Mica Worthy and a former Cranfill Sumner attorney (Defense Counsel), and Jaye Bingham-Hinch (Appellate Attorney) obtained dismissal of entire case and affirmation on appeal to the Court of Appeals. Plaintiff claimed he was a guest of a Charlotte area hotel when he slipped and fell on ice on the premises and required medical treatment. This case was procedurally complex because Plaintiff originally incorrectly sued the president of the company that owned the hotel as an individual, failed to accomplish service on the individual, and then later amended the Complaint to attempt to bring the corporation into the action. Plaintiff obtained an Entry of Default against the individual, which defense counsel was able to have set-aside and ultimately dismissed.
As for the corporation, defense counsel successfully argued that Plaintiff failed to name the correct legal entity as a Defendant and failed to properly serve the corporation with the lawsuit before the statute of limitations ran. Plaintiff relied upon a Certificate of Assumed Name, which counsel for Plaintiff alleged at the Motion to Dismiss hearing was misleading or deceiving. Defense counsel successfully overcame this argument emphasizing that the correct corporate entity was plainly listed on the same Certificate of Assumed Name.
Plaintiff’s counsel appealed the dismissal alleging error in dismissing the case or in the alternative equitable estoppel based on the allegedly misleading Certificate of Assumed Name. The Court of Appeals was convinced by counsel for Defendants’ Memorandum of Law that Plaintiff’s failure to amend his Complaint within the period prescribed in the applicable statute of limitation was not based on Defendants’ misrepresentations, that Plaintiff failed to add the correct legal entity within the statute of limitations, that Plaintiff knew or should have known which legal entity was the owner and operator of the hotel and that it was a separate and distinct legal entity from its owner; and that the purported amended Complaint did not relate back to the original Complaint.
Had the Defendants not prevailed on the Motion to Dismiss, litigation would have required extensive discovery and document production into the procedures and policies of the hotel and the potential award to Plaintiff could have been significant considering the medical treatment received.
The outcome of a particular case cannot be predicated upon a lawyer's or law firm's past results.