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Kinsinger v. Good

United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Charlotte Division

February 11, 2019

DENISE KINSINGER, ERIC KINSINGER, Plaintiffs,
v.
STEVEN MATTHEW GOOD, WILLIAM H WINN JR SMARTCORE, LLC GROUP HEALTH BENEFIT PLAN SMARTCORE ELECTRICAL SERVICES, LLC SMARTCORE ELECTRIC, LLC SMARTCORE, LLC JARED CRAFTON CROOK, Defendants.

          ORDER

          Frank D. Whitney, Chief United States District Judge.

         This written order is intended to memorialize the Court's oral rulings stated in court on February 4, 2019. For the reasons stated in open court, Plaintiffs' “Motion for Summary Judgment Against Defendants Smartcore, Winn and Good”, (Doc. No. 70), is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART. Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment is DENIED. Plaintiffs' Motion is granted with regards to liability for Plaintiff's Breach of Contract and NC Wage and Hour Act Claims. The Court finds that there is no genuine dispute that Defendant violated the North Carolina Wage and Hour Act, and that Plaintiff is owed wages in the amount of $6, 250 plus additional statutory interest. In addition, the Court finds that double damages are appropriate under North Carolina law.[1] See N.C. Gen. Stat. § 95-25.22. The Court will order briefing at a later date to determine the exact amount of the judgment on this claim.

         For Plaintiffs' wrongful denial of benefits and breach of ERISA fiduciary duty claims, the Court finds that there are genuine disputes of material fact. Since there is no right to a jury trial for ERISA claims, this case will proceed to a bench trial, scheduled for April 3, 2019 at 9:00 a.m. in Courtroom 1-1 of the Charles R. Jonas Federal Building, 401 W. Trade Street, Charlotte, NC 28202. See Phelps v. C.T. Enters., Inc., 394 F.3d 213, 222 (4th Cir. 2005) (“[P]roceedings to determine rights under employee benefit plans are equitable in character and thus a matter for a judge, not a jury.”) (citation and internal quotations omitted). As stated in court, the Court will hear testimony from all individuals who have submitted an affidavit in this case. Parties may present additional witnesses for their respective cases.

         The remainder of this Order is intended to revise and supplement this Court's earlier pretrial order. (Doc. No. 35). Except as stated in this Order, the Court's original pretrial order remains in effect.

         PRETRIAL AND TRIAL PROCEDURES

         a. Trial. This case shall be tried without a jury. Counsel should be prepared to proceed to trial on April 3, 2019 at 9:00 a.m. The Court anticipates trial to last for one (1) day.

         b. Final Pretrial Conference. The Court will not hold a final pretrial conference.

         c. Pretrial Submissions. The Court requires the following pretrial submissions to be jointly drafted and submitted to Chambers by March 20, 2019:

i. Proposed Pretrial Order. This document shall contain:
(1) A joint statement of the case.
(2) Stipulations as to all issues of law or fact to which the parties can agree for purposes of streamlining trial. If a party fails to stipulate to a fact (e.g., the authenticity of a document) without articulating a good faith basis for disputing it, the Court shall assess against that party the opposing party's costs (including the cost of subpoena service, witness travel costs and fees, and reasonable attorney's fees) incurred in proving the fact at trial. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(c)(2).
(3) A brief synopsis (no argument) of the legal or factual contentions about which the parties have been unable to stipulate. Any advocacy should be reserved for a trial brief which may be submitted as provided in Paragraph 4(d) below.
  1. A list of exhibits that each party may offer at trial (except those offered solely for impeachment or cross-examination), numbered sequentially; a brief description of the exhibit; any stipulations as to authenticity or admissibility; and the basis for any objections. This information shall be entered into a table in substantially the following format (the last two columns should be left blank to be completed by the courtroom clerk at trial):

Exh. No.

Description

Stipulation - Authenticity

Stipulation - Admissibility

Objections

Identified By

Admitted

1

Police Report

Yes

No

Hearsay

2

Draft of Contract

No

No

Foundation, Relevance, Parol Evidence


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