Judge to rule on Stevens lawsuit dismissal

By Terri Flagg - tflagg@civitasmedia.com

Surry County Courthouse

DOBSON — The attorney representing Rep. Sarah Stevens, R-90, argued in court Monday that a $1 million lawsuit against her be dismissed.

William Neil Shelton filed suit against Stevens, Zachary Smith Brintle, the Stevens and Brintle Law Firm and Kim Hiatt Shelton in November 2015.

He seeks upwards of $1 million in damages for claims stemming from the lawyers’ alleged tactics when representing Kim Shelton, his ex-wife, in the divorce.

Those allegations include conversion, fraud, intentional and negligent representation, defamation, malicious prosecution, abuse of process, false representation and unfair trade practices.

“This case, in my opinion, seems to be a relitigation of the divorce case — Mr. Shelton’s attempt at a second bite at the apple,” Ben Klein, attorney for Kim Shelton, stated in court Monday.

Chad Bomar, representing Stevens, Brintle and the firm, echoed that.

“Mr. Shelton didn’t like the way it turned out,” Bomar told Presiding Judge Lindsay Davis.

While the two attorneys argued their respective motions to dismiss independently, both asked the court to dismiss for “failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted,” and specifically addressed each claim within the suit.

“Each is insufficient and should be dismissed,” said Klein.

For example, a claim of conversion against Kim Shelton failed to reference a specific date, Klein argued, and based on time frame otherwise referenced in the suit, the offense occurred outside the three-year statute of limitation for conversion.

Many of the claims failed to meet legal standards for specificity, the attorneys argued.

“This court is aware of the high pleading standard for fraud,” Klein stated. “It must be plead with ‘particularity,’” he continued, arguing that Neil Shelton’s allegation was that there was “something said at some time. We don’t have what, when, where it was said.”

Bomar argued that Neil Shelton failed to allege “with particularity” all the required elements of certain claims.

For example, one element of negligence requires that a defendant owes the plaintiff a duty, Bomar said.

“They owed him no duty,” he said of his clients. “Without duty, there can be no negligence.”

Bomar concluded by stating: “there are numerous reasons why each and every one of those claims must fail.”

Neil Shelton is representing himself in the case.

He referenced the defense’s previous comment that he was after a “second bite of the apple.”

“Actually I didn’t have the opportunity to take the first bite,” he said.

In response to the defense’s assertions that certain claims weren’t specific enough, “there’s no possible way to do this in this case,” he said. “My goodness, they’ve done everything to me.”

After hearing from Shelton, Judge Davis said he would take the matter under advisement and rule out of session.

Surry County Courthouse
http://www.mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/web1_160324_Courthouse-4-1-4.jpgSurry County Courthouse

By Terri Flagg


Reach Terri Flagg at 415-4734.

Reach Terri Flagg at 415-4734.

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