Wednesday, February 09, 2011, 9:32 AM

Today at the Court of Appeals

Today, Wednesday, February 9, 2011, oral argument will take place before two panels of the Court of Appeals.

Beginning at 9:30 a.m., Judges Calabria, Stroud, and Robert N. Hunter, Jr. will hear oral argument in Ehrenhaus v. Baker. Ehrenhaus is a somewhat unusual appeal because the plaintiff and defendants have no problems with the decisions issued by former North Carolina Business Court Judge Albert Diaz (Judge Diaz has since joined the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit). Instead, the appeal is brought by two individuals who objected the approval of the class action settlement agreed to by the plaintiff and defendants.

The underlying case arose out of the merger between Wachovia and Wells Fargo during the height of the financial crisis in 2008. The Defendants-Appellees’ Brief contains a fascinating review of the various events that led up to the merger. The appeal will involve various issues raised by the objectors, including, (1) whether Wachovia’s shareholders were denied their voting rights regarding the merger (2) whether the trial court properly examined the qualifications and adequacy of the class representative and class counsel; (3) whether the settlement approved by the court was, in the words of the objectors, “unfair, unreasonable, and inadequate[;]” and (4) whether the notice to potential class members was so insufficient as to deny class members their due process right to opt out of the class.

Beginning at 1:00 p.m., Judges Elmore, Steelman, and Ervin will hear oral argument in the following cases:

The Travelers Indemnity Company v. Triple S. Marketing Group, Inc.

This matter arose out of an action by Travelers against Triple S. Marketing Group to collect money allegedly owed for unpaid workers compensation premiums. The parties eventually agreed to a consent judgment in which Triple S agreed to have a judgment entered against it in the amount of $203,462.00. Travelers filed a motion in Forsyth County Superior Court seeking approval attach a judgment lien to real property owned by Triple S’s majority shareholders. The lower court granted Travelers’ motion and this appeal followed.

Triple S raises the following issues on appeal: (1) whether the trial court had subject matter jurisdiction to hold the majority shareholders personally liable for the consent judgment entered against Triple S; (2) whether the trial court had subject matter jurisdiction during a supplemental proceeding to pierce Triple S’s corporate veil; and (3) whether the trial court correctly decided to pierce Triple S’s corporate veil.

Womble Carlyle attorneys Rick Rice and Gemma Saluta represent Travelers in this matter.

Sugar Creek Charter School, Inc. v. State of N.C. & Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy v. Rutherford County Bd.

North Carolina’s relationship with charter schools has been a hot topic of conversation lately. In addition to the General Assembly debating whether to lift the cap on the number of charter schools allowed under North Carolina law, the Court of Appeals will consider two cases related to the funding of charter schools. In Sugar Creek, the Plaintiffs contend that under the North Carolina Constitution and the North Carolina Supreme Court’s Leandro decision, the state and local governments are required to provide uniform funding to all schools regardless of whether they are charter schools or traditional public schools. In Thomas Jefferson, the Plaintiffs challenge the manner in which the Rutherford County Board of Education calculated the share of funds the charter school is entitled to receive.

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