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After graduating first in his class at Duke Law School, Mark practiced business litigation with North Carolina's largest law firm and then a notable business litigation boutique. He has wide-ranging experience in all parts of complex civil litigation, from investigations and pleadings to motions and trials. He also helps clients avoid and cut short litigation through work-outs and mediation, when that makes business sense.
Mark also has significant experience with complex appeals—in the North Carolina appellate courts, the federal courts of appeal, and the United States Supreme Court—that began with his two-year clerkship on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. He represents on appeal both clients that he represented in the trial court and clients seeking a new appellate attorney. Mark is a North Carolina Board Certified Specialist in Appellate Practice.
Mark's peers have given him the highest rating possible in Martindale-Hubbell, and he is recognized as a "Super Lawyer" in Business Litigation (top 100 lawyers in North Carolina) and by Business North Carolina Magazine as part of the "Legal Elite."
Pro bono practice is critical to Mark. In addition to serving as a volunteer lawyer for Legal Aid of North Carolina, he is a member of the Fourth Circuit’s Criminal Justice Act Panel, through which he handles federal appeals on behalf of indigent criminal defendants. Mark also works with the ACLU of North Carolina, and other organizations, to bring civil rights claims and pursue pro bono appeals.
Represented large real estate developer against debt buyer’s claim for over $5 million and in related foreclosure action. The large bank that sold the debt was brought into the case, the foreclosure was stayed over strenuous objection, and significant discovery and briefing led to the Business Court allowing a novel claim for breach of duty to negotiate in good faith to go to trial. The parties settled on the eve of trial, saving the developer significant money and allowing it restructure the debt and continue business.
Represented several mortgage salespeople who had left one bank en masse to join another bank, and their former employer sued. After significant briefing on a TRO and preliminary injunction and several disputes related to those preliminary orders, and complex discovery about emails, texts, and other electronic files, the case settled on favorable terms. Represented those employees in conjunction with their new employer, who had separate counsel.
Appealed, on behalf of a university foundation, the dismissal of a lawsuit by the foundation against the estate of a woman who had wanted to donate more than $1 million but died shortly before the donation was complete, and the estate refused to complete the donation. After the Court of Appeals reversed, concluding that the donation could have been an enforceable contract, the estate settled and paid a significant amount.
Represented owner of winery after bank foreclosed on her land and bought it at auction for an artificially low price, and then sued client for the deficiency. After doing significant discovery, negotiated favorable settlement for client for remaining amount owed. Soon after, when client came into some cash, re-negotiated the settlement for an even smaller upfront payment, ultimately saving the client more than 50% of the amount initially demanded.
Represented on appeal owner of certain recreational facilities in a planned community in the mountains, after homeowners refused to pay dues for those facilities. Prevailed in the Court of Appeals and successfully defended that result in the North Carolina Supreme Court.
Represented owners of a bar in the North Carolina Business Court against their withdrawing partner who worked with the landlord to take over the lease. After significant fact gathering and briefing, the court granted a preliminary injunction against the lease takeover, while acknowledging that the legal theory was novel but could be sustained under North Carolina law given evolving law in the area in other states. The withdrawing partner then capitulated.
Briefed and argued appeal on behalf of attorney who was found in criminal contempt and fined $500 for inadvertently violating protective order. The Court of Appeals reversed on multiple grounds, and the appeal aided the position of the principal appellant (the attorney’s former client) in several respects.
Defended group of IT employees against claims for breach of non-compete and non-solicitation agreements with their former employer, a large aerospace company. Briefed motions for temporary stay and petitions for writs of supersedeas in the Court of Appeals and Supreme Court.
Represented stockholder, who was also a $500,000 creditor, of a renewable energy corporation in various matters relating to the CEO’s malfeasance, including a lawsuit involving the CEO and the corporation and the client as intervenor. The client eventually worked with the corporation to remove the CEO, institute a new board, and put the company back on track. The claims against the CEO settled, and the client is in the process of getting back paid.
Defended biological products company against claim that it breached a contract for more than $30 million to build certain facilities. Tried the three-week case as second chair, and assisted on later appeal.
Represented developer against claims by over 200 property owners for breach of a federal statute, fraud, and related claims. After the Business Court dismissed some of the claims, the client pushed hard on discovery, and many plaintiffs dismissed. After all of the remaining plaintiffs (over 100) were scheduled for deposition and the Business Court ordered that the depositions proceed, all of the plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed.
As local counsel, represented English software company against breach of contract, copyright, fraud, and Chapter 75 claims by large American software company. After significant briefing of complex issues related to software law, European law, and effect of previous English judgment, the trial court granted summary on the copyright claim. Represented the client in three-week trial in federal court on the remaining claims.
On behalf of the ACLU, obtained injunction barring the Town of Cary from fining a man who had spray-painted “Screwed by the Town of Cary” on his house, gaining national press attention. Briefed and argued the case on appeal to the Fourth Circuit. The U.S. Supreme Court eventually vindicated the client’s position in a different case.
Represented international pharmaceutical company in a case against a licensee who had underpaid royalties by almost $100 million based on its specious interpretation of the license agreement. After the lawsuit was filed and the client’s position forcefully presented, the licensee agreed to pay significant past and future royalties.
Prosecuted challenge to a will over an estate worth more than $2 million after one sibling convinced decedent, shortly before his death, to disinherit the other siblings. After significant investigation, discovery, and expert testimony, the will’s proponent agreed to make substantial payments to the other siblings.