Attorneys in the Litigation Practice Group represent clients nationwide in hearings, trials, and appeals in state and federal courts and negotiate settlements for individuals, businesses, and municipalities. Our attorneys represent clients as plaintiffs or defendants; in arbitration, mediation, summary trials, and settlement conferences; and in state and federal courts. We prepare litigation budgets and case management plans for complex litigation and work closely with clients to make important litigation decisions and resolve disputes cost-effectively while maintaining the image and principles our clients desire. Our attorneys also represent clients in matters before administrative and regulatory agencies including the Industrial Commission, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency, and area planning and zoning boards.
Our attorneys have extensive experience in aviation, banking, business, condemnation, construction, contract, employee relations, environmental, equitable distribution, family law, health care, housing authority, insurance, intellectual property, maritime, medical malpractice, personal injury and wrongful death, product liability, professional liability, real estate, tax, trusts and estates, and zoning and land use litigation. The Litigation Practice Group includes sub-groups that correspond to other areas of the Firm, for example, Business, Construction, Environmental, Financial Institutions, Health Care, Real Estate, and Trusts and Estates. Litigation attorneys additionally serve the needs of clients whose cases are handled by other practice groups in the Firm, including Bond Financing, Community Associations, Dealer/Distributor and Franchising, International, Maritime, Nonprofit Organizations, Securities, Tax, and Trusts and Estates. As a full-service law firm, we have the capability of providing all legal services necessary to our clients.
The Litigation Practice Group focuses its representation on the legal issues clients face in the marketplace, including contract and warranty disputes with customers, dealers, and suppliers; business litigation involving shareholders, securities fraud, mergers, acquisitions, and sales of businesses or product lines; defense of product liability claims of design and manufacturing defects, strict liability, unreasonably dangerous products, negligent misrepresentation in product literature, unfair and deceptive trade practices, and punitive damages; disputes arising from plant expansion projects, such as contract disputes with architects and builders, and contractor and subcontractor lien claims; insurance coverage for claims involving business interruption; lemon law claims; property damage and loss of use arising from natural perils or human conduct; property, boundary line, and title disputes, including lack of ingress or egress; protection of intellectual property rights, trademark and copyright infringement claims, and licensing disputes; and right of publicity.
To serve our clients better, our attorneys regularly associate with and manage attorneys who have been retained by our clients to defend suits pending in courts outside North Carolina. For North Carolina businesses that offer products and services nationwide, this service provides quality assurance, cost control, continuity, and uniformity in the clients' dispute resolution policies and strategies, document production, and confidentiality orders. It also frees the clients' key personnel to operate the business rather than manage litigation. This representation includes monitoring the progress and strategy of a case, reviewing the statements rendered by the out-of-state attorneys to ensure compliance with the clients' billing requirements, and forwarding approved statements to clients for payment.
Litigation is not the only area in which our attorneys excel. Some of our attorneys serve as mediators and arbitrators for our clients. To be asked to serve as a mediator or arbitrator for cases handled by fellow attorneys is considered a compliment of the attorneys' evaluation and resolution skills. Moreover, client surveys indicate that our attorneys excel in explaining legal issues in laymen's terms so that clients are fully aware of their rights and responsibilities. Our down-to-earth approach helps clients understand the laws and legal processes that affect them.
Ward and Smith attorneys have litigated many cases successfully, including the following in which we have represented:
- Businesses and individuals—including stockbrokers, business managers, doctors, and sales representatives—in cases of covenants not to compete.
- A chainsaw manufacturer in a products liability case where a plaintiff was severely injured when he fell out of a tree while using a chainsaw.
- A pork producer seeking to set aside county ordinances which, if found valid, would have significantly and negatively impacted the operation and growth of the client's agribusiness.
- Businesses and condominium owners against property insurance companies for claims of extensive property damage, business interruption, and lack of access after Hurricane Floyd.
- A child who sustained a devastating brain injury when he was struck by a commercial vehicle while riding his bike in front of his home.
- A company sued for copyright infringement by an architectural firm after the company hired an architect who had worked previously for the architectural firm on the project on which infringement was claimed.
- A surety by tracing assets in a case involving a contractor who had defaulted on several projects.
- An agribusiness in a products liability claim against a supplier who sold diseased eggs that contaminated a large flock of turkeys. Our attorneys recovered all damages, attorneys' fees, and expert witness fees for our client.
- The family of a decorated Vietnam helicopter pilot, devoted husband and loving father and grandfather who was killed in a jet ski accident.
- A manufacturing business against a claim of trademark infringement.
Memberships in various legal organizations allow Litigation Practice Group attorneys to better serve our clients - whether plaintiffs or defendants. Our attorneys are members of the Academy of Trial Lawyers, American Association for Justice, American College of Trial Lawyers, Christian Legal Society, Defense Research Institute, Eastern North Carolina Inn of Court, North Carolina Advocates for Justice, and North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys.
Our attorneys practice in the state and federal courts in North Carolina and in the federal courts of other jurisdictions including United States District Courts, United States Circuit Courts of Appeals, the United States Court of Federal Claims, the United States Tax Court, and the United States Supreme Court.