Notable Results

You can also read about our recent results on our blog.

Workers’ Compensation

• Hyler v. GTE Products established the right of injured workers to lifetime medical expenses if necessary for the treatment of workplace injuries and occupational diseases.

• Pickrell v. Motor Convoy made it easier for surviving next-of-kin to recover death benefits for on-the-job deaths.

• Taylor v. Cone Mills extended benefits for brown lung disease to workers previously excluded from coverage under the Workers’ Compensation Act.

• Gunter v. Dayco Corp. made it easier for recently trained employees to get coverage for their injuries.

• Weaver v. American Nat’l Can Corp. required the Industrial Commission to consider all the evidence at a hearing, including the testimony of co-workers.

• English v. J.P. Stevens & Co. made it clear that employers must provide benefits for independent medical conditions that are complicated by work-related injuries.

• Fayne v. Fieldcrest Mills, Inc. allowed compensation for depression from frustration due to the delay in recuperating from a compensable injury.

• Mitchell v. Fieldcrest Mills, Inc. established that the work-related back injury and the worker’s preexisting diabetes had the combined effect of rendering the worker totally and permanently disabled.

• Haponski v. Constructors, Inc. found that psychiatric testimony that a worker’s inability to work was from increased depression from chronic pain from a prior injury supported a change of the worker’s condition.

• Dinkins v. Federal Paper Board Co. recognized that change of physical capacity to earn wages alone is sufficient support an award of additional compensation for change of the worker’s condition.

• Kanipe v. Lane Upholstery made it clear that an employer has the right to direct a worker’s medical treatment only after it accepts the worker’s claim for compensation.

• Shoemaker v. Creative Builders established that a worker is not required to participate in vocational rehabilitation when it is futile, and determined that a worker was entitled to compensation for injuries from an automobile accident caused by the effects of compensable encephalitis.

• Masood v. Erwin Oil Company established that the employees of a gas station/convenience store whose employer never obtained workers’ compensation insurance could still be covered under the policy of the gas station owner.

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Personal Injury & Wrongful Death

Our firm represented and obtained compensation for people who have suffered serious personal injuries all over the state:

• Wake County – An employee was severely burned in an explosion at a health care facility. An investigation revealed that a laundry company had improperly installed a clothes dryer, allowing natural gas to be released into an unvented room. When the dryer was turned on, the gas exploded.

•In discovery, we learned that the laundry company had not provided its installation technicians with proper training or equipment. We negotiated a settlement with the company’s insurer, fully compensating our client for his disfigurement, pain and suffering, and economic losses.

• A child suffered injuries to her intestines when she was caught on a suction drain in a wading pool in Durham County.

• A worker in a manufacturing plant in Halifax County was severely injured when her hand was crushed in an unguarded machine.

• A Yancey County truck driver was partially paralyzed when a corroded fertilizer hopper fell on him.

• A Vance County bricklayer died after his pickup truck was struck broadside at an intersection while he traveled to work.

• An employee of a water softener company was catastrophically injured, and later died, after a dump truck crossed the center line and hit him head on. In discovery our lawyers, working with experts, determined that the owner of the dump truck, a dealer, had failed to require its drivers to follow Federal Motor Carrier Safety regulations, and that the dump truck should never have been allowed on the road.

• A motorcyclist suffered severe injuries when a tractor trailer with wrongly positioned mirrors made an improper turn in front of him.

• Two men in Greensboro were struck by a mechanical door, causing one to lose an ear.

• Lawyers of the firm have assisted numerous individuals who have been injured in automobile accidents in obtaining compensation for their injuries.

• The firm has represented bicyclists who have been injured by drivers of automobiles who have failed to follow the rules of the road.

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Medical Negligence

Our lawyers have represented and obtained compensation for people who have been seriously injured as a result of medical negligence:

• A pregnant woman died after being denied hospital emergency services in Anson County.

• A patient from Cleveland County was paralyzed because of surgical malpractice.

• A woman in McDowell County had an unnecessary mastectomy after a pathologist switched her biopsy slides with another patient’s and mistakenly diagnosed her with breast cancer.

• Physicians in a VA hospital in Fayetteville failed to timely diagnose a veteran’s prostate cancer.

• A woman was severely burned in an operating room fire in Franklin County.

• A man suffered a stroke in a hospital when the nursing staff failed to respond to signs of intracranial hemorrhage.

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Products Liability

We have represented and obtained compensation for people who have sustained serious injured caused by defective products:

• A man in Martin County was blinded in one eye because a grease hose was defective.

• A woman in Wake County suffered toxic shock syndrome caused by a defective product.

• A fork lift operator from Cherokee County sustained multiple fractures when a defective seat detached, throwing the operator to the pavement.

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Employment Rights

• Our representation of Pam Robinson in a sexual harassment case against the Department of Correction resulted in a new law protecting State employees from harassment.

• A group of 45 truck drivers in Wilson County obtained a large recovery for wages and contract claims that the company had wrongfully refused to pay.

• Five women in Wake County won the largest jury verdict in a sexual harassment case in state history

• A class action against a textile manufacturer in Halifax County resulted in compensation of thousands of victims of racial discrimination

• Many corporate executives obtained favorable compensation arrangements and severance packages through negotiation

• When an employer in the Research Triangle refused to give vacation benefits it had promised, a class of 150 employees sued under the state’s Wage and Hour Act and won full compensation for their losses, plus penalties.

• A lawsuit on behalf of black employees of the North Carolina Agricultural Extension Service resulted in a landmark decision of the United States Supreme Court, and compensation for victims of racial discrimination in salaries and promotions.

• We obtained a favorable settlement for employees of a national restaurant chain in a race discrimination suit.

• Obtained a ruling from the federal appeals court that an employee alleging she was fired in retaliation for complaining about race discrimination had a right to a jury trial under North Carolina law.

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Labor Union Activities

• Played a lead role in numerous cases against J.P. Stevens during the most vigorous organizing effort ever seen in the South.

• In re Sarvis established that employees who participated in a strike but later unconditionally offered to return to work were not disqualified from receiving unemployment compensation benefits notwithstanding pending NLRB proceedings.

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Constitutional Rights & Civil Liberties

• Changed state sales tax policies affecting freedom of religion.

• Won a substantial verdict for a police officer who was dismissed for speaking out against police misconduct.

• When Andy Thomas, a longtime police officer, protested unlawful conduct in the police department, he was summarily fired. We brought suit on Mr. Thomas’ behalf in federal court, asserting that his constitutional rights had been violated. The jury agreed and awarded substantial damages.

• Textile Workers Union of America v. Cannon Mills declared that the Kannapolis Police Department was unconstitutionally constituted and operated.

• Lawsuit by doctor and patients under the state constitution resulted in legislation that ended the North Carolina Medical Society’s control of the North Carolina Medical Board.

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Civil Rights

• Small v. Martin improved conditions in state prisons.

• Willie M. v. Hunt established a statewide right to treatment services for troubled youths.

• We changed the method of electing county commissioners, city councils, and boards of education in many North Carolina communities

• We successfully represented Heather Sue Mercer in her Title IX suit against Duke University after the football coach excluded her from the team because of her sex.

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Criminal Defense

• Wake County jury found EMS worker not guilty on 17 counts of embezzling morphine from his company.

• Client found not guilty of assault arising out of an exchange with a security guard during a Carolina Hurricanes game.

• Manslaughter plea based on imperfect self defense argument for man accused of first degree murder in stabbing death

• Life sentence in capital murder trial of mentally retarded man accused of stabbing death.

• Dismissal of charges against young man accused of breaking into gymnasium.

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