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Part-owner of longtime ocular prosthetics practice files suit against other owners (i.e., her sisters)

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One of the owners of an ocular prosthetics practice in Burlington is asking a judge to dissolve the company and to appoint a receiver to wind down its affairs, based on her allegation that two remaining business partners forced her out of the practice and misused company funds.

Emma Nadolski has filed the suit in Alamance County civil superior court against Carolina Eye Prosthetics at 420 Maple Avenue, Burlington, and two of her former business partners, Anna Jefferson and Clare Martin.

The lawsuit identifies Jefferson and Martin as sisters.  The company website for Carolina Eye Prosthetics lists their full names as Anna Boyd Jefferson and Clare Boyd Martin.

Though her suit gives no indication of whether Nadolski is related to Jefferson and Martin, documents on file with Alamance County’s Register of Deeds reveal that the plaintiff’s last name was, in fact, Boyd prior to her marriage in December 1999 and subsequent divorce from former Alamance County district attorney Pat-rick Nadolski, who lost his bid for a third term in 2018 to current D.A. Sean Boone. In an unrelated issue several years ago, the three were described by Nadolski as sisters.

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Though the couple divorced in July 2021, Emma Nadolski has continued to retain the last name of her former husband, while Pat Nadolski has since been elected as a superior court judge for the state’s judicial district that includes Stanly and Montgomery counties.  He currently resides in that area.

In her suit, Nadolski estimates that she and Jefferson, also a board-certified ocularist, generated approximately half of the income for Carolina Eye Prosthetics, while the defendant Martin handled financial affairs and bookkeeping for the company.

Nadolski’s suit describes Carolina Eye Prosthetics as having been founded in 1987 and specializing in custom artificial eyes, corneal shells, and microphthalmia socket treatment.

The original articles of incorporation, which remain on file with the Secretary of State’s office, list the company’s founders as Michael Boyd, Patrick Boyd, and Paula Boyd.  Carolina Eye Prosthetics originally opened in July 1987 in an office at 415 South Fifth Street in Mebane, before moving to its current location in September 2006.

However, Nadolski claims that her two former business partners had police escort her out of the office on October 31, 2023, have not allowed her to return to work, and tried to force her to sign a document called “Terms of Sabbatical Leave” that she says Martin and Jefferson created.

Nadolski claims to have been informed by Martin and Jefferson that her “owner distributions” would cease after October 31, 2023 – something she contends is “not permitted under North Carolina law” as long as she remained a shareholder in the company – and that she could not work in the field of ocular prosthetics while on leave, “despite Nadolski having no restrictions on her right to work anywhere,” the suit alleges.

The complaint does not outline any circumstances that may have preceded those alleged actions by the defendants.  Nadolski also contends that, while she never signed the sabbatical leave document, Martin and Jefferson “engaged in such actions in an effort to force the sale of Nadolski’s interest in the company for far less than the actual value, though the sale price for her interest is not disclosed in the complaint.

Nadolski alleges that the company’s assets are being “misapplied and wasted” by the defendants Martin and Jefferson through the payment of “exorbitant rent” for the company’s office to a separate company that Jefferson owns; through improvements made to rental property that should be paid by the property owner; and through personal expenses that Martin and Jefferson have allegedly charged to the company.

Nadolski is asking for a judge to enter an order dissolving the company and liquidating its assets, with supervision by the court; to appoint a receiver to wind up or manage the affairs of the company; and to issue a temporary restraining order, as well as a preliminary and permanent injunction, to prevent Martin and Jefferson from taking any further actions from which they could benefit financially until the matter has been resolved.

Nadolski owned a 33.33 percent interest in the practice; Jefferson owns a 51 percent interest; and Martin owns the remaining 15.7 percent interest, according to the suit.  The plaintiff is a board-certified ocularist and a member of the American Society of Ocularists, a professional organization that provides ongoing training for practitioners in the field of ocular prosthetics.

A response had not been filed for the defendants – which include Martin, Jefferson, and Carolina Eye Prosthetics – by press time.

Nadolski is being represented for her suit by Matthew W. Buckmiller of the Buckmiller, Boyette & Frost law firm in Raleigh.

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