a compelling narrative engages the reader in a way that reciting the “parties and jurisdiction” never could. But what are the limits when crafting such an opening? In Buckley…
In Cohen v. Continental, 2020 NCBC Order 12 (N.C. Super. Ct. Mar. 12, 2020) Judge Gale discussed several practical PJ issues – including waiver and website/e-mail contacts. Some takeaways are: PJ is a waivable defense. Raise it in your answer, and don’t wait too long to file your motion. Having an interactive website – even one with NC subscribers – may not establish PJ, particularly if the content is not NC-specific. In a specific PJ…
This afternoon, Chief Judge Bledsoe issued a second Order – 14 April 2020 NCBC Order – applicable to all Business Court Actions extending case management and other deadlines and procedures to match those in Chief Justice Beasley’s 13 April 2020 S.Ct. Order. In short, all case management deadlines for NCBC cases falling between 16 March 2020 and 1 June 2020 are extended to 1 June 2020, and anything else to be done before 1…
  Contacts, not contracts, are the key. Shortly after the Supreme Court’s decision in Beem USA Limited-Liability Ltd. P’ship v. Grax Consulting, LLC, — N.C. –, 838 S.E.2d 158 (2020), Judge Gale decided a series of personal jurisdiction motions in Diamond Candles, LLC v. Winter, 2020 NCBC 17 (N.C. Super. Ct. Mar. 12, 2020). The results were mixed. Key takeaways: Providing legal services to a NC client, alone, may not establish personal jurisdiction…
  Though challenges to Business Court designations, i.e. subject matter jurisdiction, are relatively common (see, e.g., Business Court Retains Case Even After ‘Jurisdictional Hook’ Claim is Dismissed), challenges to personal jurisdiction are less frequent.  So we noted with interest the North Carolina Supreme Court’s recent opinion on personal jurisdiction in Beem USA Limited-Liability Ltd. P’ship v. Grax Consulting, LLC, — N.C. — , 838 S.E.2d 158 (2020), a rare reversal of a Business Court…
Business Court Retains Case Even After ‘Jurisdictional Hook’ Claim Is Dismissed. We know that only certain types of claims can trigger Business Court jurisdiction. See N.C.G.S. 7A-45.4. But what happens when the claim that establishes jurisdiction—the ‘jurisdictional hook,’ if you will—is dismissed? Can the case still proceed in the Business Court? That question was answered in Gallaher v. Ciszek, 2020 NCBC Order 7 (N.C. Super. Ct. Feb. 17, 2020). See Order. Take-Away: Once…
Business Court Confirms a Right To Invest in a “Second” Project Extends No Further At Fifth and Church streets in uptown Charlotte, a group of investors opened the aptly named restaurant, 5Church. Other locations and restaurant brands followed, the fifth of which – Sophia’s Lounge – landed next door to the original location in an adjacent hotel building. A falling out among the investment group led the Business Court, in Maurice Panzino v. 5 Church,…