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Mahaffey v. Boyd

Court of Appeals of North Carolina

March 6, 2018

TODD ROBERT MAHAFFEY, Plaintiff,
v.
CHRISTOPHER C. BOYD, Executor for the Estate of DOROTHY COE BOYD, Defendant.

          Heard in the Court of Appeals 28 November 2017.

         Appeal by Plaintiff from order entered 10 October 2016 by Judge Alan Z. Thornburg in Buncombe County Superior Court No. 15 CV 00719

          Todd Robert Mahaffey, Plaintiff-Appellant, pro se.

          McGuire, Wood & Bissette, P.A., by Matthew S. Roberson, for the Defendant-Appellee.

          DILLON, Judge.

         I. Background

         In February 2015, Todd Robert Mahaffey filed a complaint alleging that Christopher C. Boyd (the "Executor"), the executor for the estate of Dorothy C. Boyd, owed him payment for renovations Mr. Mahaffey made to Ms. Boyd's home.

         The record shows as follows:

         Ms. Boyd died in July 2014. However, in the years before she died, she engaged Mr. Mahaffey to perform work on her home and yard. Mr. Mahaffey continued to perform work on the property at Ms. Boyd's direction, and after Ms. Boyd's death, at the direction of the Executor.

         In September 2014, two months after Ms. Boyd's death, Mr. Mahaffey delivered documents to the Executor's law firm consisting of receipts, bills, and time sheets relating to projects he completed at Ms. Boyd's property. Shortly thereafter, an employee at the law firm asked Mr. Mahaffey to provide clearer documentation of the work he had completed and any payments which had already been made.

         In a letter dated 19 November 2014, the Executor informed Mr. Mahaffey that, based on his lack of response to the law firm's request, he was denying Mr. Mahaffey's claim in accordance with N.C. Gen. Stat. § 28A-19-16, which requires that a claim against a decedent's estate be "in writing and state the amount or item claimed[.]" N.C. Gen. Stat. § 28A-19-1 (2013).

         Three months later, in February 2015, Mr. Mahaffey commenced this action. In April 2015, the Executor answered the complaint and served requests for admissions, to which Mr. Mahaffey failed to respond in a timely fashion.

         In May 2015, the Executor moved for summary judgment, contending that Mr. Mahaffey (1) failed to comply with the requirements of N.C. Gen. Stat. § 28A-19-1 in order to preserve his claim against Ms. Boyd's estate, and (2) performed illegal contracting services because he was not a licensed contractor[1] and undertook a project for which the cost of improvement was greater than $30, 000.[2]

         In June 2015, after a hearing on the matter, the trial court entered an order granting the Executor's summary judgment motion, based in part on Mr. Mahaffey's failure to respond to the requests for admissions. Mr. Mahaffey timely appealed from the order (the "Summary Judgment ...


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