An unpublished opinion of the North Carolina Court of Appeals does not constitute controlling legal authority. Citation is disfavored, but may be permitted in accordance with the provisions of Rule 30(e)(3) of the North Carolina Rules of Appellate Proced ure.

NO. COA02-376


Filed: 18 February 2003


v                    Burke County
                        No. 01 CVS 1444,
                         01 CVS 1482






    Appeal by defendant from orders entered 27 December 2001 by Judge C. Preston Cornelius, Superior Court, Burke County. Heard in the Court of Appeals 28 January 2003.

    Dameron, Burgin & Parker, P.A. by Charles E. Burgin and E. Penn Dameron, Jr., for plaintiffs.

    Roberts & Stevens, P.A., by Christopher Z. Campbell and Kenneth R. Hunt for defendants.

    WYNN, Judge.

    In this appeal, defendant contends that the trial court erroneously denied its motion to disqualify plaintiff's counsel based on a conflict of interest. For the reasons stated in Travco Hotels, Inc. v. Piedmont Natural Gas Company, Inc., 332 N.C. 288, 293-94, 420 S.E.2d 426, 429 (1992), we hold that defendant's appealis interlocutory and must be, dismissed.
    The underlying facts to this appeal tend to show that plaintiffs, Roe and Doe (pseudonyms which refer to the adult parents of two minor boys), brought an action against defendant, The Children's School, alleging sexual abuse of some of The Children's School's students by one of its teachers. When the alleged matter was first publicized and prior to any action being filed, defendant contacted Attorneys Charles E. Burgin and E. Penn Dameron, Jr. about representing defendant in any potential lawsuits that could arise from the alleged incidents. Whereas plaintiff contends the substance of the conversations consisted of information already disclosed to the public in newspaper accounts, defendant contends some confidential information was shared. Defendant chose to hire a different attorney.
    A few weeks later, Attorneys Burgin and Dameron were contacted by a South Carolina attorney about acting as local counsel in a lawsuit being filed against The Children's School relating to this alleged incident. Although defendant did not sign a consent form, plaintiffs contend they contacted The Children's School and obtained their verbal consent to Mr. Dameron's firm's representation of the plaintiffs in this case. Defendant denied this and moved to disqualify all of the plaintiffs' attorneys. After the trial court's denial of the motion, defendant appealed to this Court.
    Dispositively, we hold that plaintiff's appeal is interlocutory, and does not affect a substantial right. An orderis interlocutory if it does not determine the entire controversy among all parties. See Alford v. Davis, 131 N.C. App. 214, 216, 505 S.E.2d 917, 919 (1998). “Although interlocutory orders are generally not immediately appealable, immediate appellate review may be granted where the order adversely affects a substantial right which appellant may lose if an appeal is not granted.” Id., N.C. Gen. Stat. § 1-277; 7A-27(d)(2001). Our Supreme Court has held the denial of a motion to disqualify counsel does not affect a substantial right because prejudice to the litigation can be corrected by a new trial. See Travco Hotels, Inc. v. Piedmont Natural Gas Company, Inc., 332 N.C. 288, 293-94, 420 S.E.2d 426, 429 (1992)(stating “the granting of a motion to disqualify counsel, unlike a denial of the motion, has immediate and irreparable consequences for both the disqualified attorney and the individual who hired the attorney. The attorney is irreparably deprived of exercising his right to represent a client. The client, likewise, is irreparably deprived of exercising the right to be represented by counsel of the client's choice. Neither deprivation can be adequately redressed by a later appeal of a final judgment adverse to the client”)(emphasis supplied). Accordingly, defendant's appeal is interlocutory and must be,
    Judges BRYANT and GEER concur.
    Report per Rule 30(e).

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