Partner Anne Duvoisin joined Henson Fuerst in 2003. Anne is a litigator, plain and simple. She has spent her entire legal career, starting in 1978, trying cases in the state and federal courts of North Carolina before hundreds of juries and judges. In addition to trial work, she has handled cases in North Carolina’s appellate courts. She has worked as a mediator and arbitrator since 1996. She was honored to be elected to the National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals, where she serves as a panel member. She has lectured and written extensively on legal topics, both nationally and statewide. And she has been an active participant in legal organizations in North Carolina, chairing various sections and committees in both the North Carolina Advocates for Justice and the North Carolina Bar Association. She has taught at UNC Law School as well, on legal writing and appellate advocacy.
In 2011, Henson Fuerst founded its Land Condemnation Division under Anne Duvoisin’s leadership. Anne has been fascinated by constitutional issues from the start of her career. This has served her well in land condemnation, which finds its roots in the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the US Constitution, and Article I, Section 19 of the North Carolina Constitution.
In 2014, Anne became involved in controversial constitutional litigation challenging the state’s Transportation Corridor Official Map Act. The Act placed a perpetual moratorium on land development throughout the state of North Carolina, injuring hundreds of property owners whose land was situated where the Department of Transportation might someday decide to build a bypass -- or not. A ‘just in case’ law. This was a devastating blow to property owners affected by the Act.
David Henson joined Anne in the Map Act litigation and the two lawyers have worked hand in glove, resolving more than one hundred Map Act cases. These were cases which most condemnation lawyers would not touch, because they involved challenging existing law and would be difficult, time consuming and expensive with a questionable chance of success. But Anne and David threw themselves headlong into this litigation, along with a few other brave litigators, and they made history as a result. To date, their awards for clients in Map Act cases exceed $36 million dollars on behalf of property owners in Pender, New Hanover, Pitt Cleveland and Wake Counties.
Anne Duvoisin – “I’ve always been interested in protecting the average citizen from either the powerful corporations or the powers of government so that their rights are protected.”
Anne’s litigation work over the decades has been wide-ranging. She has represented people from all walks of life in all kinds of cases: From capital punishment cases to civil rights cases, to medical malpractice and nursing home abuse cases, to personal injury cases, to contract disputes involving professional athletes and more – the defining characteristic of her litigation has been its focus on protecting citizens from overreach by government, government funded entities and powerful organizations. Her focus has always been on individual rights.
Anne spends as much of her free time as possible outdoors – hiking with her English Shepherd Coco, playing tennis and gardening. When not outside, she is usually to be found cooking gourmet meals or reading. She loves to travel with her daughter Rebeccah and her sister Jeanne.
I recently taught a course on condemnation to engineers and surveyors. In my presentation, I invoked Woodie Guthry’s anthem, “This Land is My Land, this Land is your Land,” which captures the philosophical underpinning of our democracy – that a person’s home is their castle, and cannot be searched or seized by the sovereign with impunity. Constitutional safeguards protect the sanctity of property ownership in our nation. It is also central to my professional credo. – a dedication to protecting the individual from the tyranny of the government. In the context of condemnation law, the U.S. Supreme Court has phrased this principle as follows:
“The Fifth Amendment's guarantee that private property shall not be taken for a public use without just compensation was designed to bar Government from forcing some people alone to bear public burdens which, in all fairness and justice, should be borne by the public as a whole.” Justice Black, writing for the Court in Armstrong v. United States, 364 U.S. 40 (1960)
- North Carolina State Bar
- U.S. District Court, Middle District of North Carolina
- Member, National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals
- North Carolina Bar Association - Zoning and Real Estate and Dispute Resolution Sections
- North Carolina Advocates for Justice - Land Condemnation Section
- Watauga County Bar Association
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