Effective October 1, 2009, the statue of repose for products liability is 12 years. A statute of repose bars any suit that is brought after a specified period of time even if the plaintiff has not been injured at that time. For example, under the new law a plaintiff could not sue a defendant manufacturer 13 years after purchasing a product made by that manufacturer even if the plaintiff was not injured by the product until that time. The new law sounds plaintiff friendly but in fact is a minor blow to defendants as the old law limited actions to only six years.
According to http://www.stopcyberbullying.org/index2.html, “Cyberbullying” is when a child, preteen or teen is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted by another child, preteen or teen using the Internet, interactive and digital technologies or mobile phones. It has to have a minor on both sides, or at least have been instigated by a minor against another minor. Once adults become involved, it is plain and simple cyber-harassment or cyberstalking. Adult cyber-harassment or cyberstalking is NEVER called cyberbullying.”
However, the new N.C. law applies to both adults and minors bullying a minor or in some cases the minor’s parent or guardian. The new law makes it unlawful among other things to build a fake website or profile, to post or encourage others to post private information about the minor, to break into an online account, and to post statements intended to harass a minor. The crime of cyber-bullying is a Class 1 misdemeanor is the person is an adult and a Class 2 misdemeanor is the person is under the age of 18 at the time of the crime. Any misdemeanor in N.C. can carry a prison sentence of up to two years and may include fines.
We have all seen that person in the lane next to us texting on the phone, eating a burger, and slurping down the soda all while driving with his knees. Maybe we have even been that person ourselves. Not anymore. In N.C. effective December 1, 2009, texting while driving became illegal and is an infraction punishable by a $100 fine and court costs. No license or insurance points can be assessed for a violation. The definition of texting in the law, includes using a mobile phone to read or send electronic mail or text messages. The law does not apply if you are parked or stopped or if you are using a voice operated technology.
Currently N.C. is a “Joint and Several” liability state. Simply put this law means that in a lawsuit where the plaintiff has sued multiple defendants and a jury has found for the plaintiff the plaintiff can recover the entire judgment from any one of the defendants. This rule often comes as a shock to defendants especially when the defendant paying the judgment was the least at fault but the only defendant with money. If HB 813 is enacted “Several” liability would become the new law in N.C., Under the “Several” liability doctrine a defendant would only be required to pay the amount he is specifically liable for.
Pursuant to an appeal from 664 S.E.2d 317 (2008), the NC Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals holding that the insurance company did not have a duty to defend its insured under a CGL policy when the policy excluded coverage for false statements made about the insured’s own products. In Harleysville Mut. Ins. Co. v. Buzz Off Insect Shield LLC, et al, the Court in reviewing the insurance policy found that the policy did provide coverage from some advertising injuries but not for injuries caused by false statements made by the insured about its own products. When the Court compared the allegations in the complaint to the insurance policy language, it was the CGL policies “Quality or Performance of Goods- Failure to Conform to Statements” exclusion that eliminated the insurance company’s duty to defend. This insurance company could still be on the hook for indemnity, which is a separate issue but for now they have dodged the bullet.
Drivers in North Carolina no longer have the option to select or reject Uninsured Motorist coverage (UM) or Underinsured Motorist coverage (UIM). UM coverage provides insurance coverage when an individual is involved in an accident with a vehicle that does not have insurance. UM insurance provides coverage both for Bodily Injury and Property Damage. North Carolina now requires all drivers to carry both types of UM insurance. UIM coverage provides insurance coverage when an individual is involved in an accident and the other driver does not have enough insurance coverage to pay for all of the person’s injuries.
Beginning on January 1, 2009, The North Carolina Financial Responsibility Act as Amended by House Bill 738 requires that all automobile insurance policies in North Carolina have UM coverage and UIM coverage. The 2009 amendments provide the insured with the ability to purchase greater or lesser limits of coverage provided that the UM/UIM bodily injury limits shall not be less than 30/60. Unless the insured purchases greater or lesser limits of coverage the UM/UIM bodily injury limits shall be equal to the highest injury liability limits for any one vehicle insured under the policy. The UM property damage limits shall be equal to the highest property damage liability limits for any one vehicle insured under the policy. The insured may purchase UM property damage that is less than the policy’s liability limits for property damage provided that the UM property damage limits may not be less than $25,000 per accident.
Aside from requiring UM /UIM coverage, the Amendment eliminates the Selection/Rejection Form and made changes to section (m) which requires the insurer to provide reasonable notice of the options available to the insured.