Morris v. Rodeberg, et al

Gagan Gupta

Gagan Gupta leads Paynter Law’s insurance disputes division. Presently, he is helping businesses navigate their insurance policies to secure coverage due to COVID-related business losses. Prior to joining Paynter Law, Gagan graduated from Stanford Law School and then clerked for the Honorable Pierre N. Leval of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Manhattan. Thereafter, he joined a large national law firm where he handled litigation on behalf of Fortune 500 clients with a focus on technology disputes and federal appeals. His most notable case was a $1 billion jury trial in Silicon Valley which resulted in a favorable settlement for his client during the middle of trial. Gagan’s lead insurance case –captioned North State Deli, LLC et al. v. The Cincinnati Insurance Company, et al., No. 20-cvs-02569 (Durham County, North Carolina) –was the first among thousands across the nation to achieve a summary judgment ruling in favor of policyholders. This landmark victory was a powerful win for policyholders during an era of economic devastation for small businesses everywhere.

Gagan grew up in Belmont, NC and went on to receive his undergraduate degree in political science from Davidson College, where he received a full merit scholarship. Prior to law school, Gagan received a masters degree in economics from The London School of Economics and served as White House political appointee in President Obama’s administration.

Gagan is committed to civil causes and social justice and spent his first year after college in New Orleans assisting with the disaster recovery effort following Hurricane Katrina.

Sam McGee

Legal Affairs Counsel

Sam McGee is a civil trial lawyer at Wilder Pantazis Law Group. He is a graduate of Yale Law School, Wake Forest University and Gerry Spence’s Trial Lawyers College.

Early in his career, Sam worked for both the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit and the Supreme Court of North Carolina. Since beginning law practice in 1998, Sam has recovered over $100 million for his clients, including multiple seven figure verdicts, and recoveries of at least seven figures in North Carolina, Tennessee, Louisiana, Georgia and New Jersey. Sam is frequently called upon to assist colleagues for both trials and appeals.

For the majority of his career, Sam has been active in the North Carolina Advocates for Justice (NCAJ), serving two terms on the Board of Directors, two terms as a Section Chair, and multiple terms on the Legal Affairs Committee. He has also written multiple amicus briefs for NCAJ. Sam has served on the Amicus Committee of the American Association for Justice (AAJ), is on the Board of Directors of the Southern Trial Lawyers Association (STLA), and has taught CLEs and written published articles for all three of these organizations.

Case Link View Now
Opinion Filed Pending
Attorney for the Case Matthew D. Ballew James A. Barnes IV Ryan D. Oxendine
Amicus Brief Writers Gagan Gupta Sam McGee
Court NC Supreme Court
Docket No. 296A22

A 13-year-old child was injured during an appendectomy. He filed suit after his 18th birthday pursuant to the tolling provisions of N.C.G.S. § 1-17(b). Defendants moved to dismiss the case, arguing that N.C.G.S. § 1-17(c) required Plaintiff to file suit within three years of his injury. Effectively, Defendants’ argument was that the statute of limitations expired while Morris was still a minor. The Court of Appeals majority agreed, and Plaintiff appealed pursuant to the dissent.

NCAJ filed an amicus brief, arguing that the majority opinion of the Court of Appeals violates longstanding protections of children under North Carolina law, and essentially prevents minors of a certain age from bringing medical malpractice cases at all, given that the statute of limitations will run while said children are under the disability of age and not legally competent to file suit. Moreover, the brief argues that the statutory interpretation in the majority opinion leads to serious constitutional questions with regard to the equal protection and open courts provisions of the North Carolina Constitution. Where two reasonable statutory interpretations are presented, courts should follow the rule of construction which mandates adoption of the interpretation that avoids serious constitutional issues like those presented here.