We will hold the planned in-person Fall Seminar in Hilton Head on September 19-21. The date, location, and format are different from our traditional one-day program as we honor the contract obligation from 2020 with the Omni Hilton Head Resort. Our program planners have coordinated an excellent program that you will not want to miss. You will be able to either attend in person in Hilton Head or attend virtually as we live stream the sessions on Monday and Tuesday mornings.
While we can’t wait to see our members and guests in person, the health and safety of our attendees is a priority. Meeting rooms and meal functions will be set to a moderately social distanced layout, and we will have guidelines to address attendee interaction, comfort, masks, and other safety protocols.
Networking with each other is always the highlight of our meetings and events, and one of the greatest values of NCADA membership. Whether you attend in-person or virtually, we will offer an Event App to help connect with each other and also with our loyal litigation support partners. Content for the Event App is being put together now and will be open in advance of the meeting.
As of this writing there are still a few rooms available at the Omni Hilton Resort. If you missed the window to make your room reservation, please contact Jennifer Edwards to check availability or to be added to the wait list. If you can’t make it in person, I encourage you to register to attend virtually. The program promises to be informational and well worth your time. Download the detailed program agenda to see what is in store.
See you in Hilton Head!
The North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys (NCADA) recognized three members who have shown dedication to volunteering for the organization at the Business Meeting portion of the 44th Annual Meeting and Spring Program on June 11, 2021.
Robert Kaylor of Law Offices of Robert Kaylor; George Simpson, IV of Simpson Law, PLLC; and David Wisz of Bailey Dixon, LLP were honored with the Outstanding Volunteer Award. This infrequently awarded honorarium is only given to members who have shown exemplary dedication to furthering NCADA’s mission statement of “bringing together civil trial attorneys to promote the administration of justice, the exchange of information, ideas, and litigation techniques, and to strengthen the practice, improve the skills, and enhance the knowledge of lawyers who defend individuals and represent businesses in civil cases in North Carolina.”
The awards ceremony will be conducted in person at the organization’s 2021 Fall Seminar in Hilton Head, SC, September 19-21, 2021.
NCADA Elects New Officers and Directors at the Virtual 43rd Annual Meeting
Raleigh, N.C. -- The North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys (NCADA) held its Virtual 44th Annual Meeting June 4, 11, and 17, 2021, swearing in a new slate of Officers and Directors during the Business Meeting portion.
Sara R. Lincoln assumes the position of President. Lincoln is a partner with Lincoln Derr, PLLC in Charlotte. She has an active trial practice ranging from medical malpractice defense to complex business litigation. Lincoln obtained her J.D. in 1993 from the University of Akron School of Law, magna cum laude. She has previously served a three-year term on the Board of Directors and was chair of the Association’s Women Litigators Committee and the Medical Malpractice Group.
Allen Smith is immediate Past President of the Association. Smith is a partner with Hedrick Gardner Kincheloe & Garofalo, LLP in Charlotte. He is the leader of the Trucking and Transportation Practice Group and devotes much of his time to defending serious personal injury and wrongful death claims associated with truck accidents and major vehicle negligence. He also defends product liability, construction defect, and premises liability claims. Smith obtained his J.D. from the University of North Carolina School of Law in 1992. He previously served a three-year term on the Board of Directors and one year as Secretary.
Ashley K. Brathwaite is President-Elect. Brathwaite practices with Ellis & Winters, LLP. Her practice is divided between the representation of health care providers, product manufacturers and distributors, and others facing allegations of liability for a catastrophic personal injury. She obtained her J.D. from Campbell University School of Law in 2005. Brathwaite has served on the Board since 2015 and previously chaired and co-chaired the Women Litigators Committee.
Chris Kiger was elected Executive Vice President. He previously served as Secretary. Chris practices with Smith Anderson, LLP. His focus is in the areas of products liability, mass tort, and commercial litigation. He has significant experience representing manufacturers, insurers, and other corporate clients in both state and federal courts, as well as in multi-district litigation. He has successfully handled the defense of litigation involving a broad array of automotive, industrial, consumer, and medical products. Chris is a graduate of Elon College and received his Juris Doctorate from the University of NC. He was inducted into the Elon College Basketball Hall of Fame in 1998.
JD Keister was re-elected Treasurer. Keister Practices with McAngus Goudelock & Courie, LLP in their Raleigh office. He routinely engages in the representation of parties in construction, professional liability, coverage and bad faith, real estate litigation, catastrophic loss, transportation and automobile litigation and commercial litigation, as well as first party defense for insurance carriers.. JD obtained his juris doctorate from Ohio Northern University Pettit College of Law.
George Simpson, IV was elected Secretary. George is the founding member of Simpson Law, PLLC located in Raleigh. After graduating with honors from UNC as a double major, George attended UNC Law School. During law school, he served as Editor-in-Chief of the North Carolina Journal of International Law and Commercial Regulation, and worked as a student extern for Judge John Martin of the North Carolina Court of Appeals. His practice focuses on insurance disputes and defense, business disputes, regulatory compliance matters, and subrogation claims.
The NCADA welcomed the following members to the Board of Directors to serve a three-year term ending in 2024:
Gloria Becker, Batten Lee, PLLC
Isaac Linnartz, Smith Anderson
Jay Salsman, Harris Creech Ward & Blackerby, PA
Nicole Slaughter, Hamlet & Associates, PLLC
Mark Stafford, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, LLP
About the NCADA: North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys (NCADA) is a professional organization of nearly 800 attorneys and paralegals who devote a majority of their time representing the interests of business and individuals in civil litigation. For more information about the NCADA, please contact (919)239-4463 or visit www.ncada.org.
By popular request, NCADA will begin posting firm job announcements on the website and promote on the Weekly Update and social media. Job announcements will be posted up to four (4) weeks on the website and in the Weekly Update newsletter for $75 per posting. The website page is in development so we will provide courtesy postings in the interim.
Vernis & Bowling Insurance Defense Litigation Associate, North Carolina (September 14)
Barnwell Whaley Mid-level Litigation Associate Charleston, SC
(August 17, 2021)
Barnwell Whaley Mid-level Litigation Associate Wilmington, NC
(August 17, 2021)
Vernis & Bowling seeks a career track attorney with 3+years’ experience in the area of insurance defense litigation experience. Knowledge of both state and federal court proceedings and rules is strongly preferred. Associate will be responsible for handling their own case load and manage deadlines. Associates will provide initial case analysis, develop defense case strategy, conduct discovery, take depositions, draft motions, attend hearings and negotiate settlements. Associates are also expected to assist with and sometimes lead trials. Therefore, trial and jury experience a plus.
Skills Trial preparation, attendance and experience a plus., Excellent writing, analysis, research, Negotiation, Client interaction
Licenses Must be admitted to practice in North Carolina, South Carolina Bar license a plus but not required.
Vernis & Bowling offers a competitive salary complimented by a benefits package including Medical Insurance, voluntary Vision and Dental Insurance, voluntary Life Insurance, short and long term disability coverage and a 401(K).
We are interested in speaking with qualified attorneys that share the same philosophy of providing exceptional, cost-effective, personal representation to our clients. This is an excellent career opportunity with competitive salary and benefits offered. Candidates with a book of business or partial book of business also considered. Submit a cover letter, resume to Hiring Attorney, R. Gregory Lewis at email@example.com.
With eighteen (18) offices located throughout Florida, Georgia, Alabama, North and South Carolina and Mississippi, we take pride in the racial, ethnic and religious diversity reflected by our attorneys and staff. Each of our offices reflect the diversity and make-up of the regions we serve.
Barnwell Whaley Wilmington
Barnwell Whaley is seeking a mid-level litigation associate in the Wilmington NC office to work on complex litigation matters. We are looking for candidates with 3+ years of experience, preferably in civil litigation defense.
The firm offers a competitive salary, benefits, and a bonus structure for motivated individuals. The firm also offers a full benefits package including medical, dental, 401k, vision, short-term disability, life insurance, bar dues, and CLE expenses.
Please send your resume and cover letter to BWPH@barnwell-whaley.com.
Barnwell Whaley Charleston
Barnwell Whaley is seeking a mid-level litigation associate for the Charleston, SC office to work on complex litigation matters. We are looking for candidates with 3+ years of experience, preferably in civil litigation defense.
The firm offers a competitive salary, benefits, and bonus. The firm also offers a full benefits package including medical, dental, 401k, vision, short-term disability, life insurance, bar dues, and CLE expenses.
NCADA is pleased to announce the recipients for the J. Robert Elster Award for Professional Excellence and the Award for Excellence in Trial Advocacy for 2021.
Barbara "Bonnie" Weyher is this year’s recipient of the J. Robert Elster Award for Professional Excellence, which recognizes contributions to the organized Bar as a whole and to their community. Weyher is a founding partner of Yates McLamb & Weyher, LLP where she is now Senior Counsel and currently focuses her practice alternative dispute resolutions. As a trial lawyer, Weyher has successfully helped clients resolve commercial and business disputes, medical malpractice, product liability, and general liability claims. Weyher is a past president of the North Carolina State Bar, the Wake County Bar, and an active member of numerous other professional legal organizations.
Gary Parsons will receive this year’s Award for Trial Advocacy and is the fourth recipient of this Award recognizing members who are eminently qualified to advocate for clients in state and federal courtrooms. Recipients of this Award are considered by the NCADA as among the finest trial lawyers in the state. Parsons is a partner with Brooks Pierce practicing in the firm’s Raleigh office handling trials and appeals in state and federal courts. Parsons has argued before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, the North Carolina Supreme Court and the North Carolina Court of Appeals. He also appears regularly before all three U.S. District Courts in North Carolina and the North Carolina Business Court.
The Awards will presented at the Fall Meeting in September where NCADA will also recognize 2020 award recipients. Please join us in congratulating Bonnie Weyher and Gary Parsons as we recognize both as leaders in the NCADA and the civil trial bar.
HOORAY! The light at the end of the tunnel is now real bright. In fact, we are a good ways out of the tunnel, and many counties have resumed trials. In my experiences venturing out to restaurants, stores, and church since North Carolina lifted many of the Covid-19 restrictions, I have noticed relief and enthusiasm. I have seen lots and lots of smiles that were hidden by masks for the past year or so. I have also found it a lot easier to recognize people with masks off!
In terms of professional life, we still need to exercise patience. There remains a large backlog of cases on trial calendars, and some counties are operating fewer courtrooms than normal in order to accommodate social distancing requirements for jurors. In my home county of Mecklenburg, the courts are placing priorities and larger disputes. We all see cases in superior court that should really be in district court. I understand that these types of cases will receive a lower priority for trial and/or stronger encouragement to settle. Please make sure your clients understand this.
We also need to keep in mind that some courts, restaurants, and businesses still ask consumers to wear masks. This is another area where we need to be patient even if you have had your vaccine. Be thankful for the amazing progress our country and state have made this year!
Speaking of thankful, this is my final Note as president. I am thankful for our innovative staff, Lynette Pitt and Jennifer Edwards. They provided the organization with great opportunities for virtual meetings and programs over the past 14 months and in-person fellowship in different cities over the past 3 weeks. In Charlotte, we had at least 30 attorneys attend the social function at Legion Brewing. I am thankful for the distinguished defense attorneys who wrote columns on what it means to be a defense attorney. Those were great columns, and I learned something new in each one of them. I am thankful for our sponsors and encourage all members to use our sponsors. Finally, I am thankful for the hard work of the NCADA board, committees, and officers. The plaintiffs’ bar threw a lot our way, including ongoing efforts to modify Rule 414 and some related statutes and to end the doctrine of contributory negligence.
I hope I see you over Zoom at our Annual Meeting June 4,11, and 17; and in-person at the Fall Meeting In Hilton Head Island on September 19-21.
The North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys (NCADA) is a professional association for civil trial lawyers defending individuals and businesses in North Carolina. The NCADA membership is comprised of almost 900 North Carolina lawyers who defend individuals and represent the interests of North Carolina employers, businesses, and insurers.
The NCADA opposes Senate Bill 477, mischaracterized as the Victims’ Fair Treatment Act. The one-sided act abolishes the doctrine of contributory negligence without eliminating the inequities associated with the doctrine of joint and several liability.
Consequently, the NCADA does not advocate a change from our current system of contributory negligence. However, the Association does not oppose ending contributory negligence if all five (5) of these principles are followed:
1. The doctrine of joint and several liability is eliminated.
2. A claimant does not recover if his or her fault is greater than or equal to 50% of the total fault assigned by a jury.
3. A claimant cannot recover from any defendant who is assigned less fault than the claimant.
4. A jury is to assign fault for all potential tortfeasors whether parties to the action or not.
5. The doctrine of last clear chance is eliminated.
The NCADA views these five (5) principles as the foundation to a balanced change.
I hope all our members and friends are enjoying spring as society opens back up. I love spring and summer, and this spring has been more welcome than most.
This year has seen efforts by the plaintiffs’ bar to end the doctrine of contributory negligence in North Carolina. Their efforts have come through the judiciary and the legislature. In the case of Saunders v. Hull Property Group, LLC, the plaintiff filed a petition for discretionary review with the goal of having the North Carolina Supreme Court do away with the doctrine of contributory negligence. The NCADA submitted an amicus brief to the NC Court of Appeals in 2019 and conditional motion for leave to file an amicus brief to the NC Supreme Court in 2021. The Court of Appeals declined to end contributory negligence, and the Supreme Court denied the plaintiff's petition for discretionary review.
Prior to the dismissal, the NCADA put together a committee to study contributory negligence and comparative fault. The North Carolina Advocates for Justice seem determined to bring an end to our current system one way or the other. As it stands, North Carolina is one of four states (in addition to Alabama, Maryland, and Virginia) and the District of Columbia that still has a pure contributory negligence system as opposed to comparative fault. Our committee is not advocating for a change of the current law. Instead, we want the NCADA to be ready if legislation is introduced to abolish contributory negligence. Specifically, the committee is researching the types of changes we can accept.
Shortly after our first meeting, a state senator introduced Senate Bill 477, the Victims’ Fair Treatment Act. From our perspective, the bill was a non-starter. It ends contributory negligence, but does not end joint and several liability. As a result, we joined the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce, and a long list of business-oriented groups, in a letter dated April 12, 2021, to the NC Senate opposing this bill.
Our committee is working on a position statement addressing key issues. If there is going to be a change, there needs to be fairness to both sides, something that is not accomplished with Senate Bill 477. We will submit the proposed position statement to the board by the annual meeting and include principles that must be included if there is a change. The committee welcomes questions, comments, and suggestions from our members.
The pandemic brought tons of changes and challenges, but it also brought opportunity. In person meetings have been put on hold yet we have been able meet virtually via Zoom and a multitude of other platforms. A lot of great conversations and education have occurred online during the past 13 or more months. Did you know you have platform available to extend these conversations?
The NCADA’s website contains an online resource that connects the entire membership for discussion of trending issues, experts, recent case law, CLE, and any other topic of interest. The Member Network are discussion forums designed to allow NCADA members to easily engage, interact and brainstorm with each other from anywhere at any time by simply logging onto the NCADA’s website and using the forums.
This members’ only resource is accessible through the website and contains discussion forums for all our practice groups and for young lawyers, women litigators, paralegals, and the diversity committee. Members can choose to be a part of any or all of these forums to discuss any issue of interest with other members that are involved in the same practice groups or committees.
How do we access these forums? It’s easy. Here’s how:
To change your forum subscription settings, go to the Email subscriptions page within your member profile and click the Edit Profile button. Additionally, in the forum subscriptions section, you can unsubscribe from forums and topics and change the frequency of forum update notifications. Do not forget to click 'Save' to save your changes.
Start a conversation today!
Recognize a colleague, mentor or peer you hold in high esteem for the J. Robert Elster Award for Professional Excellence and the Award for Excellence in Trial Advocacy this year.
Present and past members of the NC Association of Defense Attorneys are eligible for consideration as a possible recipient for one of these awards. Recipients will be recognized during the 2021 virtual Annual Meeting on June 11, 2021, and presentations given at the fall meeting in September to both 2020 and 2021 recipients.
Deadline for submission is Wednesday, May 5, 2021. Your letter of nomination should be addressed to Leslie Packer, Chair, Awards Committee, c/o Lynette Pitt, Executive Director, NCADA, 4030 Wake Forest Road, Suite 203, Raleigh, NC, 27610.
Learn more about the J. Robert Elster Award for Professional Excellence and the Award for Excellence in Trial Advocacy.
2020 Patricia “Tricia” P. Shields
2019 G. Gray Wilson
2018 Kenneth Kyre, Jr.
2017 Leslie C. Packer
2016 John S. Willardson
2015 Honorable Linda Stephens
2014 Harvey L. Cosper, Jr.
2013 James W. Williams
2012 Richard V. Bennett
2011 L. P. “Tony” Hornthal, Jr.
2010 Charles E. Burgin, Jr.
2009 Sam S. Woodley, Jr.
2008 Alan W. Duncan
2007 William K. Davis
2006 J. Donald Cowan, Jr.
2005 James D. Blount, Jr.
& Stephen P. Millikin
2004 Richard T. Boyette
2020 David N. Allen
2019 Dan J. McLamb
2018 Samuel “Sammy” G. Thompson
North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys
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