Butterfield v. Gray

Matthew D. Ballew

Partner, Zaytoun, Ballew & Taylor

Matthew Ballew practices in all areas of the firm, including Police Brutality and Civil Rights, Medical MalpracticeComplex Business LitigationMotor Vehicle AccidentsPremises Liability and General and Class-Action Civil Litigation.  Matt aspires to a practice of law that centers around helping people. He has dedicated his career to representing individuals who find themselves facing the toughest times of their lives, and often up against the endless resources of insurance companies, giant corporations, or governmental bodies. He has successfully helped his clients fight for and obtain justice in major medical malpractice, complex business and investment fraud, and breach of contract partnership trials in North Carolina. Matt is a courtroom advocate, focusing nearly 100% of his practice on civil litigation, jury trials, and appellate representation across the state.

A native of North Carolina, Matt grew up in Marion, a small town in the foothills of the state. He graduated summa cum laude from North Carolina State University, receiving a B.A. with Honors in History and a B.A. in Political Science. He went on to receive his law degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. During law school, Matt was one of ten students from his class selected onto the Broun National Trial Team, the law school’s nationally competitive mock trial group. During his final year, Matt was elected President of the UNC Trial Law Academy, and he competed in the National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA) “Tournament of Champions” with the 16 top-ranked trial teams in the country.

From the outset, Matt has devoted his work as a lawyer to the representation of individuals, particularly those injured by the negligence, abuse of power, or professional malpractice of others. Matt takes pride in the fact that there are no client or case “numbers” at Zaytoun Ballew & Taylor. There are real people. People with important life stories, each of whom deserves the best the team at Zaytoun Ballew & Taylor can provide. Matt never ceases to find professional fulfillment and revitalization from the strength and spirit of each individual he has the privilege of representing.

He is proud to serve in numerous leadership capacities with North Carolina Advocates for Justice (NCAJ), a volunteer non-profit organization. He regularly writes and presents in connection with continuing legal education seminars in the areas of medical malpractice and civil litigation. In 2014, he was appointed to serve on the NCAJ Board of Governors and continues to serve in that capacity today.  In 2014, he was selected as Chair of the NCAJ Professional Negligence Section.  He continues to serve annually on the NCAJ Legal Affairs committee, and in that role has co-authored and served on moot court panels for numerous amicus curiae briefs to the North Carolina Court of Appeals and Supreme Court.

Karonnie Truzy

AAJ Minority Caucus Delegate*

Karonnie received his Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science and Government from the University of South Carolina Upstate as a basketball player and then earned his Juris Doctor from Wake Forest University School of Law. While at Wake Forest he was a member and Captain of the American Association for Justice Trial Team, was active in the Black Law Students Association, was a member of the Order of Barristers, and was named a 2001 Outstanding Advocate. Karonnie and his wife Ebony have a daughter and twin sons. He enjoys spending his free time serving on the Elder Board of Oak Springs Missionary Baptist Church, grilling in competitions, and watching and playing basketball.

His admissions and memberships include the North Carolina State Bar, the North Carolina Bar Association, the Guilford County Bar Association, and the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. He is also a member of the American Association for Justice, the American Association for Justice Truck Litigation Group, the Academy of Truck Accident Attorneys, and the North Carolina Advocates for Justice. He additionally serves on the Board of Governors and in the First Chair of Diversity for the North Carolina Advocates for Justice. His recognition by the National Trial Lawyers as a Top 40 Under 40 attorney and by the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum has resulted in numerous written and published articles in the North Carolina Advocates for Justice Trial Magazine and the American Association for Justice Truck Litigation magazine along with various speaking engagements throughout the country through the American Association for Justice Truck Litigation Group. Most recently, North Carolina Lawyers Weekly has selected Karonnie for its inaugural “Power List” of attorneys in North Carolina.

Case Link View Now
Opinion Filed October 05, 2021
Attorney for the Case Noah Abrams Rachel Fuerst
Amicus Brief Writers Matthew D. Ballew Karonnie Truzy
Court NC Court of Appeals
Docket No. 20-218

This case involved the egregious death of a jail inmate who was experiencing a known psychotic episode and, rather than provide him the medical care and protection required by law, the Sheriff and his deputies allowed him to slowly die of dehydration and starvation of a period of three weeks with no medical.

Even though the case is at the COA level, the amicus committee agreed to participate in light of the substantial importance of (1) the legal issues involved, in particular the absurdity defense’s argument that the presence of a $20,000 surety bond alone represents an “adequate remedy” that precludes a plaintiff’s constitutional claim under Corum/Craig; as well as (2) helping the court see this an opportunity to reexamine the utility of law enforcement immunity doctrines as a whole in light of the recent and tragic deaths/injuries occurring around the country, often to people of color, while in the custody of or interacting with law enforcement.