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Ford v. NCNB Corp.

Filed: October 1, 1991.

WILSON FORD, PLAINTIFF
v.
NCNB CORPORATION, DEFENDANT



Appeal by defendant from judgment entered 7 July 1989 by Judge Shirley L. Fulton in Mecklenburg County Superior Court.

Phillips, Judge. Judges Arnold and Cozort concur.

Phillips

[1] Defendant appellant poses three questions for us to determine, the first of which is whether the court erred in denying its motions for a directed verdict and for judgment notwithstanding the verdict. The asserted basis for the motions was that the evidence

does not indicate that the lost deposit was a proximate cause of A&P terminating plaintiff's employment. Since losing his job with A&P was not the only damage that the evidence shows plaintiff sustained as a consequence of the lost deposit the motions were without merit on their face, and were properly denied by the court. Furthermore, evidence was presented indicating that the loss of the deposit proximately caused plaintiff to lose his job. That the bank reported to A&P that $5,000.15 plaintiff said he delivered to the bank was not received, that A&P fired him after subjecting him to a polygraph test concerning the lost deposit, and that A&P offered to rehire him after the deposit was found is evidence from which the inference can be drawn that he was fired because of the lost funds. And as defendant expressly recognized in its brief, there was also testimony by A&P's store manager that he "understood that plaintiff was terminated because the deposit bag was lost." That this evidence may have been erroneously received, as defendant contends, did not eliminate it from the case as defendant mistakenly assumes. The evidence having been received, the court had to take it into account in determining whether the verdict was supported by evidence. Harrell v. W. B. Lloyd Construction Co., 300 N.C. 353, 266 S.E.2d 626 (1980). Nor is it correct, as defendant further argues, that the testimony of A&P's personnel manager establishes without contradiction that plaintiff was fired for not following the store's requirement that the night depositor be accompanied by another employee. For the personnel manager himself contradicted this testimony by admitting that plaintiff would not have been fired if the lost deposit had been found within a few weeks, and plaintiff further contradicted it by testifying that he had not been told of any requirement to be accompanied when making night deposits and that both he and the store manager had made unaccompanied deposits without being reprimanded.

[2] The second question defendant presents is whether the court erred in refusing to submit an issue as to the negligence claim asserted in the amendment to the complaint being barred by G.S. 1-52(16), the three-year statute of limitations for personal injury actions. We treat the question as being whether the action is barred by the three-year statute of limitations, for under the circumstances recorded and argued the question is one of law, not fact. Since plaintiff's claim for negligence accrued, so defendant states, ...


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