Robinson Bradshaw Helps Set Precedent in Domestic Violence Case



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June 3, 2020

Robinson Bradshaw prevailed in the North Carolina Court of Appeals in a pro bono case involving domestic violence. The case centered on whether the North Carolina trial court had personal jurisdiction to issue a domestic violence protective order in favor of a victim whose ex-boyfriend, the court found, harassed her by phone shortly after she moved to the state. In an appeal of the trial court’s protective order, the ex-boyfriend argued that he did not know the victim was in North Carolina and that he had insufficient contacts with the state to be subject to its jurisdiction.

Appointed to serve as amicus through the North Carolina Appellate Pro Bono Program, Robinson Bradshaw’s Erik R. Zimmerman and Andrew R. Wagner defended the trial court’s decision to exercise jurisdiction, filing a brief and participating in oral argument. In a precedential and unanimous opinion, the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s order, agreeing with Zimmerman and Wagner’s argument that the trial court had sufficient grounds to exercise jurisdiction when issuing the protective order. This significant decision helps clarify the principles that will govern the exercise of jurisdiction in future domestic violence cases.

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