Justia North Carolina Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Commercial Law
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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the Business Court granting summary judgment in favor of Defendants, holding that the Business Court properly determined that North Carolina's economic loss rule requires negligence claims to be based upon the violation of an extra-contractual duty imposed by operation of law.At issue was whether a commercial property owner who contracts for the construction of a building may seek to recover in tort for its economic loss from a subcontracted manufacturer of building materials with whom the property owner does not have contractual privity. Applying the economic loss rule irrespective of the existence or lack of a contractual relationship between the property owner and the subcontracted manufacturer, the court dismissed Plaintiff's negligence claim with prejudice. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that purely economic losses are not recoverable under tort law, particularly in the context of commercial transactions. View "Crescent University City Venture, LLC v. Trussway Manufacturing, Inc." on Justia Law

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Salem Logistics entered into a loan agreement with Ark Royal Capital that required Salem to instruct its customers to send payments directly to an account maintained by Ark at Wachovia Bank. Salem subsequently agreed to provide freight bill auditing services to Variety Wholesalers. Salem requested that Variety send the amounts on the master invoices directly to the Wachovia account but did not inform Variety that the account was actually controlled by Ark. Variety later terminated its contract with Salem and filed suit for recovery of money it had forwarded to Salem that had not been paid to carriers. When Variety discovered the Wachovia account actually belonged to Ark, Variety added Ark as a defendant. The trial court entered summary judgment for Variety on its claim of conversion against Ark and for Ark on Variety's claim of constructive trust and ordered Ark to pay Variety $888,000. The court of appeals reversed and entered summary judgment for Ark on both issues. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded on both issues, holding (1) summary judgment was improper because there were genuine issues of material fact to be resolved; and (2) accordingly, the trial court also erred in its award of damages to Variety. View "Variety Wholesalers, Inc. v. Salem Logistics Traffic Servs." on Justia Law

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In this appeal the Supreme Court considered whether the clerk of superior court had the authority to determine the reasonableness of attorney's fees that a trustee-attorney in a foreclosure proceeding paid to himself in addition to his trustee's commission. The superior court affirmed the clerk's order. The court of appeals vacated the clerk's and trial court's orders, holding that the clerk lacked the statutory authority to determine the reasonableness of attorney's fees paid in a foreclosure proceeding. The Supreme Court affirmed the court of appeals, holding (1) the clerk exceeded his statutory authority by reducing the trustee-attorney's attorney's fees, and (2) absent a viable challenge for breach of fiduciary duty from a creditor with standing, the trustee-attorney's payment of attorney's fees to himself in addition to a trustee's commission could not be upset. View "In re Foreclosure of Vogler Realty, Inc." on Justia Law