On November 3, 2006, Michelle Fisher Young, 29, was bludgeoned to death in her Cary home, where she lived with her husband, Jason Lynn Young, and their two-year-old daughter. Jason Young was charged with her murder. The medical examiner testified that Michelle was hit in her head and body at least 30 times with “a heavy blunt object”. On March 5, 2012, a Wake County jury found Jason Young guilty of first-degree murder, and he was sentenced to life in prison.
During the pendency of the criminal case, Michelle’s mother, Linda Fisher, filed a wrongful death action against Jason Young on behalf of Michelle’s estate. On March 16, 2009, default judgment was entered in the amount of $3,893,276.10 in compensatory damages, plus interest, and $11,679,828.30 in punitive damages. Jason Young’s attempt to have the wrongful death judgment discharged in bankruptcy were unsuccessful. Except for a small credit for an equity interest in a property sold at an execution sale, no payment was made on the judgment.
Civil judgments expire after ten years in North Carolina; however, an action on a judgment (a new lawsuit) may be filed to “renew the judgment” for another ten years. The attorneys who represented the estate in the original action are no longer practicing law. Consequently, Meredith Fisher Vanterpool, Michelle’s sister and the legal guardian of Michelle’s daughter, needed new counsel to file the action on the judgment.
Miller Monroe & Plyler agreed to file the action on behalf of Michelle’s daughter, the sole beneficiary of the estate, through Meredith as the guardian ad litem. Michelle’s estate had been closed for years. Jason Young’s attorney asserted two arguments in support of a motion to dismiss the new action: 1) that Jason Young’s daughter was not the real party in interest; and 2) that the debt had been discharged in bankruptcy. Superior Court Judge Andrew T. Heath rejected both arguments and denied the motion to dismiss.
By order dated August 5, 2019, Superior Court Judge A. Graham Shirley granted the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment and entered a new judgment against Jason Young. The new judgment totals over $28 million.