Associated Press

Ex-UNC Player’s Estate Sues ACC, NCAA Over Concussions

Representatives of a former North Carolina football player’s estate are suing the Atlantic Coast Conference and the NCAA, saying they ignored the dangers of concussions and it led to Ryan Hoffman’s death. Sandra LaMountain and Noah Hoffman brought the 39-page lawsuit on behalf of Ryan Hoffman’s estate and filed it Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Greensboro. They allege negligence, breach of express contract and unjust enrichment. They argue that both groups failed to protect and promote the safety and well-being of the players, and breached a contract with the players by failing to properly educate and warn them...

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Civil Rights Attorney Running for N Carolina Supreme Court

A longtime civil rights attorney who successfully sued in striking down North Carolina legislative redistricting maps is running for the state Supreme Court next year. Anita Earls is executive director of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice. She announced plans Wednesday at state Democratic Party headquarters to run for an eight-year term in 2018. Earls would run for the seat currently held by Justice Barbara Jackson, a Republican. How judicial elections will play out next year remains unclear. The legislature approved a law this fall that cancelled the May primaries for judicial races, setting up one election for each...

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Special Master Offers Draft Maps for N Carolina Legislature

An outside expert appointed by a federal court to help draw some North Carolina legislative districts that judges worry remained unconstitutional has suggested changes. Stanford University law professor Nathaniel Persily filed Monday his preliminary House and Senate plans. The special master also requested formal responses from Republican legislative leaders who originally drew the boundaries and from voters who successfully sued over them. The judges wants Persily’s final proposal by Dec. 1. The judges have said four districts redrawn last summer by GOP legislators still appeared to preserve illegal racial bias, so Persily said he redrew compact replacements for them....

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Fitzsimon Leaving NC Policy Watch to Spread Effort Elsewhere

The founder of a liberal-leaning think tank that’s developed into a media outlet following North Carolina state government is leaving his job to try to replicate the effort in other states. North Carolina Policy Watch Executive Director Chris Fitzsimon said Monday he’s going to work for what’s called “The Newsroom,” which seeks to expand nonprofit news operations based on Policy Watch’s model. His last day at Policy Watch will be Wednesday but Fitzsimon says he’ll continue as a writing contributor. Fitzsimon was previously a WRAL-TV reporter and later an aide to then-House Speaker Dan Blue. He led the Common...

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Female Professor Sues UNC-Chapel Hill for Sex Discrimination

A lawsuit brought by a female geography professor accuses UNC-Chapel Hill officials of gender discrimination and retaliation for raising concerns of sex and racial discrimination. The News & Observer of Raleigh reports 23-year faculty member Altha Cravey filed a complaint against the university and Chancellor Carol Folt, College of Arts and Sciences Dean Kevin Guskiewicz and Geography Department Chair Michael Emch last week, seeking back wages and benefits, promotion and other fees. The lawsuit says Cravey has been denied promotion to full professor, despite male professors with similar or lesser credentials achieving promotion. Cravey says she’s also advocated for...

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ACLU Opposes North Carolina Sheriff Handling Immigration

The North Carolina chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is asking federal officials to reject an application from the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office to help enforce immigration laws. Local media outlets report that ACLU policy director Sarah Gillooly has written the Department of Homeland Security opposing the application by the sheriff’s department to resume enforcement of federal immigration laws. The sheriff’s office previously had an agreement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The Justice Department sued Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson in 2012, saying his office routinely targeted and discriminated against Latinos. A federal judge rejected the lawsuit,...

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N Carolina Fracking Meeting Called Off by Absences

A member of a recently retooled panel regulating North Carolina’s fracking industry says its first meeting has been canceled after two members said they would not attend. The state Oil & Gas Commission had scheduled an organizational meeting Thursday in Sanford. An attempted organizational meeting last month had also been canceled. The Department of Environmental Quality said Wednesday the meeting would not happen because of a staffing vacancy and three other environmental panels were meeting Thursday. Commissioner Jim Womack had said Wednesday the commission would meet anyway. But Womack said in an email early Thursday that two members said...

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Senate Panel on Judiciary’s Future Considering Proposed Maps

A proposal by North Carolina House Republicans to redo election districts for trial court judges and local prosecutors is getting a first formal look from the Senate. A Senate committee created to consider the redrawn lines and other potential judicial election changes meets for the first time Wednesday. The Republican-controlled panel planned to review the boundaries for Superior and District court seats and for district attorneys that the full House approved last month. At a later meeting, senators are expected to debate whether current head-to-head elections for judgeships should be replaced with a “merit-selection” system, or perhaps be held...

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Effort to Halt Precinct Software Use Denied by Appeals Court

A North Carolina appeals court rejected a late effort to prevent certain software that checks in voters at precincts from being used in Tuesday’s municipal elections. The Court of Appeals refused to lift an administrative law judge’s order preventing the state election board to stop counties from using electronic poll books made by VR Systems. Attorneys received the denial ruling after polls opened Tuesday morning. Board officials said the software hadn’t been certified and officials were concerned about problems last year in Durham County where e-poll books were used. Broader national worries about Russian hacking later surfaced. It wasn’t...

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NC Appeals Court: Lawmakers Can OK Governor’s Top Aides

A North Carolina appeals court agrees that state lawmakers can have the last word on confirming Gov. Roy Cooper’s top aides. The state Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that a three-judge panel correctly rejected Cooper’s challenge to a new law passed weeks after his election last year. The state Senate unanimously confirmed all eight of Cooper’s secretaries this year. The appeals court agreed that legislators have the power of “advice and consent” of the governor’s picks to run agencies. That’s similar to Congress’s role in reviewing the president’s picks for top posts. The case could be appealed to the...

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