Tuesday, August 05, 2008, 1:27 PM

Split COA Upholds UDTPA Judgment Based On Interruption/Disconnection of Electricity

Today the Court of Appeals (COA) upheld a treble-damages judgment for an unfair trade practice under G.S. 75-1.1, based on a campground operator's interruption and disconnection of electrical service. The case is Shepard v. Bonita Vista Properties, L.P. Judge Stephens wrote the majority opinion, joined by Judge McGee. Judge Tyson dissented.

Defendant operated a campground. It rented spaces on which recreational vehicle (RV) operators could park and live in their RVs. The RV spaces were available to monthly tenants. The campground also furnished and charged for electrical service to RV operators requiring such service. Plaintiffs lived at campground in their RVs, paying monthly rent to and purchasing electricity from Defendant. Defendant interrupted and eventually disconnected Plaintiffs' electrical service, damaging their RVs. The COA majority held that "Defendants' acts in interfering with and disconnecting Plaintiffs' electricity were . . . unfair," entitling Plaintiff to treble damages as a matter of law under Chapter 75.

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