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Government and Constitutional Litigation

Poyner Spruill has long been a North Carolina leader in high-profile government and constitutional litigation.

Our firm is regularly called upon to handle some of North Carolina’s most sensitive and closely watched cases involving matters of public law. These cases frequently involve a strong policy component, and they often have the potential to attract local, state, and even national public interest. We have deep experience with the political and public-relations components that tend to accompany these cases, and we are skilled at using those components to our clients’ advantage.

Our clients include some of North Carolina’s largest local governments, state agencies, and private-sector clients whose interests intersect with the state and federal government. Cities, counties, and other public institutions frequently engage us as outside counsel to defend against constitutional claims and other high-stakes lawsuits. We also regularly bring lawsuits against the State of North Carolina and the federal government on behalf of companies, associations, and individuals whose business interests are impacted by political or policy decisions. On multiple occasions over the past several years, we have persuaded courts to strike down state laws as unconstitutional.

Some of our recent matters include:

  • Currently representing the plaintiffs in a number of voting-rights lawsuits and redistricting challenges
  • Currently representing a coalition of craft breweries in Craft Freedom v. North Carolina, a constitutional challenge to state laws that force craft breweries to hand over their self-distribution businesses, distribution rights, brand control, and future profits to private distributors
  • Currently representing North Carolina’s State Board of Education in two separate constitutional challenges: a 2014 lawsuit challenging a state agency’s nullification of the Board’s rules governing the state’s public schools, and a 2016 lawsuit challenging the legislature’s attempt to strip the Board of its constitutional powers
  • Currently representing North Carolina physical therapists and their patients against the North Carolina Acupuncture Licensing Board in a federal antitrust lawsuit aimed at ensuring patient access to dry needling, a type of physical therapy
  • Currently representing a whistleblower plaintiff against state officials who fired her for exposing a criminal scheme to the State Bureau of Investigation, which ultimately led to two district attorneys’ resignation and indictment
  • Successfully represented the North Carolina Association of Educators in a constitutional challenge to a state law that would have prohibited payroll dues deductions for approximately 50,000 current and retired public school employees
  • Successfully represented the City of Charlotte in a constitutional challenge to a state law that would have taken away the City’s airport and given it to a regional authority
  • Successfully defended the City of Rocky Mount against a First Amendment challenge to its ordinance regulating “adult entertainment” in local clubs
  • Successfully represented the City of Rocky Mount in a constitutional challenge to a state law that would have conditioned certain voting rights on property ownership
  • Successfully represented several religious institutions in raising First Amendment defenses to lawsuits that involved matters of religious doctrine and practice
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