Coronavirus Causes Court Delays
March 14, 2020 - Wilmington, NC - The North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice ordered local courts to postpone most cases statewide for at least 30 days due to the coronavirus pandemic. For now, courts will remain open, and not all cases are affected.
Contact the attorneys at Reiss & Nutt with any questions about how this development might affect your case.
Business Court Nixes Damages in Corporate Dispute
Tested Trial Lawyers Launch Reiss & Nutt, PLLC
Feb. 4, 2020 - Wilmington, NC - Litigation attorneys W. Cory Reiss and Kyle J. Nutt launched their Wilmington-based law firm, Reiss & Nutt, PLLC to serve clients throughout North Carolina.
Reiss and Nutt both have substantial experience taking cases to trial before judges and juries in various forums, including the North Carolina Business Court and District and Superior Courts throughout southeastern North Carolina. They created their firm to put economical and tested courtroom experience to work for their clients.
Reiss and Nutt bring their experience in prior careers to bear on their litigation practice. Reiss spent nearly 15 years as a journalist in Virginia, North Carolina, and Washington, D.C. He was a news reporter for the Wilmington Star-News in the late 1990s before leading Washington coverage for 14 papers owned by the New York Times from 2000 to 2007.
"I covered a lot of ground as a journalist, but the courts beat was always my favorite," Reiss said. "I'm fortunate to have spent so many years learning how to gather and use information to tell a compelling story before turning to the law. Those are skills that a trial lawyer has to use every day."
Nutt holds an accounting degree and spent his first career as an accountant. But he was driven to take that business background to the next level.
"In so many of our cases, an understanding of accounting practices and business organizations is incredibly important," Nutt said. "I think it's a great asset to have a past that can propel your future work."
Reiss & Nutt, PLLC is a diverse litigation practice that represents businesses as general counsel and in commercial litigation; it represents individuals in cases involving contracts, medical and nursing home negligence, personal injury, and divorce, custody and other family law matters. Reiss & Nutt looks forward to serving communities in Southeastern North Carolina and beyond.
Read the story in the Greater Wilmington Business Journal.
March 11, 2020 - Wilmington, NC - A North Carolina Business Court judge on Wednesday snuffed claims for breach of fiduciary duties by a minority corporate shareholder because he failed to prove the other owners owed him those duties, dismissing his only claims for damages against Powell Bail Bonding, Inc.
W. Cory Reiss represented Powell, the defendant in an action brought by a part-owner against fellow shareholders, in the summary judgment argument. The Plaintiff, Raul Brewster, claimed Powell fired him as an employee despite his expectation that he had a right to employment as an owner. Powell denied Brewster was owed permanent employment and denied any impropriety.
Fiduciary obligations include duties of loyalty and good faith toward another person or a business, which may arise by law or the existence of a special relationship of trust and confidence. In the corporate context, majority and controlling shareholders do owe such duties to minority shareholders, but minority shareholders do not generally owe those duties to each other.
Business Court Judge Adam Conrad issued an opinion that highlighted Brewster’s failure to meet his evidentiary burdens. Judge Conrad also agreed with Reiss on a principal argument that Brewster raised in his effort to obtain damages, which was that multiple minority shareholders adding up to a majority or exerting joint control over the company owe a minority shareholder fiduciary duties. Judge Conrad concluded that even if that was the law in North Carolina, which remains undecided, Brewster failed to meet the very demanding burden of proof that other jurisdictions with that rule have required. He also dismissed a related claim for civil conspiracy.
Brewster’s claim for damages for unfair and deceptive trade practices was dismissed earlier in the case. His only remaining claim is to dissolve the company, the necessity for which he would need to prove at trial. With evidence.