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Voted Encore Magazine's Best Lawyer in Wilmington NC. You want a trusted attorney with a winning track record when your future is in the balance. Wilmington NC attorneys Shipman & Wright have established a tradition of excellence in southeastern North Carolina. From estate planning to personal injury litigation, our attorneys are here to guide you through your most difficult choices and toughest times.

 

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A personal injury in Wilmington can instantly change your life and there are many kinds of accidents that can change your life, including auto accidents, being injured at work or damage to you caused by a defective product. When this happens, its critical you find the right accident lawyer in Wilmington NC. Learn more here.

A personal injury in Wilmington can instantly change your life and there are many kinds of accidents that can change your life, including auto a

Court of Appeals Rules in Favor of Shipman & Wright Client

By Kyle Nutt

 

On April 4, 2017, a unanimous panel of the North Carolina Court of Appeals issued an opinion reversing a Brunswick County jury verdict and mandating judgment in favor of Shipman & Wright client.

 

Attorney Kyle Nutt represented the Defendant Robin Hewitt in the matter. Hewitt v. Hewitt (No. COA16-16) concerned a dispute as to a real estate transaction between mother and daughter. The mother, Gail Hewitt, claimed that the contract she signed selling the property erroneously left out a clause that would have allowed her to live on the property for the rest of her life. It was undisputed that the contract and deed signed by all parties contained no such clause.

 

In the face of the clear terms of the contract, Gail Hewitt contended that her daughter, Robin, owed her “fiduciary duties” as a result of their relationship as mother and daughter, which she contended prevented Robin from enforcing the contract to acquire clear title to the property. Under North Carolina law, the existence of a “fiduciary relationship” can prevent a “dominant” party from obtaining benefits at the expense of a party who has the highest degree of trust and  confidence in the dominant party. Legally recognized fiduciary relationships include attorney-client, physician-patient, trustee-beneficiary, and husband and wife.

 

After a trial that spanned nearly two weeks, a jury found that the parties had a “fiduciary relationship” which prevented the transaction from being enforced due to the fact it did not contain the clause for lifetime rights Gail claimed was part of their deal. Attorney Nutt appealed the judgment on the basis that there was no evidence to support the existence of a fiduciary relationship and that all material terms of the contract had been fully disclosed to Gail, who had the assistance of an attorney she had known for fifteen years to close the transaction.

 

In reversing the jury verdict, the Court of Appeals held that all the evidence established that the relationship between Gail and Robin was a normal parent-child relationship, which under North Carolina law is not a “fiduciary relationship.” The Court’s opinion also highlighted undisputed evidence that Gail and Robin were entirely independent from one another, having lived on opposite sides of the country for twenty-seven years, and did not have the type of “close and confidential” relationship required to meet the legal definition of a “fiduciary.” The Court stated “Plaintiff’s own account of her relationship with her daughter, while endearing, in no way indicates that Defendant exploited or attempted to exploit the relationship for her benefit.”

 

The full opinion may be viewed here.

 

 

 

 

Tuesday May 2nd 20th, 2017

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A personal injury in Wilmington can instantly change your life and there are many kinds of accidents that can change your life, including auto a
A personal injury in Wilmington can instantly change your life and there are many kinds of accidents that can change your life, including auto a
A personal injury in Wilmington can instantly change your life and there are many kinds of accidents that can change your life, including auto a
A personal injury in Wilmington can instantly change your life and there are many kinds of accidents that can change your life, including auto a
A personal injury in Wilmington can instantly change your life and there are many kinds of accidents that can change your life, including auto a