A unanimous three-judge panel of the N.C. Court of Appeals has ruled in favor of Durham in a dispute over $100,000 in tax incentives offered to Nitronex in 2007.

Durham resident and state Libertarian Party official Sean Haugh, former Wake County state Rep. Russell Capps, and the N.C. Institute for Constitutional Law had challenged the incentives.

A trial court had tossed the challenge. Now the Appeals Court has agreed with the trial judge, reversing only the part of the trial court decision that had ruled Haugh had no standing to file suit.

While ruling that Haugh’s status as a Durham County taxpayer gave him standing in the case, the opinion from outgoing Judge Barbara Jackson (who will soon join the N.C. Supreme Court) contends previous cases have upheld Durham’s ability to grant incentives:

Plaintiffs appear to attempt to distinguish the case sub judice from our holdings in Peacock and Blinson and our Supreme Court?s holding in Maready by framing this as a novel case of intrastate competition between adjacent counties and characterizing Durham?s action as a reward for consummating a plan Nitronex already had conceived and to which it already had committed.  We are not persuaded, and hold that [Nitronex CEO Charles] Shalvoy’s undisputed deposition testimony contradicts plaintiff?s position and places the remaining issues squarely within the purview of holdings that we are not at liberty to revisit. 

In other opinions released this morning:

  • A unanimous three-judge panel dismissed a Lenoir County deputy sheriff’s appeal in a dispute involving an inmate who claims he was injured while the deputy drove him to a state prison. 
  • A unanimous three-judge panel affirmed a ruling from the N.C. Industrial Commission against a Raleigh Capital Area Transit bus driver seeking compensation for a disputed on-the-job injury.
  • A unanimous three-judge panel ordered a new trial in a 2008 Mecklenburg County drug case after determining that authorities violated the defendant’s Sixth Amendment rights under the “confrontation clause.”