Focused Civil Litigation
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Honor Code Violations
At UNC, when an incident occurs that affects the university community, the student attorney general may elect to charge you for a violation of the honor code under the provisions found in The Instrument. This can place your continued academic progress in substantial peril. Attorney Hastings has experience successfully navigating clients through all stages of the honor court process. He recently graduated from the school, and his mother, Anne Hastings, is a professor at the same. He knows how the most important thing is staying enrolled at the school you worked so hard to attend. A charge should not derail the dreams you're on the cusp of realizing. Please call our office so that he can discuss your options with you.
1. student-attorney pretrial conferences
Attorney Hastings has attended tons of pretrial conferences with students to ease the immense stress of the situation and protect student rights. It's at these conferences that the attorney general's staff will inform you of the charges and what to expect moving forward. They often attempt to get you to explain your side of the story to the potential detriment of related criminal charges. It's important to remember that the right to remain silent is one that the student can waive at these conferences where the attorney general's staff is under no ethical obligation to keep information private.
2. the hearings phase
Once charged, there will be three possible hearing options depending on what the attorney general's office offers. Check out information on the different types of hearings on the honor court's website. Attorney Hastings has experience helping clients prepare for all three, and can navigate students through the process to ensure the greatest possibility that the process will not violate their rights while keeping the focus on the ultimate goal: to keep you in school.
3. appealing the court's decision
It's not the end of the world when a student receives a guilty determination from the honor court. There are options for appeal that Attorney Hastings has experience with; he has helped several clients successfully appeal an initial ruling the honor court administers. From a secondary hearing at the UHB level to a Chancellor's review, Attorney Hastings has not shied away from serious issues students have faced with respect to the just implementation of the honor code under The Instrument. For quick reference please click here for the appeals petition sheet.
4. constitutional rights
It's important throughout the process to keep your constitutional rights in mind. The attorney general's office does a wonderful job to seek a fair resolution in line with the spirit of the honor code and The Instrument. However, the unavoidable truth of the situation is that they are students just like you are. It takes years of legal study to sufficiently understand the issues surrounding many rights also found in The Instrument that parallel constitutional rights, like the 5th Amendment's protection against self-incrimination. Silence cannot be an indication of guilt - it otherwise compels testimony that may not be reliable in the first place. Attorney Hastings can help ensure these constitutional rights are met during the honor court process. Please contact our office to talk more about how we can help.
5. unbundled legal services
Hastings Law & Counsel is happy to provide unbundled legal services to students charged with honor code violations. For a reduced rate, Attorney Hastings can draft petition responses, appeal petition and briefs, and responses to the board's ultimate decisions. The rest of the requirements from the Honor Court will be up to the client and the student defense attorney the Honor Court provides. This can be an excellent way to receive quality legal advice without the full cost of representation.
With the increase in foul acts done by major national banks, car dealerships, construction companies, and more, comes the need to protect North Carolina consumers from such acts. As a native North Carolinian, Attorney Hastings and the law firm proudly fight to restore consumer rights when lost. He's handled various claims involving unfair and deceptive trading, fraud, and intentional conduct aimed to distress and overpower the average consumer.
Demand Letters: HL&C will draft demand letters to the party unwilling to perform in accordance with their contractual duties. The letters are brief and to the point. They explain what we want to accomplish and provide a directive for the other party to comply with before the institution of legal proceedings. Of course, the legal proceedings are important as the underlying threat to take the demand letter seriously. HL&C has experience drafting such letters for contracts pertaining to the sell of medical equipment to the enforcement of construction contracts. We understand the expediency of demand letter requests, and we can turn around a quality finished product efficiently to enhance its powerful effect.
Complaint Drafting and Litigation: The next step might mean filing a complaint to request the court to enter a judgment that orders the other party to comply with the contract or to compensate the non-breaching party for expectations foregone. HL&C drafts high caliber complaints to achieve that end.
Settlement Agreements and Negotiation: Throughout the course of the dispute, the parties will engage in negotiation and mediation to attempt to resolve the conflict. HL&C has skilled negotiators who ensure that the dialogue hovers around what is most important to our clients. We obtain beneficial outcomes for our clients and work amicably with the other side to ideally retain working relationships when we can. We understand how important relationships are to small businesses - we use that to our client's advantage.
Small Claims Court: Some disputes will qualify for the small claims division of civil court. Generally, the small claims court is a less formal forum to hear a complaint that is less than $10,000 in controversy. Each county sets its own guidelines, however, and some counties in North Carolina limit the amount in controversy even more. This is a good way to settle a dispute that does not contain significant monetary damages, and a magistrate will preside over the hearing. While a lawyer is not always needed in small claims court, HL&C can brief your complaint and support your arguments so that you enter the hearing prepared.
District and Superior Civil Court: If the amount in controversy is higher than 10,000, or the dispute contains issues better suited for a more formal court setting, HL&C can skillfully represent you throughout the litigation process. Attorney Hastings has won civil procedures awards and has navigated the court process at all levels of the hearing's stage.
The aim of any personal injury case in North Carolina is to compensate the innocent party with a sufficient monetary total that it places them in the same position they would have been had the accident never occurred. Attorney Hastings can help you get to that point. He has experience negotiating compensation packages for clients with insurance companies.
While it is of course a slight legal fiction and impossible to reverse the ill-fortune that led to your injury, Attorney Hastings listens to what hurt clients the most and actively seeks to procure compensation to fill those holes left from the accident.
In that aim, North Carolina law allows the plaintiff to recover the present value of all of those compensable injuries. Johnson v. Seaboard A.L.R. Co., 163 N.C. 431, 452 (1913).
Property Damage: In the event that the defendant causes property damage, the plaintiff can collect amounts that account for that harm. Roberts v. Pilot Freight Carriers, Inc., 160 S.E.2d 712 (1943) (holding that plaintiff can recover the rental price of a similar vehicle during the period of repair, in addition to the cost of hiring transportation during that same period).
Lost Wages: North Carolina law allows the plaintiff to recover any lost wages that resulted from the accident. Dunn v. Custer, 162 N.C. App. 259, 264 (2004) (holding that plaintiff can recover lost wages when such loss is an immediate and necessary consequence of an injury).
Pain and Suffering: Sometimes, aspects of the injury are difficult to numerically value. Each individual plaintiff manifests injuries in unique ways reflective of the way each leads their life. If there are aspects like that involved in your case, the defendant should be liable for all those injuries related to the defendant's conduct. North Carolina law recognizes damages for such conduct. Dunlap v. Lee, 257 N.C. 447, 452 (1962).
Negligent and Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress
There are many situations that can lead to an emotional distress claim including intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress. If you believe you have been dealing with charges or treatment that has lead to emotional damages in your life, please don't hesitate to reach out.