McIlveen and Project Halo team up


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The McIlveen Family Law Firm has jump started its summer by becoming involved with several charities around Charlotte and Gastonia. In fact, we are hosting an upcoming event for Project Halo in July!

Project Halo is a non-profit, no-kill animal rescue and sanctuary based in Charlotte, North Carolina. Project Halo is a 100% volunteer organization and is funded privately by generous donors. Without the dedicated volunteers and thoughtful donors, Project Halo would not exist. Plus, Project Halo is certified IRS 501(c)3 tax exempt and all donations are tax deductible.

Project Halo rescues homeless, stray and unwanted dogs and gives them a second chance by providing a safe and loving foster home. Project Halo provides any medical attention the dogs need while looking for a permanent loving home to adopt them. All of Project Halo’s animals are spayed or neutered and are vet current at the time of their adoption. Further, Project Halo provides a home for animals that are deemed unadoptable so that they may live out the rest of their lives in a loving, caring atmosphere.

No matter which Charlotte divorce lawyer you ask at the McIlveen Family Law Firm they adore their dogs and other animals and are extremely excited about the opportunity to support such an amazing cause. The goal is to host the event mid-July and to provide the charity with all types of equipment and products that they need in order to keep the kennel going.

We will be approaching vets, pet stores, etc. to collect items to donate to Project Halo. Also, we are obtaining 100 passes to Shopping for a Cause which is sponsored by Macy’s. These passes will be $5 each and 100% of the proceeds will be going to Project Halo. These passes will give the buyer access to discounted prices in any Macy’s store. This event is sure to be a great time for families in the Gastonia and Charlotte area, so be sure to check our website for the definite dates in the future!

Rising Flood Waters in Charlotte Mean Higher Insurance Costs

If you live in the Charlotte area then you that when the heavy rains come so does the flooding and it’s only getting worse. NC flood maps are being updated so be sure to check your address to see if your house is now in a flood zone. If so you may want to check with your insurance company to verify that you are covered in the event of a flood. 

See if your house is in the flood zone:

Check out the flood water history:

NC flood waters mapping project:

Insurance rates are about to skyrocket, study says

This image depicts U.S. insurance health, life...

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As reported by Lawyers Weekly, “Insurance industry executives across the country are making a concerted effort to raise coverage rates and boost profits, and they plan to use natural disasters and sue-happy lawyers as scapegoats, according to a Dec. 15 study. Americans for Insurance Reform, a coalition of nearly 100 consumer and public interest groups, concludes in its study, “Repeat Offenders: How the Insurance Industry Manufactures Crises and Harms America,” that insurers periodically cry wolf not only to fatten their wallets but also bolster calls for tort reform.”

New Year Brings New Laws to NC

  • Police Officer Breaking the Law

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    Young adults from 15-17 years old with a learner’s permit will need 60 hours of supervised driving, including night driving, to get their limited license. Then they will need 12 more hours over the following six months to qualify for a full license. January 1, 2012.

  • New law allows fathers to challenge paternity and set aside child support orders. Law becomes effective January 1, 2012 and provides that you have one year to file the motion from the date you discover or should have discovered that you are not the father of the child. The law provides that anyone who would otherwise be eligible under the law, may file through January 1, 2013.
  • Unlike North Carolina’s current Castle Doctrine, which applies only to homes, the revised law now applies to vehicles and places of work. North Carolina’s new “Castle Doctrine” law provides that the lawful occupant of a home, motor vehicle or workplace isn’t required to retreat prior to using deadly force. The law presumes that a person who unlawfully and by force enters or attempts to enter one of these locations intends to commit an unlawful act involving force or violence. December 1, 2011.

NC Court of Appeals Affirms Election of Remedies in Legal Malpractice


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I received a great Christmas present when the NC Court of Appeals issued an opinion in Danius v. Rogers, affirming summary judgment on behalf of a lawyer in a legal malpractice case I was defending. The plaintiffs settled the two underlying cases with the original tortfeasors and then filed suit against my client arguing that the lawyer’s alleged malpractice had damaged the settlement they were able to obtain. I argued that the plaintiffs had waived any claims against their attorney by electing to settle with the original tortfeasors. The Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment, holding that the election of remedies barred the plaintiffs from pursuing claims of malpractice. A summary of the opinion appeared in the NC Lawyers Weekly December 28, 2011 edition under “Important Decisions”. The full opinion can be read here.

Don’t Forget Your Carbon Monoxide Alarms

carbon monoxide

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More than 400 people are killed each year in the United States from carbon monoxide poisoning, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The American Medical Association reports that carbon monoxide poisoning is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in the United States.

Other CDC studies indicate that more than 20,000 people are hospitalized each year from this gas, and these poisonings are on the rise due in part to economic reasons. With a stressed economy and high unemployment, more families face utility shutoffs. As a result, they employ other sources of heat, such as kerosene heaters, gas generators, and improperly maintained wood stoves and fireplaces. Such heat sources carry a heavy risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Carbon monoxide alarms are essential protective devices in homes with gas appliances, gas heaters, and fireplaces. Here are some tips to consider concerning these important alarms.

  • To ensure a high-quality alarm, look for the Underwriters Laboratories certificate on any detector you purchase.
  • Connect these alarms to the smoke alarm system so that any alarm in the house becomes activated if a problem arises.
  • Periodically test these devices according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Batteries should be replaced at least once per year. Replacement of the alarm itself is often necessary after a few years since the average life span of carbon monoxide alarms is relatively short.
  • Verify that you have alarms in bedrooms and other locations where people may sleep since people who are sleeping can die from carbon monoxide poisoning without experiencing any symptoms.

Get more personal lines insurance and risk management tips and ideas from IRMI.

Copyright 2011
International Risk Management Institute, Inc.


Big Changes for Med Mal in N.C.

An electronic stethoscope.

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The new law effective on cases arising on or after October 1, 2011, requires the court to bifurcate a trial when a motion is made by counsel and where plaintiff seeks damages of $150,000 or more.  This means that in a medical malpractice case the jury must decide whether the doctor was negligent in a trial without knowing how much money the plaintiff is requesting. Then if the doctor is found negligent a second trial would determine how much money the plaintiff would be awarded.

Additionally, the law limits non economic damages to $500,000 except in cases of death, loss of use of a body part or disfigurement.

Billed vs. Paid – A Big Change for Plaintiffs

Medical Bills

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N.C. House Bill 542 created Rule 414 of the North Carolina Rules of Evidence, relating to the admissibility of medical expenses at trial. Rule 414 states that evidence of the medical expenses is limited to evidence of the amounts actually paid to satisfy the bills, as well as the amount actually needed to satisfy any unpaid and outstanding bills. This is a significant change in the law. These changes become effective October 1, 2011 and apply to all cases on or arising after that date.

N.C. Attorneys’ Fees Statute Changes October 1, 2011


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The North Carolina Governor has just signed into law some major changes to the Attorneys’ Fees Statute, N.C.G.S. §6-21.1. These changes become effective October 1, 2011 and apply to all cases on or arising after that date. The revised Statute now applies to cases in which the damages recovered are $20,000 or less, as compared to $10,000 or less under the current version. The Statue now authorizes the trial Judge to award attorneys’ fees only when it is shown that the amount of damages recovered is more than the highest offer of settlement made at least 90 days prior to trial.