Getting A Covenant Not To Compete Case Into The Business Court

Long time readers of this blog know that you can't designate a case limited to a covenant not to compete to the Business Court.  That's the Lifecare case, from 2008, in which Judge Tennille said "every suit based upon a breach of a restrictive covenant . . . [will not] give rise to a mandatory business case based upon 'unfair competition.'"

Judge Tennille intimated in Lifecare that additional allegations surrounding the breach of the covenant might give rise to the Business Court's mandatory jurisdiction.  He said:

For example, allegations of the theft of trade secrets which provide a competitive advantage to one party could give rise to a mandatory case. See e.g., Analog Devices v. Michalski, 157 N.C. App. 462, 579 S.E.2d 449 (2003). Also, actions designed to unfairly damage another’s business would give rise to an unfair competition claim. See, e.g., Sunbelt Rentals, Inc. v. Head & Engquist Equip., LLC, 174 N.C. App. 49, 620 S.E.2d 222 (2005).

Late last week, Judge Jolly refined the contours of the Business Court's unfair competition jurisdiction, in an Order on Notice of Designation in New Breed, Inc. v. Golden.  The New Breed complaint alleges that the multiple defendants, all former IT professionals with New Breed, were lured away by a competitor in violation of covenants contained in their employment agreements.

So what pushed New Breed over the hurdle and into the jurisdiction of the Court?  Judge Jolly said that the Complaint alleged unfair competition, which is a basis for mandatory jurisdiction under G.S.§7A-45.4(a)(4).  He said that the styling of that particular cause of action as "unfair and deceptive practices," which are excluded from the Court's unfair competition jurisdiction under Section 7A-45.4(a)(4), made no difference. 

He held:

Under North Carolina's current scheme of notice pleading, in examining a claim alleged in a complaint, neither the court nor party litigants are limited to the technical label given to the claim by the pleader. Rather, the reader appropriately should examine the actual facts alleged.

Op. Par. 13.

Upon examining the "actual facts alleged," Judge Jolly concluded the Complaint stated a claim for common law unfair competition, which he said was "a wrongful act done in the context of competition between business rivals."   Order 11. He read the Complaint to make allegations that "Defendants were guilty of unfair competition in that they wrongfully intended to (a) raid Plaintiff of its IT employees, (b) harm Plaintiff's business and (c) acquire Plaintiff's trade secrets and confidential and proprietary information." Id.

Also noteworthy in the Order is Judge Jolly's ruling that it isn't necessary to sue the competing business to make out a claim for unfair competition.  He held that "[t]he court cannot find a requirement that a competing business be a party litigant as a condition precedent to alleging a common law claim for unfair competition." Order 12.  New Breed sued only its former employees, not their new employer.

 

Piercing the Corporate Veil Is Still Not a Basis for Mandatory Business Court Jurisdiction

We can't say it better than Mack Sperling did about eight months ago:  "If you are thinking of designating a case to the Business Court because the Complaint raises allegations that the corporate veil should be pierced, stop.  Those types of allegations, without more, aren't enough to invoke the mandatory jurisdiction of the Court. "

In case you're wondering, the Business Court has not changed its mind since November.  Earlier today, in Bullard v. Liberty Healthcare Services of Mary Gran Nursing, LLC, Judge Tennille on his own motion denied the Defendants' designation of the matter as a mandatory complex business case.  As the Court stated unequivocally, "Piercing the corporate veil alone is insufficient to establish mandatory jurisdiction."  It is not the first time, or even the second time, the Court has made that statement.

The Notice of Designation contained a number of allegations regarding the potential complexity of the matter.  By remanding the case, the Business Court has reiterated that, when it comes to mandatory jurisdiction, the question is whether the matter fits into one of the "business" categories of Section 7A-45.4 of the General Statutes, regardless of complexity.  Rule 2.1 designation remains available for cases in which complexity (plus some business relationship) makes up for a case not fitting within the statute.

Polytec, Inc. v. Andrews, December 23, 2009 (Tennille)(unpublished)

The Court granted an Opposition to Notice of Designation of Action as a Mandatory Complex Business case, ruling that:

This matter appears on the face of the pleadings to involve enforcement of a restrictive covenant contained in a settlement agreement. No additional issues involving the identification, delineation and protection of trade secrets appear from the pleadings and response to the Opposition. Nor does there appear to be an unfair trade practice issue unrelated to the enforcement of the restrictive covenant. Where, as here, the only critical issue is the enforceability of a restrictive covenant, mandatory jurisdiction of the Business Court is not implicated.

Full Opinion

Opposition to Notice of Designation

Response to Opposition to Notice of Designation

Notice of Designation and Complaint

 

 

Blackburn v. L.E. Wooten & Co., December 10, 2009 (Tennille)(unpublished)

The Court denied an opposition to the designation of a case as a mandatory complex business case, holding that "[t]he allegations in the Complaint involve a breach of fiduciary duty and the failure to pay dividends and fall within the mandatory jurisdiction of the Business Court."

Full Opinion

Opposition to Designation

Response in Opposition to Designation

Complaint

Tyson v. Tyson, December 10, 2009 (Tennille)(unpublished)

The Court denied a motion opposing the designation of this case as a mandatory business case, holding that "this matter is a derivative action by a minority shareholder which involves issues relating to the law governing corporations," therefore "conclud[ing] that the allegations in the Complaint fall within the mandatory jurisdiction of the Business Court."

Full Opinion

Abraham v. Jauregui, November 25, 2009 (Diaz)(unpublished)

The Court overruled an opposition to designation in a case involving "real estate developments which failed during the current financial crisis."

The Court found these types of cases "especially suited" for consideration by the Business Court because "(1) they involve numerous parties, (2) they involve complex issues, (3) they involve current issues relating to real estate development that will result in written opinions of use to the bar and business community, (4) they may involve resolution of multi-state legal issues, (5) they will require coordination with bankruptcy courts and other federal courts, (6) they require management by one judge, (7) they will benefit from consistent legal rulings on the same kinds of issues, (8) they will be motion intensive, and (9) they will benefit from the use of the Court's electronic filing system."

Full Opinion

 

 

Veil Piercing Allegations Aren't Enough For Mandatory Business Court Jurisdiction

If you are thinking of designating a case to the Business Court because the Complaint raises allegations that the corporate veil should be pierced, stop.  Those types of allegations, without more, aren't enough to invoke the mandatory jurisdiction of the Court. 

There was a short order on that subject yesterday in CCE Development Corp. v. Jebara Investments, LLC, in which the Court held that "[p]iercing the corporate veil alone is insufficient to establish mandatory jurisdiction." 

There was a similar ruling earlier this year, in Robert N. Pulliam, CPA/ABV PLLC v. Gardner, where the Court held "the presence of veil piercing allegations are not, in and of themselves, grounds for jurisdiction under N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7A-45.4(a)."

McKinnon v. CV Industries, Inc., April 20, 2009 (Tennille)(unpublished)

The Court had mandatory jurisdiction over Plaintiff's complaint because it involved the interpretation of a shareholders agreement, and also because it involved the rights to manufacture certain products and use certain processes covered by patents.

Full Opinion

Complaint

Business Court Jurisdiction Is Forever

Once the Business Court takes jurisdiction over a case, that jurisdiction remains in place for the life of the case, regardless of dismissals of parties or changes in the nature of the claims.

That was the ruling of the Court last week in Mattress Now, Inc. v. KS Bank, Inc. in response to the Plaintiff's Motion to Remand.

The case had been designated to the Business Court by the Defendant Bank, which was one of two defendants. The Plaintiff challenged that designation, but the Court rejected Plaintiff's arguments in an earlier ruling and refused to remand the case.  After that, the Plaintiff settled the claims involving the Bank.

Plaintiff then moved again to remand.  It asserted in its Motion that the remaining claims "do not involve the corporate law and banking issues that justified removal of this case to the Business Court" and that none of the issues "require the expertise of the Business Court."

Judge Tennille, in a very short ruling, held "[t]his case was designated a mandatory complex business case pursuant to North Carolina General Statute Section 7A-45.4 on August 12, 2008. Once jurisdiction attaches, it remains attached for the entire case."

The NC Business Court Now Has Jurisdiction Over Utility Poles

The Business Court now has jurisdiction over utility pole disputes between communications providers and municipalities.  That surprising expansion of the Court's jurisdiction is thanks to a new law passed at the just concluded session of the North Carolina Legislature.

New section 62-55 of the General Statutes requires a municipality that "owns or controls poles, ducts, or conduits" to allow a "communications service provider" to have access to those resources at "just, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory rate." (The statute doesn't apply if the poles, ducts, or conduits are subject to federal regulation under the Communications Act of 1934).

If a provider makes a request for access, and the request is refused, the new statute provides that either party can have its claim resolved by the Business Court, which will have exclusive jurisdiction over the dispute. The jurisdiction kicks in only after the expiration of a 90-day negotiation period or before then if either side "believes in good faith that an impasse has been reached."

The law became effective July 10, 2009. Earlier this week, in Town of Murphy v. Verizon South, Inc., Judge Tennille discussed the new statute and the procedure that the Business Court intends to follow with respect to utility pole disputes. Among other things,the Court discouraged "gamesmanship" which might result in a party rushing to file a lawsuit before the expiration of the 90 day negotiation period. Judge Tennille said "[t]he parties would be well advised to use the mediation process if their negotiations are not proving fruitful and leave it to the mediator to declare an impasse."

In the Town of Murphy case, Judge Tennille remanded a utility pole dispute to Cherokee County Superior Court. The case had been filed before the effective date of the statute, and Judge Tennille ruled that the new law was not retroactive.

Mattress Now, Inc., v. KS Bank, Inc., August 12, 2009 (Tennille)(unpublished)

Once the Business Court takes jurisdiction over case, that jurisdiction remains in place for the life of the case, regardless of dismissals of parties or changes in the nature of the claims.

In this case, the Plaintiff moved to remand the case to Superior Court, arguing that it had settled its claims with the party which had designated the case to the Business Court. It asserted that the remaining claims did "not involve the corporate law and banking issues that justified removal of this case to the Business Court" and that none of the issues "require the expertise of the Business Court."

The Court denied the motion, holding "[t]his case was designated a mandatory complex business case pursuant to North Carolina General Statute Section 7A-45.4 on August 12, 2008. Once jurisdiction attaches, it remains attached for the entire case."

Full Opinion

Motion to Remand

Mast v. Edward D. Jones & Co., June 3, 2009 (Tennille)(unpublished)

Complaint asserting breach of fiduciary duty by securities broker fell within the Court's mandatory jurisdiction over securities matters, as did issues regarding enforceability of arbitration provisions in brokerage agreement.

Order

Opposition to Notice of Designation

Brief in Support of Notice of Designation

Notice of Designation and Complaint

 

Robert N. Pulliam, CPA/ABV PLLC v.Gardner, March 26, 2009 (Tennille)(unpublished)

The Court granted a Motion opposing the designation of the case, which involved the allegedly fraudulent transfer of assets by a corporate defendant and its sole shareholder, as a mandatory complex business case.  The Court ruled that the allegations did not present a material issue related to the law governing corporations.  The Court found that the principal issue in the case involved the Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act, and furthermore that Defendant's potential individual liability based on veil piercing allegations did not by itself create grounds for mandatory jurisdiction. 

Full Opinion

Brief in Opposition to Notice Of Designation

Brief in Support of Notice of Designation

Notice of Designation and Complaint

Phillips and Jordan, Inc. v. Bostic, March 25, 2009 (Tennille)(unpublished)

The Court denied an Opposition to Designation of Action as a Mandatory Complex Business case, which was based partly on the argument that the case had been pending for a year before the Notice of Designation was filed.

The Complaint had been amended, however, to state a new claim for constructive fraud.  The Court observed that the new claim was "substantively different from the original claims."

The Court's denial was based on Business Court Rule 3.1,  which states that “[i]n the event that a party amends a pleading under N.C. R. Civ. P. 15 . . . if the amendment raises a new material issue listed in subsections (a)(1) through (a)(6) of N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7A-45.4, then a Notice of Designation (with respect to the entire action) may be filed with respect to such new material issue. . . .” BCR 3.1(b) (2006).

The new cause of action fell under the Business Court's mandatory jurisdiction, because it alleged "(1) liability for actions taken by the Individual Defendants as corporate officers and directors, (2) 'preferential payment to various creditors,' and (3) liability for actions taken during a 'winding up' or 'dissolution' of" a corporate entity.  The Court found that "these allegations support mandatory jurisdiction under N.C. Gen. Stat. 7A-45.4."

Full Opinion

Gateway Management Services, Ltd. v. Belmonte, February 24, 2009 (Tennille)(unpublished)

The Business Court on its own motion remanded a case which had been designated to the Court based on its mandatory jurisdiction over cases involving unfair competition.

In the Notice of Designation, the Defendant asserted that "as a case between two direct competitors focused on slander and libel claims, this lawsuit meets the criteria for designation as a mandatory complex business case because it expressly involves state 'unfair competition law' separate and apart from section 75-1.1." The Defendant further alleged the Plaintiff's allegations of false statements by the Defendant regarding the Plaintiff's "methods of business and corporate integrity" brought the case within the mandatory jurisdiction of the Court.

The Court disagreed, stating in its brief Order that the case was "primarily concerned with libel and slander claims."

Full Opinion.

Notice of Designation and Complaint

Variety Wholesalers, Inc. v. Salem Logistics Traffic Services, LLC, February 23, 2009 (Tennille)(unpublished)

The Court granted a Motion to Remand, holding that "this litigation is a straight forward contract case. Contract cases are routinely adjudicated in Superior Court."

Full Opinion

Complaint

Allen v. Land Resource Group, December 8, 2008 (Tennille)(unpublished)

A lawsuit regarding a residential property development, in which the Plaintiffs made claims against the developer of the project, its lenders, appraisers, and others under the Interstate Land Sales Full Disclosure Act, and for fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, and breach of contract, among others, fell within the Business Court's mandatory jurisdiction.  Some of the Defendants' marketing had been done over the internet.  The Court held:

This case involves material issues of corporate law and issues related to the internet and electronic commerce. This case specifically raises issues of corporate governance and fiduciary duties—areas of law plainly listed in N.C. Gen. State. § 7A-45.4(a)(1) as grounds for mandatory complex business designation. Furthermore, making sense of the complex relationships between the Defendants brings this action properly before the Business Court. The assignment of one presiding judge and use of the Business Court Rules will allow for the most efficient administration of justice. Lastly, the Chapter 11 filing made by several of the Defendants in this case is likely to add to the complexity of this litigation. Under these circumstances, mandatory complex business designation is proper.

Full Opinion

Brief in Opposition to Designation

Brief in Support of Designation (Scripps)

Brief in Support of Designation (Wachovia)

Complaint

Johnson v. Johnson, August 21, 2007 (Tennille)(unpublished)

A case does not have to be "complex" in order to qualify for the Business Court's mandatory jurisdiction.  In Johnson v. Johnson, the Court held that:

Plaintiff argues that the legal issues in this matter are not so complex as to warrant Rule 2.1 designation. Yet complexity or the lack thereof is not an issue under section 7A-45.4. Section 7A-45.4 simply requires that the action involves a material issue related to at least one of six subjects, including “[t]he law governing corporations” and “issues concerning governance” and “breach of duty of directors.” N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7A-45.4(a)(1) (LEXIS through 2007 legislation).

The Complaint in this case alleges, among other things, that Defendant breached his fiduciary duties as a shareholder, director, and officer of a closely held corporation. Since this matter involves material issues related to corporate law and breach of fiduciary duty, Plaintiff’s objection is overruled.

Full Opinion

Burgess v. American Express Company, Inc., April 17, 2007 (Tennille)(unpublished)

The Court had mandatory jurisdiction over a case involving Internet advertising, holding "[t]hat issue falls squarely within the definition of N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7A-45.4(a)(6) which covers material issues related to the Internet and electronic commerce. It also involves issues that would have implications for use of the Internet by others, both consumers and advertisers, who are not parties to this lawsuit."

Full Opinion

Warren v. Eli Research, February 28, 2008 (Tennille)(unpublished)

The Business Court held that it had mandatory jurisdiction over a Complaint which raised “potential issues of corporate governance and the duties of corporate officers and directors involved which are broader than a simple employment contract.”

Full Opinion

Stratton v. RBC Centura Banks, November 20, 2007 (Tennille)(unpublished)

The Business Court held that it had jurisdiction over a case relating to securities law under N.C. Gen. Stat. sec. 7A-45.4(a)(2).  The Complaint concerned issues regarding the ownership of shares in Centura Bank.

Full Opinion

Cox v. Mitchell, February 27, 2007 (Tennille)(unpublished)

The Business Court held that it had mandatory jurisdiction over a case involving the sale of financial products, holding "It is sufficient for purposes of removal to the Business Court that there are issues concerning which law applies which will have industry-wide application. The potential thus exists for the establishment of case law which may prove useful to consumers of and businesses selling financial products." issues which would have industry wide application, with the potential to establish case law which might prove useful to consumers of and businesses selling financial products).

Full Opinion

Delhaize America, Inc. v. Hinton, January 31, 2008 (Tennille)(unpublished)

The Business Court held that it had mandatory jurisdiction over a case involving complex tax matters.  The Court also noted that its decision "could have implications for other companies, and thus the publication of a written opinion by this Court could prove beneficial to the State and those companies."

Full Opinion

Bueche v. Noel, June 4, 2007 (Tennille)(unpublished)

The Business Court found that a case raising claims for receivership, securities law violations, piercing the corporate veil, and unfair and deceptive practices fell within its mandatory jurisdiction.  Among other things, the Court held that "claims based on piercing the corporate veil clearly fall within" its mandatory jurisdiction because they involve a material issue related to the law governing corporations under N.C. Gen. Stat. sec. 7A-45.4(a)(1).

Full Opinion

Albemarle Electric Membership Corp. v. Temple, Oct. 30, 2008 (Tennille)(unpublished)

The Business Court held that it had mandatory jurisdiction over a claim involving the interpretation and validity of the corporate bylaws of an electric membership cooperative.  The bylaws were similar to those of a number of other electric membership cooperatives, and the Court held "that the disposition of this case may have an impact far beyond the confines of this case."

Full Opinion

Velocity Fiber Broadband, LLC v. Lang Mangement, Inc., October 14, 2008 (unpublished)(Tennille)

The Court found that a Complaint seeking commissions due which would require the interpretation of various infrastructure agreements concerning "the fiber optic infrastructure to support the provision of telecommunication and internet services" fell within its jurisdiction over matters involving "the internet and electronic commerce." 

The Court found additional support for the designation in Defendant's counterclaim for misappropriation of trade secrets, which implicated its jurisdiction over matters involving "state trademark or unfair competition law."

Full Opinion

Opposition to Notice of Designation

Memorandum Supporting Retention of Action in Business Court

Notice of Designation and Complaint

 

Workplace Benefits, LLC v. Lifecare, Inc., July 14, 2008 (Tennille)(unpublished)

If a case involves only a breach of a covenant not to compete or a confidentiality agreement, it is not within the mandatory "unfair competition" jurisdiction of the North Carolina Business Court.

The Complaint in this case asserted that the Defendant was improperly using a Confidentiality Agreement signed by the individual Plaintiff to threaten her so she wouldn't call on potential customers.  The Plaintiffs further alleged that potential customers had been impeded from doing business with the corporate Plaintiff as a result. 

The Complaint sought a declaratory judgment that the Confidentiality Agreement was invalid, and also made claims for tortious interference with contract and a breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing.

The case was designated to the Business Court based on the Court's mandatory jurisdiction over cases involving "unfair competition law."  Judge Tennille disagreed that there was mandatory jurisdiction, and held:

every suit based upon a breach of a restrictive covenant or breach of a Confidentiality Agreement [will not] give rise to a mandatory business case based upon “unfair competition.” In order to raise a material issue of unfair competition, some additional factors must be alleged. For example, allegations of the theft of trade secrets which provide a competitive advantage to one party could give rise to a mandatory case. See e.g., Analog Devices v. Michalski, 157 N.C. App. 462, 579 S.E.2d 449 (2003). Also, actions designed to unfairly damage another’s business would give rise to an unfair competition claim. See, e.g., Sunbelt Rentals, Inc. v. Head & Engquist Equip., LLC, 174 N.C. App. 49, 620 S.E.2d 222 (2005).

The Court determined that those additional factors were lacking in the Workplace Benefits complaint. 

In another case, Brookhart v. ADT Security Services, Inc., July 23, 2008 (Tennille)(unpublished), the Court remanded a lawsuit in which the plaintiff sought a declaratory judgment that a covenant not to compete was invalid. Judge Tennille remanded the case on his own motion, before any Answer had been filed, and referenced the Workplace Benefits decision.

Full Opinion


Mattress Now, Inc. v. KS Bank, Inc., September 2, 2008 (Tennille)

Plaintiff sued the Defendant Bank for allegedly allowing improper deposits of company checks into a personal account.  The Bank designated the case to the Business Court based on its jurisdiction over cases involving "the law governing corporations, partnerships, limited liability companies, and limited liability partnerships." 

The Plaintiff moved to remand, arguing that the case involved nothing more than issues of agency, and that cases involving banking law were not included in the categories of cases over which the Business Court has mandatory jurisdiction.

The Bank contended in its Opposition to the Motion to Remand that the cases involved issues of "corporate governance" and corporate authority, and also unique issues under Article 3 of the Uniform Commercial Code which were of significance to the state's banking community.

The Business Court denied the Motion to Remand "for two reasons. First, it appears from the submissions that questions of authority of corporate officers will be a significant issue. Second, the decisions in this case could provide guidance to businesses and the financial community with respect to banking laws."

Brief Opposing Designation As A Mandatory Complex Business Case

Opposition To Motion To Remand

Full Opinion

Women's Healthcare Associates, P.A. v. TSI Healthcare, Inc., March 3, 2008 (Tennille)(unpublished)

The Court overruled an objection to its mandatory jurisdiction in this case involving a software license agreement.  It held, in affirming Defendant's Notice of Designation of the case as one involving "intellectual property law," that:

Software licensing has become an integral part of economic life. Decisions concerning software licensing can have an impact beyond the confines of a particular case and development of a body of case law in this area of law will be beneficial to the bar and business. See Smart Online, Inc. v. OpenSite Technologies, Inc. 2003 NCBC 5 (N.C. Super. Ct. June 17, 2003).  For the forgoing reasons, Plaintiff’s Objection to Designation is OVERRULED.

Full Opinion

Lexington Furniture Industries, Inc. v. The Bob Timberlake Collection, Inc., July 25, 2008 (Tennille)(unpublished)

The Business Court overruled an objection to its mandatory jurisdiction over a Complaint alleging breach of a trademark license agreement.  It held "this case involves both the right to use trademarks and the right to use designs previously sold under the trademarked names at issue. It involves issues which fall within the mandatory issues supporting assignment to the Business Court."

Full Opinion

Sonic Automotive, Inc. v. Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC, June 4, 2008 (Tennille)(unpublished)

The Business Court had mandatory jurisdiction under N.C. Gen. Stat. §7A-45.4 over plaintiff's lawsuit because it involved claims involving antitrust law, even though the complaint did not specifically allege an antitrust claim.  It was sufficient that the claim was essentially based on a "contract in restraint of trade."  The Court held:

Plaintiff has asked the Court to remand this action because the case “does not involve any . . . issue” regarding antitrust law or the law governing corporations. (Pl. Br. Supp. Opp’n 1.) The Court disagrees. First, this case potentially involves violations of antitrust law. Section 75-1.1 of the North Carolina General Statutes does not cover simple breach of contract. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 75-1.1 (2007). Thus, the unfair trade practices claim may involve antitrust issues. Second, this case may involve issues with broad ramifications for automobile dealers and manufacture[r]s. Third, this case may also involve the interplay between courts and administrative agencies. These parties and agencies will benefit from a single judge hearing this case. Fourth, this case involves the sale of a business or business assets. Fifth, the case is likely to be motion intensive.

Full Opinion

Ross v. Autumn House, Inc., February 26, 2008 (Tennille)(unpublished)

A Plaintiff has thirty days after the filing of its Complaint to file a Notice of Designation to the Business Court.

Full Opinion

Note that this opinion was essentially overruled in August 2012.

Ikerd v. Greenwood, April 8, 2008 (Tennille)(unpublished)

The Defendant failed to file its Notice of Designation to the Business Court within the thirty days of its receipt of either the Complaint or the Amended Complaint, as required by N.C. Gen. Stat. §7A-45.4.  The Court denied designation of the case as a mandatory complex business case due to the untimely filing, noting that the case could still be designated as a 2.1 case.

See this post for other cases involving challenges to the Court's mandatory jurisdiction.

Full Opinion

Goldstein v. Countrywide Homes, Inc., April 1, 2008 (Tennille)(unpublished)

The Court threw out a securities fraud case that would otherwise have been within the scope of its mandatory jurisdiction because there were already two cases pending in Wake County making similar claims. One of those cases had already received a Rule 2.1 designation as an exceptional case. The Court found that it would be more efficient if discovery in the cases was coordinated, and that inconsistent rulings would be avoided, and recommended that the case receive a 2.1 designation.

See this post for other cases involving challenges to the Court's mandatory jurisdiction.

Full Opinion