Cape Hatteras Motel's legal claim against DOT is on hold
A legal claim that Carol and Dave
Dawson, owners of the Cape Hatteras Motel, filed in November 2014
against the N.C. Department of Transportation is now on hold, pending
the outcome of a bankruptcy filing by the business.
The legal action was filed with the
North Carolina Industrial Commission, which is charged under the
state's Tort Claims Act with acting as a court to hear and determine
claims filed against state agencies, such as NCDOT.
million in damages that the Dawsons are asking for is the maximum
amount available under the Tort Claims Act.
In the Claim and Affidavit that the
Dawsons filed with the Industrial Commission, the owners claim that
negligence on the part of NCDOT, while executing its duties to
maintain Highway 12, has caused them loss of value of their property,
lost business income, physical damage to buildings, cost of sand
removal, and emotional distress.
DOT, in its own affidavit, denies
all the claims and uses contributory negligence by the owners as part
of its defense. The response says that the motel owners "failed
to take reasonable efforts to protect their property from sand and/or
At a pre-trial hearing last January,
Deputy Commissioner J. Brad Donovan, set a schedule for proceeding in
the tort claim, which would have had the legal action ready for a
hearing on the merits of the claim by Jan. 1.
schedule Donovan set was agreed on by all parties and included:
- All written
discovery shall be completed by April 15.
- Plaintiffs shall designate their
expert witnesses by May 15 and complete the depositions of their
experts by July 1.
- Defendant shall designate their
expert witnesses by Aug. 1 and complete the depositions of their
experts by Sept. 15.
- The parties shall designate any
rebuttal expert witnesses and complete those depositions by Nov. 15.
- All dispositive motions shall
be filed no later than Dec. 15.
However, on Oct. 15, Donovan signed
off on a stay in the case.
The attorney for the Dawsons, James
L. Conner II, who is with the law firm of Calhoun, Bhella, &
Sechrest in Durham, N.C., confirmed this week that the case is still
stayed and that the motel did file for protection under Chapter 11 of
the Bankruptcy Code.
"This is commonly called a
'reorganization,'" Conner said in an e-mail. "It does not
mean the motel is going out of business. Instead, the court
reorganizes the debts and the motel hopefully comes out stronger and
able to continue in business for a long time."
According to Donovan's order, the
case is stayed -- or on hold -- until final resolution of the Chapter
11 filing and another related Superior court case.
to read a copy of the Tort Claim and Affidavit.
to read DOT's answer to the tort claim, motions to dismiss, and
Hatteras Motel owners file tort claim against DOT
says it's not responsible for damages at Buxton motel
handled, schedule set in tort claim against DOT by Buxton Motel