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Preiss v. Wine and Design Franchise LLC

Supreme Court of North Carolina

March 29, 2019

EMILY N. PREISS and WINE AND DESIGN, LLC
v.
WINE AND DESIGN FRANCHISE, LLC, HARRIET E. MILLS, PATRICK MILLS, and CAPITAL SIGN SOLUTIONS, LLC

         Appeal pursuant to N.C. G.S. § 7A-27(a) from an order on motion for sanctions dated 19 July 2018 entered by Judge Gregory P. McGuire, Special Superior Court Judge for Complex Business Cases, in Superior Court, Wake County, after the case was designated a mandatory complex business case by the Chief Justice under N.C. G.S. § 7A-45.4. Heard in the Supreme Court on 6 March 2019.

          Law Offices of Hayes Hofler, P.A., by R. Hayes Hofler, III, pro se, appellant.

          Batten Lee, PLLC, by Kari R. Johnson, Gloria T. Becker, and Matthew D. Mariani, for defendant-appellees Harriet E. Mills, Patrick Mills, and Capital Sign Solutions, LLC.

          PER CURIAM.

         AFFIRMED.

          DAVIS Justice did not participate in the consideration or decision of this case.

         ORDER ON MOTION FOR SANCTIONS AND TO COMPEL DEPOSITION

          Gregory P. McGuire Special Superior Court Judge for Complex Business Cases

         THIS MATTER comes before the Court upon Defendants Harriett E. Mills, Patrick Mills, and Capital Sign Solutions, LLC's ("the Mills Defendants") Motion for Sanctions and to Compel Deposition, ("Motion", ECF No. 93), and a memorandum in support of the Motion. (ECF No. 94.) The Mills Defendants seek sanctions pursuant to Rule 37 of the North Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 1A-1, Rule 37 (hereinafter, references to the General Statutes will be to "G.S." and references to the Rules of Civil Procedure will be to "Rule(s)"). On June 11, 2018, Plaintiffs filed a response in opposition to the Motion. (Pl. Resp. Opp. Mot. for Sanctions and Compel Depo., ECF No. 107.)

         On July 6, 2018, the Court held a hearing on the Motion. At the hearing, the Court advised counsel that it would grant the Motion and asked counsel for the Mills Defendants to file with the Court an affidavit in support of her request for attorneys' fees and costs. Thereafter, counsel for the Mills Defendants, Gloria T. Becker ("Becker"), filed two affidavits in support of her request for attorneys' fees. (ECF Nos. 114 and 115.)

         THE COURT, having carefully considered the Motion, the briefs filed in support of and in opposition to the Motion, the arguments of counsel at the hearing, and other appropriate matters of record, concludes, in its discretion, that the Motion should be GRANTED for the reasons set forth below.

         I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         On February 12, 2018, the Court filed the Case Management Order ("CMO") in this action. (CMO, ECF No. 49.) The CMO provided that "[t]he depositions of Plaintiffs Emily Preiss and Wine and Design, L.L.C. shall take place . . . no later than April 16, 2018. Defendants shall be permitted to take Plaintiffs' deposition before any other party is deposed." (ECF No. 49, at p. 4.)

         On March 16, 2018, Defendants noticed the deposition of Emily Preiss ("Preiss") for April 11, 2018, after confirming that date and time of was agreeable to all Parties. (Pl. Mot. ...


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