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Move to electronic medical records brings side effects   (access required)

Medical malpractice lawyers are already experiencing a host of side effects related to the health care industry’s ongoing switch from paper to computerized medical records. The federal government is trying to spur on the technological leap by offering billions of dollars in incentives to doctors and hospitals. Health care providers who resist the change will face financial penalties on Medicare payments beginning in 2015. Electronic records are supposed to be more reliable and efficient than their paper predecessors. But one of the most common complaints among med-mal attorneys is that e-records are tough to decipher because the files are large and badly organized.

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Electronic prescription records widely available, even to some police  (access required)

Think that Xanax prescription is a secret you share with only your doctor and your local pharmacist? Think again. The state knows, too. If you forget to include all your prescriptions on a patient intake form, don’t worry. The doctor can just log on to the state’s prescription monitoring program database, enter your name, and up pops a list of prescriptions dispensed to you in-state for the last several years. Who else has access to that information? Other doctors, hospitals, pharmacies and, yes, certain members of law enforcement.

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Bank’s suit against pair of South Carolina attorneys will be heard here   (access required)

A lawsuit filed in North Carolina federal court by RBC Bank against two South Carolina attorneys and Chicago Title Insurance Company, stemming from a massive mortgage fraud scheme involving Myrtle Beach-area properties, has been transferred to federal court here. In January, Raleigh-based RBC sued attorneys Robert A. Hedesh and Robert H. Gwin for negligence and breach of fiduciary duty in connection with their roles as closing attorneys for real estate transactions around Myrtle Beach. RBC was the lender in each of these deals.

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Attorney’s duty in long-running probate case sent back to trial court for review  (access required)

It’s round four to the widow in the ongoing drama surrounding the estate of former Congressman Floyd D. Spence. The South Carolina Supreme Court last week sent Deborah W. Spence’s action against her former attorney, Kenneth B. Wingate, back to the trial court. Spence is suing Wingate for breach of fiduciary duty arising out of his handling of some of the congressman’s assets, including a $500,000 life insurance policy that was the subject of a Supreme Court decision last week. The case was originally filed in 2004 and has been up and down the court system.

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Against the odds, nursing-home claim is rebuffed   (access required)

Trial attorneys relish a challenge. Whether it’s the sympathetic plaintiff, the unpopular client, the witness with a past, or the formidable adversary, challenges present opportunities to explore new theories, adopt different strategies and polish skills. And overcoming them makes a win all the sweeter. Rarely, though, do multiple challenges come packaged in a single case. For Raleigh, N.C., lawyer Mike Hurley (pictured on right), that case arrived just before Thanksgiving last year, when he took over the defense of a wrongful death action against Britthaven Nursing Home in Chapel Hill, N.C., scheduled for trial in just six months.

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N.C. Indigent Services following in S.C.’s footsteps  (access required)

South Carolina tried to roll out a contract-based system for court-appointed work several years ago, and now its neighbor to the north is following suit. N.C. Indigent Defense Services is gearing up for a major change in the way it works with court-appointed attorneys throughout the state. Instead of appointing lawyers to individual cases and paying case-specific fees, IDS plans to begin entering into flat-rate monthly contracts for court-appointed work. S.C.’s Commission on Indigent Defense attempted to start a contract system for court-appointed work in Charleston County about four years ago. Budget concerns stalled the effort shortly after requests for proposals were issued, said T. Patton Adams, the agency’s executive director.

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University scientists bring the lab to the courtroom   (access required)

To teach his students about forensic science, Wes Watson, an entomology professor at N.C. State University, likes to borrow a scene from an early episode of “CSI: Las Vegas.” In the episode, Gil Grissom, the night shift supervisor of the “CSI” team pulls a cattle grub from the bullet wound of a shooting victim lying on the autopsy table. “Genus hypoderma,” Grissom, the show’s bug man, tells Dr. Al Robbins, the fictional Las Vegas chief medical examiner. “These are normally found in the intestinal tract of cows. These maggots aren’t found in humans.” The cattle grub is key to solving the TV case, because it leads Grissom to discover that the bullet was made from frozen ground beef.

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The Outsider   (access required)

Less than a year into his tenure as chief prosecutor for Bladen, Brunswick and Columbus counties in North Carolina, Jon M. David has already shown a knack for attracting controversy, criticism and praise. The 41-year-old from Florida pictures himself as an “outsider against an established machine,” taking control of an administration that his well-connected but embattled predecessor, Rex Gore, ran for 20 years. Now, David and his identical twin brother, Ben, who occupies the DA’s office in adjoining New Hanover County, are the top prosecutors on both sides of the Cape Fear River.

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Candle makers tussle over trademarked designs and slogans   (access required)

Whose wick is whose? That’s the question for U.S. District Judge Margaret Seymour in a dispute here between two candle-making powerhouses. Charleston-based MVP Group International Inc., the self-proclaimed “largest private label candle-maker in the world” and owner of the Colonial Candle and Olde South Candle lines, has sued Virginia-based Smith Mountain Industries for alleged infringement of MVP’s trademarked design configuration, “WW Wonderful Wicks.” That design consists of an interlocking “WW” encircled by the words “Wonderful Wicks.” Smith Mountain, doing business as Virginia Candle Company, also uses a “WW” in connection with its registered mark, “WW Woodwick.”

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Manufacturer sidesteps million-dollar claim, wins countersuit   (access required)

Sometimes intransigence gets you nothing, or so A.B. Mauri Foods, the maker of Fleischman’s Yeast and other baking products, may have learned recently in an arbitration held in Charlotte. In 2007, the company purchased an industrial rotary dryer from Cary-based Aeroglide Corp. for $428,850. Fleischman’s needed the dryer for its production of CalPro, a calcium propionate-based preservative used to increase the shelf life of baking goods. Production of CalPro crystals involves the drying of a sticky substance to a specified moisture content...

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