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  • Client Files in North Carolina

    NC laws apply to my questions
    I am speaking in generalities as the case in question is still active.

    1. What forms of communication between a plaintiff's lawyer and all involved parties (defense lawyer, commissions, mediators, drs etc.) are part of the case file to which one is entitled to receive should that lawyer cease to be the plaintiff's lawyer?
    Ex. A: Plaintiff went to their lawyer to discuss increasing harassment on the job and not having WC restrictions followed for so called light duty work (suddenly after 14 months of doing so). Lawyer repeatedly stated in previous emails and phone calls w/plaintiff that they have to follow the restrictions in place or plaintiff doesn't have to do the work. At this in person meeting, the lawyer stated "I will send an email to the defense attorney" (about restrictions and what is being asked of plaintiff job wise). Plaintiff thought this would resolve the situation at work but it didn't. The lawyer recently quit case but will not provide said emails or communications, stating that they are internal working papers or something of that nature and not part of the case file. These communications would be useful to the plaintiff for other actions pending.

    2. What part of the defense file does the plaintiff have the right to regarding their case (ex. adjuster's file for worker's comp case)?

    3. What is the law in NC for employee access to employee files (or a good reference to said law, my google attempts have been fruitless for actual understandable codes)

    I'm sure I'll have more but that's all I can put into semi-cohesive sentences right now.

    Thanks
    KB

  • #2
    I can't answer the first two (someone else may be able to) but I can the third.

    NC has no laws addressing employee access to their file. It's up to the employer whether to allow it or not.
    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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    • #3
      Thanks for the response if only partial. Do you know if they have to provide that information in their employee handbook or can they make it up as they go suiting their needs and depending on the employee who's requesting it?

      Thanks,
      KB

      Comment


      • #4
        They can make it up as they go along as long as they do not violate Title VII and related laws (race, religion, national origin etc.). There is not even a requirement that there BE a handbook, let alone that all policies must be stated in it.
        The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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        • #5
          Thanks, that's what I thought but wanted to be sure. Some companies do have it mentioned in the handbook about how to contact HR for such things but others don't offer the info to keep the ee's unarmed.

          Thanks
          KB

          Comment


          • #6
            More likely they just don't even think about it until the question comes up.

            Hopefully someone will come by to answer your other questions.
            The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

            Comment


            • #7
              Could someone please answer my original question about communications in a client's file? The documents in question are needed for another matter going to court on the 23rd and if necessary we will need time to obtain them or request they be subpoenaed.

              Thanks in advance
              KB

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              • #8
                You are entitled to the entire file, except the lawyer's notes.
                Bob Bollinger, Attorney
                Board Certified Specialist in NC Workers' Compensation Law
                Charlotte, NC

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