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Civil Litigation

Civil litigation is a very broad term that covers several avenues, and typically includes any issue that is not criminal in nature. The experienced NC lawyers at Hannah Sheridan & Cochran, LLP (HSC), practice in the state and federal courts throughout the state. The primary areas within civil litigation in which we practice include a broad range of construction-related disputes, contract disputes of all types, business disputes, non-compete agreement disputes, creditors’ rights in bankruptcy and secured transaction cases.

Within the state judicial system, our lawyers practice in the trial court divisions, which include small claims court (amount in controversy up to $10,000), district court (amounts in controversy up to $25,000), and superior court (all matters in excess of $25,000). We are also experienced in practice before the North Carolina Court of Appeals and North Carolina Supreme Court. For two years, HSC partner Nan Hannah served as research assistant for Justice John Webb on the North Carolina Supreme Court.

In the federal court system, HSC’s attorneys are admitted to practice in the Eastern, Middle and Western Districts of North Carolina – the trial court divisions. Partners Paul Sheridan and Nan Hannah are admitted to practice before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. In addition, Nan Hannah is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court. Our attorneys also routinely appear in federal bankruptcy courts across North Carolina representing creditors.

Civil litigation also includes practice before administrative agencies and bodies such as licensing boards, state agencies and city/county governing bodies. Our lawyers represent clients in cases involving zoning, trade licensing disputes and permitting.
The attorneys at Hannah Sheridan frequently participate in various means of alternate dispute resolution by representing parties in mediated settlement conferences and arbitrations. Paul Sheridan sits as an arbitrator from time to time, while Nan Hannah is a North Carolina Dispute Resolution Commission Certified Superior Court Mediator. Nan has been called upon to serve as a mediator in the United States Bankruptcy Courts in North Carolina.

District and Superior Courts

State and federal trial courts comprise the forum where most civil legal disputes are addressed and ultimately resolved. The experienced NC lawyers of HSC are intimately familiar with the legal process, as our attorneys have represented businesses and individuals in a wide range of civil legal proceedings. Whether the underlying issue relates to a contract dispute, tort claim (e.g., trespass, conversion, etc.), fraudulent transfer scheme, or construction project gone awry, our legal team takes pride in zealously protecting our clients’ legal rights.

Our attorneys regularly file pleadings, argue motions, conduct depositions, tender written discovery, attend mediated settlement conferences, draft legal memorandum, litigate matters at trial and execute upon judgments. At the same time, HSC prides itself in strongly pursuing settlement of civil disputes such that our clients may enjoy the certainty of placing a given dispute behind them.

Appellate Practice

The lawyers at HSC are experienced in handling appeals throughout the layers of the courts in North Carolina. The first thing to know is that appeals can be had in civil matters in the state court from small claims court to District Court, from District or Superior Court to the North Carolina Court of Appeals and, under certain circumstances, from the North Carolina Court of Appeals to the North Carolina Supreme Court.

In the federal court system, our attorneys handle appeals from the bankruptcy court to the United States District Court and from the United States District Court to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. Nan Hannah is admitted to the bar of the United States Supreme Court.

The appellate process requires precision and attention to detail, as well as written and oral advocacy skills. Our attorneys handle appeals for clients both for cases our firm handled at the trial court level and for clients seeking new counsel for an appeal.

Appellate Courts

Here is the list of relevant appellate courts:
  • NC Court of Appeals
  • NC Supreme Court
  • Federal District Courts in North Carolina (Eastern, Middle, Western)
  • Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Supreme Court of the United States

Administrative Law

Federal, state and local agencies are granted certain judicial powers through the Constitution or statutes. These agencies promulgate complex rules and regulations to execute this delegated authority. Administrative rules and regulations are created to protect a public interest rather than to vindicate private rights. Within the administrative and regulatory area of law, the attorneys of HSC can assist individuals and entities in understanding and complying with these legal requirements, and under more limited circumstances, our practice includes assisting clients in challenging a government action.

Our attorneys have experience with many different agencies, not limited to, but including the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality; the North Carolina Department of Justice; the North Carolina Industrial Commission; licensing boards such as the North Carolina Licensing Board for General Contractors; the North Carolina State Board of Examiners of Plumbing, Heating and Fire Sprinkler Contractors; the North Carolina State Board of Examiners of Electrical Contractors; the North Carolina Department of Insurance; and county, city and municipal planning departments.

Dispute Resolution

Generally speaking, alternative dispute resolution (ADR) refers to methods of resolving a legal dispute outside of the courtroom. Alternative dispute resolution procedures such as negotiation, mediation or arbitration can often resolve a complex legal dispute quicker, and more cost-effectively, than traditional litigation.

Through the years, the attorneys of HSC have successfully settled a multitude of complex legal disputes utilizing ADR methods. Furthermore, partner Nan Hannah is certified by the North Carolina Dispute Resolution Commission in its Superior Court Mediated Settlement Conference Program, and has served as an arbitrator in the North Carolina court system’s district court dispute arbitration program.

Federal Court

North Carolina is home to the trial court level of the federal court system. There are three federal judicial districts – eastern, middle, and western – in North Carolina. Each district court also has a bankruptcy court that is a subset of the district court. Federal district court judges are appointed for life, nominated by the President and confirmed by the United States Senate. These judges hear both civil and criminal matters in their district.

The Eastern District is housed in Raleigh, but maintains courthouses in Elizabeth City, New Bern, Wilmington, Wilson, Fayetteville and Raleigh. The Middle District is housed in Greensboro, but maintains courthouses in Durham, Greensboro and Winston-Salem. The Western District is housed in Charlotte, but maintains courthouses in Asheville, Statesville, Shelby and Charlotte.

HSC’s lawyers are admitted to practice in all federal courts in North Carolina. The lawyers appear statewide. Civil jurisdiction in federal court is determined by statute starting with a determination of whether there is an issue of federal law (no monetary minimum) or diversity of citizenship – where the parties are residents of different states (monetary minimum of $75,000 to qualify for diversity jurisdiction). HSC’s attorneys handle creditors’ rights in bankruptcy, employment discrimination, whistle-blower actions and Big Miller Act” matters, as well as contract disputes in the federal court system.

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