Even if you read this blog regularly — and thanks if you do — you may not know that the Case Database feature here is a great place for researching a North Carolina business litigation issue. To get to that part of the blog, there’s a Case Database button near the top left:
Click on that. You’ll see the interface down below. Let’s say you were trying to decide whether a particular case fell within the Business Court’s statutory mandatory jurisdiction. If you looked in the annotations to N.C. Gen. Stat. §7A-45.4, you wouldn’t find any cases at all on that point. The same would be true if you searched that term on Westlaw. But if you check the "mandatory jurisdiction" box in the search box, or type those words as a search term, you’ll get links to more than ten unpublished cases decided by the Business Court on that subject.
That’s just one example. The Database contains searchable summaries of every numbered decision of the Business Court, which currently total 150 opinions going back to 1996. The Database also has nearly 100 summaries of decisions of the Court that didn’t get a number, and which therefore aren’t "published." Every summary has a link to the opinion or order. The unpublished orders and opinions can’t be found anywhere else other than the Court’s website. They aren’t readily accessible there and they get taken off line when a case is closed.
Here are a few examples of unpublished cases in the Database:
- A case discussing the issue of when it is permissible to contact the former employees of a party without informing opposing counsel. Symphony Service Corp. v. Motricity, Inc.
- A case quashing a subpoena to a law firm on the ground of attorney-client and work-product privilege. UPS Capital Business Credit, Inc. v. Royal American Company, LLC.
- A case where the Court dismissed unfair and deceptive practices claims made by a doctor against his former partners, based on the "learned profession" exemption to the statute and because the claim was not "in commerce." Faruque v. Bishopric.
- A case where the Court ordered specific performance of a Shareholders Agreement and required a minority shareholder to tender his shares to the corporation per the Agreement due to the termination of his employment. Western Piedmont Anesthesia, P.A. v. Barnette.
- A denial of a Motion for Temporary Restraining Order in a covenant not to compete case. Integrity Financial Services, LLC v. Gutierrez
- A case holding that the Court has the power to sanction parties for missing mediation deadlines without good cause. Hemenway v. Hemenway.
You can enter your own search term or use pre-defined terms, like these:
The more recent summaries I’ve done include links to the briefs of the parties. The briefs often have thorough discussions of the issues and extensive case citations.
It’s taken a while to get this feature working smoothly. It’s still not perfect and it doesn’t have the sleekness or high functionality of a Westlaw or a Lexis, but it’s working well enough for me to mention it specifically and to ask you to please try it out.