Latest NC Supreme Court Decisions on Medical Malpractice and Employment Law

The North Carolina Supreme Court issued its latest round of decisions on April 15. Two cases are worthy of note. In the first, Brown v. Kindred Nursing Centers East, the 4-3 majority ruled that a plaintiff's medical malpracitce complaint had to be dismissed because the plaintiff did not properly comply with the 120-day extension procedure of Rule 9(j) -- the special rule for medical malpractice cases requiring the certification by a physician of the validity of the complaint. As the dissent pointed out, the majority's opinion was both wrong on the merits, and especially harsh because the plaintiff filed his original complaint pro se.

In White v. Thompson, the Court (again over a dissent by Justice Hudson) held that the plaintiff did not state a valid claim under the Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices (UDTP) Act. The case was between former business partners in a partnership. The Court concluded that the UDTP does not cover actions in a business’s internal operations. This continues a line of cases carving out most employment law disputes from the purview of the UDTP Act.