EEOC Issues New COVID-19 Guidance to Employers

From time to time throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the Equal Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), who is tasked with overseeing and administering federal anti-discrimination laws, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), has issued guidance to employers seeking to smartly balance compliance with federal laws and regulations against the need to keep workers, customers and visitors to their businesses safe. With more businesses re-opening their doors and vaccines readily available, the EEOC released updated guidance to help struggling employers. In particular, the EEOC confirmed that: Employers can require all employees physically entering their workplace … Continue reading

Is this the end of Contributory Negligence?

The North Carolina General Assembly is currently considering a bill that would significantly modify how claims involving negligence, including motor vehicle accidents and personal injury actions, are evaluated, handled and, potentially, adjudicated. Currently, North Carolina is only one of a few states that adheres to the doctrine of contributory negligence, which bars individuals from recovering for harm they’ve suffered due to the negligent act of a third-party if they were even one percent at fault themselves. (Most states, including South Carolina, utilize the doctrine of comparative negligence to allow an individual to recover his or her damages, less a proportionate … Continue reading

Department of Labor announces changes to independent contractor or employee determination

In the final days of the Trump Administration, the Department of Labor put forward clarifications to help businesses determine whether workers could properly be classified as employees or independent contractors. Under the new guidance, the Department of Labor would initially consider only two factors – specifically, the level of control the individual has over his or her own work and the opportunity for profit or loss due to his or her own personal investment. If, and only if, these factors were inconclusive would businesses then proceed to evaluate or consider the level of skill of the role involved, the permanence … Continue reading

Order Extend Protections for Tenants; Reaffirms Requirements for Landlords

In late December 2020, both President Trump and North Carolina Governor Cooper extended existing Orders providing protections to individuals at risk of eviction through January 31, 2021. As a result, eviction of some residential tenants for nonpayment of rent may continue to be halted during this time period. However, protection from eviction is not automatic and relates only to situations involving nonpayment of rent. In order to receive relief from eviction, a tenant at risk for eviction for failure to pay rent must submit a Declaration under penalty of perjury that the tenant meets certain requirements. The Declaration must state … Continue reading

The Expiring Family First Coronavirus Response Act

One of the many unanticipated issues employers have been required to familiarize themselves with and address throughout the pandemic is the quickly passed Family First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA” or the “Act”). In particular, the Act requires most employers (i.e., those with fewer than 500 employees and even those not otherwise subject to the Family Medical Leave Act) to provide paid leave to employees for specific work absences related to COVID-19 and to provide notice to their employees of their rights under the Act. By its terms, the Act is set to expire December 31, 2020. With the new stimulus … Continue reading

Executive Order Imposes New Requirements for Landlords

Governor Cooper signed Executive Order No. 171, which relates directly to residential evictions in North Carolina and attempts to provide some clarity of the CDC Agency Order issued earlier this fall. This Executive Order is effective October 30, 2020 at 5p.m. through December 31, 2020. The CDC Agency Order provides for protection from eviction for nonpayment of rent for certain residential tenants. In order to receive protection, the tenant must submit a Declaration under penalty of perjury that the tenant meets certain requirements. See CDC Moratorium on Evictions for a previous blog post containing more information about the CDC Agency … Continue reading

Justice Beasley Extends Emergency Directive 18 Relating to Evictions in North Carolina

Eviction actions commenced for nonpayment of rent or other fees or charges are subject to Emergency Directive 18, which was extended on September 15, 2020 for an additional thirty (30) days. Under this Emergency Directive, no writ of possession for real property shall be issued in summary ejectment actions commenced on or after March 27, 2020, unless the magistrate or judge concludes that either: (1) the property is not a “covered dwelling” as defined by Section 4024(a)(1) of the CARES Act or (2) the property is a “covered dwelling” and the tenant had 30 days of notice to vacate as … Continue reading

CDC Moratorium on Evictions

President Trump has issued a directive authorizing the CDC to stop the eviction of some renters effective immediately through the end of 2020, citing public health threats during the pandemic. Under the CDC Agency Order, a landlord “shall not evict any covered person from any residential property in any jurisdiction to which this Order applies during the effective period of the Order.” In order to qualify as a “covered person”, the tenant, lessee or resident of a residential property must provide a declaration under penalty of perjury to their landlord, the owner of the residential property, or other person with … Continue reading

New Firm Name & Partners

New Firm Name The law firm of Black, Slaughter & Black, PA will now be doing business as Law Firm Carolinas. The firm, which practices in North and South Carolina, has four offices: Greensboro, Charlotte, Triangle (Garner) and Coastal (Wilmington). New Partners In addition, three attorneys have been named partners in the firm: Jennifer Ruby, who does general civil litigation, business litigation and appeals. Ruby is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2006) and Elon University School of Law (2010) and is based in the Greensboro office. Michael Taliercio, who manages the firm’s HOA/condo assessment … Continue reading

North Carolina Extends Moratorium on Residential and Commercial Evictions

Governor Cooper and Justice Beasley signed Orders over the weekend which place an additional 21 day moratorium on residential and commercial evictions, effective May 30, 2020. While tenants are still encouraged to timely pay rent as it becomes due, the Orders place restrictions on the steps that landlords may take to remove a tenant from the property, at least from May 30, 2020 through June 20, 2020 (the “Effective Period”). Below is an overview of the Orders as they apply to residential and commercial property. Residential: -All evictions pending in the trial divisions, whether summary ejectment or otherwise, are stayed … Continue reading

Re-Opening Risks and Liabilities for Businesses in the Era of COVID-19*

As businesses throughout North Carolina begin to plan for and undertake re-opening, concern for the safety of customers and employees is a central focus for many. Prudent businesses of all types or areas including, for example, realtors, management companies, construction companies, retailers, and accountants or other professionals, should also pause to consider and understand their potential liability to those customers, employees and third-parties they serve, utilize and otherwise come into contact with while fulfilling their business functions. A business’ risk, however, isn’t as straightforward or simple as most of us would assume or like, and assessing your potential liability requires … Continue reading

Stimulus Funds Could Be Accessed by Creditors

Starting this week, many North Carolinians will be receiving emergency stimulus payments authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). For many individuals, that payment will be directly deposited into their bank account. Our Attorney General joined with several other state attorneys general on April 13, 2020 to request that the U.S. Department of the Treasury take immediate action to protect these funds from being accessible to creditors and instead ensure that the money goes to individuals to use for housing, food and other urgent needs. Right now, however, unlike Social Security, disability, and veterans’ payments, … Continue reading

CARES Act Imposes 120 Day Moratorium on Some Residential Evictions

The Federal CARES Act that was signed into law on March 27, 2020 includes a 120-day moratorium on evictions of tenants in federally financed housing based solely on nonpayment of rent or other fees or charges. The CARES Act further prohibits a lessor/landlord of a covered property from charging any tenant fees, penalties or other charges for nonpayment of rent during this time. During the moratorium period, the landlord of a covered property also cannot “require a tenant to vacate a dwelling unit before the date that is 30 days after the date on which the lessor provides the tenant … Continue reading

Landlord/Tenant Issues In the Midst of COVID-19

In an effort to reduce courthouse traffic and slow the spread of COVID-19, Chief Justice Beasley has halted all eviction hearings through April 17, 2020. Below is some clarification of what this means for landlords and tenants in North Carolina. Keep in mind that each lease is different, so it is important that you carefully read the terms of your lease to determine exactly what your rights and obligations are. If you are in doubt, the attorneys at Law Firm Carolinas can assist you with offices in Greensboro, Charlotte, Wilmington and the Triangle. *Be aware that this information is subject … Continue reading

New Firm Facebook Page

Law Firm Carolinas has a new Facebook page where you can keep up with firm activities, read recent blogs, and find out where attorneys are speaking (and includes a photo from this morning’s Piedmont Education Breakfast where Steve Black spoke on Declaration Amendments: Pandora’s Box)? The new page can be found at www.facebook.com/BlackSlaughterBlack. We ask that you follow it, like it, and share it!

Can I Enforce an Out-Of-State Judgment in North Carolina?

We live in a country where individuals and corporations transact business, enter into agreements, make purchases, and travel or move from state to state on a regular basis. Sometimes, these out-of-state interactions go south – a company or individual breaches a contract or a driver causes a collision and injures another person – and a lawsuit is filed. What happens if a defendant lives in or moves to North Carolina, but the judgment was entered in another state? Or, if the defendant has real property or other assets in North Carolina? Can a judgment obtained in another state be enforced … Continue reading

Parental Liability

A Guide for North Carolina & South Carolina Parents As the mother of two young children, I would like to think that my kids will always follow the rules, obey the law, and make good decisions.  The realist in me knows, however, that they won’t always act as they should or as they’ve been taught.  So what is my liability or legal exposure for the conduct of my children?  Can I be held financially responsible for their wrongdoing? Generally speaking, parents are not required to act as insurers against wrongs, harms, or damages inflicted by their children.  This maxim, however, … Continue reading

Avoiding an Un-Jolly End to the Holiday Fun: What Property Owners and Hosts Need to Know about Premises and Host Liability

The holiday season is a special time of year filled with visitors, get-togethers and mingling.  Most of us are already looking ahead to the joys of family and friends visiting, carolers, parties and yummy food aplenty.  Regrettably, the festivities of the season also open the door or create ripe opportunities for potential for liability.   Property owners and hosts need not, however, turn themselves into Scrooge; rather, personal liability can be avoided or greatly reduced simply by keeping in mind these potential issues and obligations: Premises Liability: North Carolina property owners may be held liable for injuries occurring on their property … Continue reading

Be Careful Driving, Especially This Thanksgiving Weekend

Between November 21 and November 25, North Carolina state troopers in North Carolina will be placed every 20 miles along I-40 in an effort to encourage safe travel. The “Thanksgiving I-40 Challenge” is a joint operation with seven other states along the Interstate 40 corridor. While it is always important to exercise safe driving, here are a couple of important reminders, especially during this holiday season. Here are a few reminders as you get behind the wheel: Expect increased traffic and delays, so allocate additional time for traveling to your destination so that you do not feel the need to … Continue reading

You’ve Been Served! But, What Does That Mean?

We’ve all seen a movie where someone is handed a piece of paper and told, “You’ve been served.” But, what exactly does that mean? In North Carolina, lawsuits are started when a complaint is filed and a summons is issued. Before the lawsuit can be heard by a Judge or Magistrate, the person sued must be properly notified of the pending lawsuit. That’s the simple explanation of “service.” However, the process of serving someone with the paperwork is more complicated than just merely saying that the lawsuit exists. Our rules provide different methods of service, which can also vary depending … Continue reading