Bill Summary for S 648 (2013-2014)

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Summary date: 

Apr 3 2013

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2013-2014 Session
Senate Bill 648 (Public) Filed Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Intro. by Jackson, Meredith, J. Davis.

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Bill summary

Enacts new section GS 14-105.1 (Employment fraud), making it illegal to make false statements or representations or fail to disclose requested information as part of an employment application  that the person knows to be false or incomplete, so that the person can gain access to the employer's facilities in order to (1) create or produce a record that reproduces an image or sound occurring in the employer's facility (i.e., photo, video, or audio medium record) or (2) capture or remove data, paper, records, or other documents through duplication, downloading, image capture, electronic mail, or other means. Committing such an offense will result in a Class 1 misdemeanor for the first conviction and a Class I felony for a second or subsequent conviction. Also requires any recording or information obtained to be turned over to local law enforcement within 24 hours of recording or procurement. Failure to do so will result in a Class 1 misdemeanor for the first conviction and a Class I felony for a second or subsequent conviction. Effective December 1, 2013.

Amends GS Chapter 75 by creating a new Article 8, Predatory Third Party Financing of Litigation Act. Creates GS 75-140 (Definitions), which provides the terms and definitions to be used in the Article, including consumer, lawsuit loan, lawsuit loan company, lawsuit loan contract, legal action, and proceeds. Creates GS 75-142, (Lawsuit loan contracts prohibited), to prohibit lawsuit loan companies from entering into a lawsuit loan with a consumer regarding a legal action in which the consumer is a party. Renders all lawsuit loan contracts void and unenforceable. Creates GS 75-144 (Penalty), to provide that a violation of GS 75-142 is an unfair trade practice, pursuant to GS 75-1.1.  Effective October 1, 2013.

Amends GS Chapter 114 by creating a new Article 2A, Transparency in Third-Party Contracting by Attorney General (AG). Creates GS 114-9.3 (Definitions), providing the terms and definitions to be used in this Article, including government attorney, private attorney, and State. Creates GS 114-9.4 (Procurement), providing that the AG may not enter into a contingency fee contract with a private attorney unless the AG makes a prior written determination that such an arrangement is both cost effective and in the public's best interest. Provides that the written determination must include four factors, including, but not limited to, the geographic areas where the attorney services are to be provided and whether there are sufficient and appropriate legal and financial resources in the AG's office to handle the matter. If such a determination is made, the AG will request proposals from private attorneys to represent the State on a contingency fee basis. Creates GS 114-9.5 (Contingency Fees), establishing the fee schedule caps for the private contract attorneys. In no event will an aggregate contingency fee exceed $50 million, exclusive of reasonable costs and expenses and regardless of the number of lawsuits filed or number of private attorneys retained. Additionally, no contingency fee will be based on penalties or civil fines awarded or any amounts attributable to penalties or civil fines. Creates GS 114-9.6 (Control), establishing that the AG will not enter into a contract for contingency fee attorney services unless certain specified requirements are met throughout the contract period or extensions of the contract period, including, but not limited to, a government attorney retaining complete control over the course and conduct of the case and a government attorney with supervisory authority is personally involved in overseeing the litigation. Creates GS 114-9.7 (Oversight), providing for copies of the contracts and the contingency fees paid to be publicly available on the AG website for the duration of the contract, with the amount of fees paid to be available within 15 days of payment and to remain posted on the website for at least 365 days. Requires private attorneys under contract to retain and maintain detailed current records of the financial transactions of the contract for at least four years after the contract expires. Such records will also be available for inspection and copying in accordance with GS 132-6. Requires that the AG submit a report by February 1 of each year to the President Pro Tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, describing the use of contingency fee contracts. Requires the report to include, at a minimum, seven different items of information, including the names of the parties to each legal matter, and the amount of any contingency fee paid. Creates GS 114-9.8 (No expansion of authority), providing that this Article cannot be construed to expand the authority of any state agency or officer or employee of North Carolina to enter into contracts for legal representation where no authority previously existed. Effective October 1, 2013.

Amends GS 114-2.3 (Use of private counsel limited), providing that Article 2A of this Chapter applies to any contract to retain private counsel authorized by the AG under this section. Effective October 1, 2013.