Saunders v. Hull Prop. Grp., LLC

Opinion Filed September 15, 2020
Attorney for the Case David Stradley
Amicus Brief Writers Burton Craige Narendra Ghosh Trisha S. Pande Patricia Timmons-Goodson
Court NC Court of Appeals
Docket No. 19-728

This case squarely presents the issue of whether the North Carolina Supreme Court should abandon the harsh and antiquated defense of contributory negligence, and adopt the modern doctrine of comparative fault. In this premises liability case, the trial judge rejected plaintiff’s timely request for a jury instruction on comparative fault. After the jury found negligence and contributory negligence, the court entered judgment for defendants. Plaintiff filed a petition for discretionary review with the Supreme Court, seeking to bypass the Court of Appeals. NCAJ filed a motion in the Supreme Court for leave to file an amicus brief if the PDR is granted. NCAJ’s amicus brief, filed with its motion, explains why the Court should join the 46 states that have replaced contributory negligence with comparative fault. Twelve of those states, including our neighbors South Carolina and Tennessee, abrogated contributory negligence by judicial decision.  NCAJ’s brief reviews multiple cases in which the North Carolina Supreme Court altered common law rules without waiting for the legislature to act, and shows that judicial adoption of comparative fault is consistent with North Carolina’s stare decisis jurisprudence.

Petition for Discretionary Review was denied by the North Carolina Supreme Court. For additional procedural information about this case and the NCAJ efforts to end contributory negligence in North Carolina, please email