Prosecutor Now Defends Criminal Cases in Robeson County North Carolina

April 8, 2011


Woodberry "Woody" Bowen now defends criminal cases where once he prosecuted for twelve years. In Robeson County North Carolina Bowen was on the prosecutorial staff of Joe Freeman Britt, the Guinness Book of Records "Deadliest DA". Joe had more defendants on death row at one time than any other state prosecutor in the country.

Murders are frequent in and near Lumberton, Pembroke, Red Springs, Maxton, Fairmont and all the other little towns across North Carolina's largest geographical county, Robeson County.

Situated on Interstate 95 North Carolina Highway Patrolmen write enough tickets to put sometimes more than 500 cases in one Robeson County District Courtroom in one day. Others prosecute those cases now, but Woodberry "Woody" Bowen worked those courtrooms for years. There is no substitute for the experience from those years. It provides a certain bond of shared experience with the lawyers who sit in those prosecutor chairs now.

Got a ticket? Tap into the experience. A good deal on your case can save you a bunch of money on your car insurance.


North Carolina Still Recognizes Alienation of Affections Court Claims

March 25, 2011

The Lumberton North Carolina Courts provide a good forum for Alienation of Affection cases. NC is only one a a handful of remaining states which allow an action against a third party for wrecking a marriage. The claim is called allienation of affections. Punitive damages are also allowed, subject to North Carolina's cap on such damages. A companion charge of Criminal Conversation is usually pled alongside the alienation of affection charges.

To prevail on such a case the Plainitff must essentially prove that a third party almost preditorially stole away the affections of a marriage partner who had no prior inclination to be unfaithful.

A parallel action which is available is a claim for Criminal Conversation. Argueably easier to prove, this claim requires only that the jury find by the greater weight of the evidence that the third pary had sex with the Plaintiff's marriage partner while the third party knew or had good reason to believe the partner was married to the Plaintiff. This claim also carries punitive damages. These cases often provide the victim a decided advantage in their divorce case against the marriage partner, especially if the illicit relationship is still ongoing.

Often the sexual contract has been admitted by the marriage partner and often by the third party. Damages can vary widely, as can the ability of the Defendant to pay. But it may well pay to have an interview with a lawyer to assess the possibilities.

Lumberton Attorney Woodberry "Woody" Bowen travels throughout North Carolina to try Criminal Conversation and Alienation of Affection and other civil and criminal cases.

Slandered Red Springs NC Shopper Wins Record Jury Verdict

March 23, 2011

I was not long out of the DA's office from a position as a state prosecutor. Fresh back in private practice those decades ago, no big cases were lining up at the door just yet. So I had to make the most of what I had.

A young mechanic from Red Springs NC came to me after being slandered in the local grocery store. He and his wife were checking out of the food store one Friday night with two full baskets of groceries. My client had a wad of bills to pay for the merchandise and he and his wife were regular shoppers in the store.

Still, the manager accosted my clients in the check-out line and accused the local mechanic of stealing six doughnuts. My client protested. He showed the money he had to buy all the merchandise. He then pulled out the lining of the pocket in his full length leather coat where the manager claimed he had concealed the donoughts. No doughnuts. Still the manager accused him, standing right in the front of the store in front of many citizens of Red Springs who knew him. The manager never asked my client to step to the back of the store or into a private office so they could talk about it. The manager never tried to place a six pack of donoughts in his coat pocket to see if the white carton would stick up above the coat pocket, clearly visible. We did just that at trial and the jury laughed at the manager when they saw the doughnut package protruding at least 4 inches over his coat pocket in plain view. Shoplifting is concealing merchandise inside the store. Nothing had been concealed and my client had not left the store when confronted by the insulting manager.

The accusations damaged my client's business since a mechanic must rely on his integrity as well as his skill in a small town. My client proved by his tax return that his business got bad for a time after this indicent, likely because of all the uncomplementary talk.

But the talk chaged drastically in his favor and his business returned. The jury awarded him $ 150,000.00 for his loss, $ 50,000.00 for the lost business due to the slander and $ 100,000.00 for punitive damages for the malicious manner in which the manager falsely accused him and the store refused to apologize.

Sticks and stones can break your bones, but the law says that words can hurt you, too. When they do, get just compensation.

Lumberton NC lawyer Woodyberry Bowen tries slander and libel cases.

North Carolina Traffic Offenses Cost Clients Inceased Insurance Premiums

March 21, 2011

Lumberton N. C. is situated on Interstate 95 where numbers of speeding and other traffic tickets are written by the Highway Patrolmen stationed in Robeson County, North Carolina. The numbers of tickets going to Robeson County Court are on the rise now that the state is in desperate need of revenue.

Officers are writing tickets for infractions as little as 8 or 9 miles over the speed limit.

Not only do these tickets cost motorists fines and costs in court, but they also jack up insurance premiums ten per cent or more for all cars on a policy. And these increases can affect motorists' policies for three years.

The remedy is to get the charges dismissed or change the charge to one which will not trigger serious surcharges on the motorist's insurance.

A local traffic ticket attorney, especially for an out-of-state motorist, is desirable if not a necessity.

With over 35 years of experience in the Robeson County Courts, both as a state prosecutor and as defense counsel, Lumberton N. C. lawyer Woodberry "Woody" Bowen has the background to handle traffic cases in a way that minimizes license points and insurance points, thus saving motorists hundreds of dollars on liability insurance premiums.

Court can take a full day and often the client cannot get as good a deal from the DA that the experienced lawyer is able to get. Stay at work and let us do what we are trained to do. Having a good lawyer usually doesn't cost, it pays.


Dog Joins Staff of Lumberton, N. C. Attorney Woody Bowen

March 5, 2011

Atty Blog Jon Provost couch small elegantportraits.jpgBesides being a trail attorney, I am President of the Robeson County Humane Society. Four years ago RCHS began the annual tradition of the Puppy Love Valentine's Dinner as a fund raiser. One of our most energetic officers stuck up an e-mail conversation with Bill Berloni, world famous animal trainer. Bill trained all the "Sandy" dogs for the movie and Broadway play, Annie. He trained the cat in Mr. Wilson's War and Bruiser in Legally Blond. Lumberton is a small North Carolina town on Interstate 95 so we were thrilled to have someone of Bill stature.

RCHS has its own no-kill shelter near our small airport, but we are concerned always about conditions at the Robeson County pound. Since Bill advised all the public pounds in the State of New York we asked him to inspect our county pound on the way from Raleigh Durham Airport. He did so. But when Bill arrived early at the dinner I overheard him tell some folks that he was saddened that he had seen a little Collie mix puppy at the pound. He said his first dog was a Collie.

Little did he know that my wife Joan and I are Collie and Sheltie lovers. I could not sleep that night, imagining the pup. Next morning early I typed some signs and put them up at the pound on the way to a deposition. I encountered the pound director on the way out who told me he had orders to put down all the puppies immediately because of a distemper scare. I could not talk him into letting me have the playful Collie mix pup. So I called the County Veterinarian, Dr. Curt Locklear. I could almost see Dr. Locklear's vexation when he heard they would not let me adopt the puppy. He said he knew I was going to get the dog isolated and vetted and that it would be alright if I took him. I had Dr. Locklear tell the pound folks what he had told me, and by mid morning RCHS volunteers had the dog safely in quarantine at Dr. Locklears animal hospital.

I then called Bill Berloni in New York City to tell him that we had saved the pup that he had mentioned from his visit to the pound. I asked Bill the name of his first Collie and he told me "Rexie". I said that with his permission and in memory of his "Rexie", we would name this one Rexie.

A year later Bill returned for the Second Annual Puppy Love. I introduced him to the audience with the story of how we got Rexie. Little did Bill know that just outside the French doors to the banquet room, Joan had Rexie on a leash. On cue Rexie walked in. Bill knelt down. I think Dogs just know. I thought Rexie would lick Bill's face completely off, and Bill was a little too overcome for a while to start his talk.

Today Rexie is our law office dog. He comes to work every day and greets all the clients. Lawyers from all over the state ask if Rexie can be present for the deposition or mediation we are doing together and of course Rexie always accommodates requests for his presence. We take turns walking him and he spreads his time equally among the legal assistants.

And Rexie likes celebrities. So a couple of years later Jon Provost (Little "Timmy" on Lassie) came and talked to us at Puppy Love, and Rexie and Jon stopped by my portrait studio and had their portrait made. More on that story later but the photo is at the top of this article.

Motorcycle Accident Cases Interest Harley Riding Lumberton NC Lawyer

February 22, 2011

No one much thought that tall, slender, Lumberton trial lawyer Woodberry (Woody) Bowen would be the type to roar across North America headed for Alaska on a Harley Davidson Motorcycle.

Call it a midlife crisis, I suppose. I had just finished a three month long trial defending Daniel Green, a man accused of the capital murder of Michael Jordan's father, James Jordan. The jury spared his life, but mine had been in turmoil for those several months of intense trial and over a year of preparation. Worldwide press coverage was relentless as conspiracy theories flew.

Then a little over 50, I decided just after the trial that the trek of a lifetime was then or never, so I joined several of my lawyer friends, jumped on my Harley Davidson Soft Tail and headed for Alaska. The trip lasted 28 days and spanned 10,300 miles. My roommate was the former Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, and the fellowship with him and several other lawyers and their families on our trip made for memories as incredible as the breathtaking scenery along roadways of the Western United States, Canada and the territories.

Like never before, I learned to respect the big, loud Harley for what it could do. But like the boat captain who said, "The sea is so large and my boat is so small", I also learned so well how vulnerable a motorcycle rider really is.

Typically motorcycle crashes are no fault of the biker. Motorcycle wrecks are caused more often by drivers who just don't see the bike coming and pull out in front of the motorcycle rider too late for the biker to avoid a crash.

Motorcycle accident injuries are almost always horrendous. Permanent partial or total disability or wrongful death usually results from the crash. Some folks on juries are as insensitive to the rights of bikers in a trial for damages as motorists can be toward bikes on the road. Being a serious rider myself has given me the experience and the passion to develop a juror's empathy for unprotected biker, even if the juror as never ridden a bike him or herself.

It seems like insurance companies have slammed their wallets shut lately. More often these days it takes a well motivated jury to prize those insurance purses open and award a reasonable amount of money consistent with all the injuries and losses to the rider in the bike wreck.

Nearly forty years of trial practice and over 1000 jury cases have provided me the opportunity to guide the jury through an imaginary slow-motion experience of the victim motorcyclist in the seconds before a life-changing or sometimes life-ending crash. In motorcycle cases, we want to put every juror in that bike saddle in their mind so they can appreciate the unique freedom and exhilaration of the ride. Then we want to lead them finally into the experience of horror from the pain, disability, depression, unemployment, and financial ruin that can be caused by a careless driver.

It has been said, "INJURY is when it happens to you. SERIOUS INJURY is when it happens to ME!" If we can get juries to picture a devastating motorcycle crash happening to them, then just compensation is more likely to result.

I believe that only another biker can become a lawyer capable taking the jury on that all-important imaginary bike ride to the mountaintop of biking excitement and then all the way down to the valley of the shadow of death when, in the twinkling of an eye, the negligence of another motorist profoundly alters or extinguishes an innocent biker's life.

If a person is injured in a serious motorcycle accident, I think that most would prefer to be represented by a motorcycle injury lawyer who rides.

North Carolina House Fire Victims Fight Insurance Bad Faith Claims

January 15, 2011

My client was asleep is bed with his wife, his two year old child just in the next room. The phone rang about 3 a.m. His wife's house which she inherited from her father was on fire an a neighboring town 30 minutes away. The house in North Carolina had recently been vacated by a renter. Much of the house was still furnished with the wife's family furniture, priceless photos and family keepsakes.

The insurance company was notified. A public adjuster hired by my clients surveyed the damage and helped my clients present their claim. The police investigated. No arson was found; yet, Farm Bureau Insurance Company denied the claim, maintaining that my clients (respectable professional people without records of wrongdoing) had committed arson. Too many insurance companies are currently denying legitimate house fire cases by using unfair and deceptive claims practices.

My clients had no financial difficulties or other reason to burn the house. They had been having trouble with the propane gas central HVAC and the licensed gas company had worked on it. The system seemed to be using more gas than would be expected given the size of the house, the weather, and the type of system.

Our gas expert was sure the house burned due to escaping propane. The copper gas pipe was passing from the propane tank outside through the brick masonry walls. Science has learned that the chemical in the mortar used in brick masonry will corrode copper and cause pin holes which allow gas to escape. There was a lighted pilot light in the gas log fireplace in the house which could easily have ignited the gas.

Farm Bureau got an expert and claimed the fire was set because residue of accelerant was found in the house.

At mediation we showed slides of family Christmas pictures which were taken in front of the fire place in the house. On the mantle behind the group picture one could clearly see scented oil lamps on either end of the mantle piece. Where did the insurance company's expert find accelerant? Right where the oil lamps full of oil would have fallen off the fireplace mantle as the fire burnt up the mantle piece.

The insurance adjusters claimed that they denied the claim because they had gotten some anonymous phone calls about the fire. Later a senior manager for Farm Bureau admitted that there were no such phone calls.

Ultimately we recovered the entire replacement value of the house and payment for some contents. If we had not aggressively pursued the claim, the insurance company would have paid nothing.

To read about how insurance companies avoid paying claims see www.farmbureaulies.com

North Carolina Lowball Insurance Offers in Accident Injury Claims

January 12, 2011

Lumberton NC Insurance Bad Faith Attorney Woodberry (Woody) Bowen chuckled at the professionally lettered sign placed conspicuously in the front yard of a house on the way to Cross Creek Mall in Fayetteville, NC. The sign said:

Nationwide is not on your side.
If there's a claim then you're to blame.

As a veteran trial attorney for North Carolina insurance claims, Bowen knew that it was not just Nationwide about which this could be said.

Time was when insurance companies took seriously and ethically their duty to pay just and legitimate claims within a reasonable time. No longer for most insurers.

But some are worse than others. An independent organization published in 2008 an article entitled The Ten Worst Insurance Companies in America in which bad faith practices of major insurance companies are catalogued. And take a moment to check out the story of a midwest school teacher who took on one of the nation's largest insurance companies when she was denied just compensation from a house fire. Check out www.farmbureaulies.com.

The insurance industry commissioned the McKinsey Report in 2005 in order to find out how to make more money. The report concluded that since companies could squeeze little or no more work out of their adjusters and middle management employees and since the companies insisted on paying some of their senior management salaries in multi-millions, the only effective way to make more money was to deny more claims.

Following on after that conclusion, the McKenzie Report presented over 10,000 Power Point slides instructing the staffs of insurance companies how to delay, avoid and deny claims. The strategy involves delaying or obstructing the claim until the claimant simply gives up and takes a low ball offer rather than fight the insurance company.

Often the first line of insurance defense of a case is to get a claimant to give a recorded statement with the adjuster in which the adjuster uses special training to attempt to get the claimant to admit that he or she was in some way at fault when claimant was not.

Increasingly with harder economic times, insurance companies are succeeding in the unlawful and deceptive practice of lowballing claims. An unexpected emergency expense will often cause a claimant to accept an unfairly low offer just to be able to pay a bill.


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Your New Buddy--the Insurance Adjuster

December 26, 2010

After your accident, are you really confused about whether to get a lawyer and if so, who?

So much depends on the lawyer you choose!

Does your new buddy, the, insurance adjuster, want to play "Let's make a deal"?

Radio host Mark Handle, Handle on the Law, recently remarked to a lady calling to inquire if she needed a lawyer: "Lady, do you know that the adjuster goes to the insurance company's school for hours just to learn how to get you to take too little for your case?"

Typical situation. You think the injuries aren't too bad. After all, it didn't even hurt much at the time you crashed. You may have even told the officer you were O.K. This is very normal. It is by that night that you really started to hurt, and by the next day you felt like you couldn't move! Not only are you sore but you have some tingling or numbness in your arms or legs or both. The adjuster has looked at your car and knows you took a pretty hard blow. (Did you know that your head moves from still to over 90 miles per hour in the split second after just a 5 mile per hour impact in a simple fender bender?)

The adjuster offers to pay your medical expenses up to a year and gives you a small lump sum besides. Why? He knows you're scared and probably need the money. He knows also that the numbness you are feeling may be an early symptom of serious disc problems in your back and/or neck, perhaps requiring surgery. He also knows that because of the expense and risks of surgery Doctors typically attempt more conservative approaches including chiropractic, physical therapy, injection therapy, massage and others. He knows, if you don't, that these alternatives often take a year or more before surgery remains the only option. And an expensive option it is, often tens of thousands of dollars for neurosurgery.

And who pays? You do. Remember the deal you made with the adjuster? After a year his company is off the hook. And you're on.

He has countless other tricks up his sleeve. Let's take your demolished car. Say it's a late model, well-kept, good car. Now its going under the wrench. It's serious work that will brand your car with salvage history if the repairs total over 25% of the value of the car. Locked in a database somewhere under your car's VIN number, that damage may come back to haunt you if you ever trade.

Often authorizing only used or "after market" parts, the adjuster will pay the repair bills, but will he pay you the fair value of the depreciation caused by the wreck, the diminished value to your car caused by his insured? No. Not unless he knows you will take him before a jury to get it.

You see, ours is an adversary legal system. This means you get only what you are willing to struggle and fight within the system to get. The insurance companies have swarms of lawyers well paid to protect their rights. Maybe that is why they only pay out around 42% of premiums the rest of us pay in.

If your car is totaled, the adjuster will offer you a price from a price book his company instructs him to use. Its prices are consistently lower than those in the widely accepted NADA book used by car dealers and banks.

Yet the adjuster will encourage you to go it alone. Don't, he's not on your side. His promotions and raises are based in part on how little he can get you and others like you to take for their cases.

Get a lawyer! And not just any lawyer, but an experienced courtroom veteran who knows how to persuade jurors the true value of your case, a lawyer who can get them to fill in the verdict sheet with an amount they would expect to receive for similar injuries.

Sign No Papers Until you have had your case fully evaluated by one of our experienced personal injury trial lawyers reviews you case.

Continue reading "Your New Buddy--the Insurance Adjuster" »

Insurance companies deny, delay, deny, delay . . .

December 26, 2010

Are you curious as to the tactics used by many insruance companies when handling your case. Denied claims led to he publication of an interesting website. Click it and see for yourself if any of the tactics described from the McKinsey Report seem familiar. Click www.farmbureaulies.com.

David & Goliath

November 30, 2010

In the Bible, David didn't go up against the giant Goliath without his trusty slingshot and the experience to use it. If you have a just claim for an accident on the road or at work we have a trusty slingshot. It's the Law. And after over 1000 jury trials over 35 years of practice we know how to use the Law to try to get you a just result in your case. Get on even footing with the Goliath insurance company. I'm Woody Bowen.

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Fighting For Premiums

November 30, 2010

Ever notice how insurance companies fight hard in ads on TV to make you their client and get your premiums? They're fighting just as hard to deny or delay your claim so you'll accept less than your claim is really worth. You've been the victim of an accident. Don't also become the victim of an insurance company's unfair claims practices.

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For You, Not Against You

November 30, 2010

Are you or a loved hurt from a car wreck that wasn't your fault? You'd better know your rights fast-because the folks at the insurance company sure know theirs. The slogan at some insurance companies ought to be "when there's a claim then you're to blame".

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Insurance Company Unfairness

November 30, 2010

In your accident case if you feel you've been fair and just with your claims but the insurance company hasn't, you probably need our help. 35 years of trial experience has given us the savvy to anticipate the ways in which some insurance companies systematically deny or delay just claims to make more money-- at accident victims' expense. Even the odds, balance the scales. I'm Woody Bowen. You should be justly and promptly compensated and that's our stand.

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The Ultimate Jury Question

November 30, 2010

When the car wreck case goes to trial the ultimate damages question for the jury is this: What amount would a reasonable person who is an innocent victim of an accident expect to be paid to endure the medical costs, the pain, the lost pay and benefits from work, and the disability which the plaintiff in the case had to endure? Has the adjuster offered you a just amount for a just claim in your case?

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