John M. Kirby
Peek v. Watson; Malicious Prosecution; initiation of proceedings; probable cause
In Peek v. Watson the Court of Appeals (on 3/18/2014; unpublished) affirmed a verdict of $20,000 against two persons who caused criminal charges to be brought against the plaintiff. In this case, the defendants provided information to law enforcement that the plaintiff was in possession of their farm equipment. The Plaintiff contended that he owned the property, and that he had been sharing the property for many years with his neighbor (who was at this time deceased, and the defendants were relatives or acquaintances of the deceased neighbor). The court held that there was sufficient evidence that the defendants initiated the proceedings (versus simply assisting law enforcement), and that there was a lack of probable cause.
John Kirby has represented and advised clients in claims for malicious prosecution in North Carolina.