The issue here was the timeliness of Plaintiff’s claim against the estate of one of the defendants.  The Plaintiff had failed to serve that defendant’s personal representative with notice of his claim within the 90 day period prescribed in N.C. Gen. Stat. §28A-19-3(a).

The Plaintiff argued that it was excused from the notice requirement because the personal representative had a duty to notify it of the 90-day claim period.  In order to carry that burden, however, the Plaintiff needed to show that the personal representative had actual knowledge of the claim.  The Court that there was no such evidence, based on the affidavit of the personal representative denying such knowledge. The Court held that the personal representative had "no affirmative duty to shift through all the work files accumulated during [the decedent’s} career to determine whether any one of them could possibly be the basis of an unsatisfied claim that could be asserted against the estate."

The Court also rejected Plaintiff’s argument that its breach of contract claim was subject to the ten year statute of limitations of N.C. Gen. Stat. §1-47(2) because the contract had been signed under seal.  It found, as a matter of law, that the contract had not been signed under seal.

Full Opinion