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Using Standards of Review to Prevail on Appeal

SML Appellate Practice Group members Andrea Cataland (Atlanta) and Kip Nelson (Raleigh/Greensboro), recently had an informative article featured in the latest issue of DRI’s For the Defense.  Andrea and Kip discuss the standards of review that must be applied by appellate courts to every issue they consider, and how appellate practitioners can effectively use this important legal principle in their advocacy before appellate courts.

Click HERE for the full article.


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Bill Would Allow Federal Courts to Certify Questions to the North Carolina Supreme Court

There are some things you can do only in North Carolina.  Like cook on the world ‘s largest frying pan.

But there are some things you can do everywhere but North Carolina.  Like certify a question of state law to the state’ s highest court.  North Carolina is the only state in the Union that does not accept certified questions from the federal courts.

If House Bill 157 is enacted, all that changes.  Not the frying pan.  The certification procedure.

HB 157 would add 7A-27A to our General Statutes, allowing a federal court to certify a

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All Laws Are Not Created Equal

On Tuesday, the North Carolina Court of Appeals issued an opinion in Jackson/Hill Aviation, Inc. v. Town of Ocean Isle that reaffirmed the rule that North Carolina courts “cannot take judicial notice of municipal ordinances.”  The practical effect of that rule, as played out in Jackson/Hill Aviation, is that unless a municipal ordinance is specifically mentioned in a plaintiff’s complaint, a defendant cannot use that ordinance to defeat the

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Fourth Circuit Finds No Standing in Data Breach Case

Consumer data breaches are a big problem. Sophisticated thieves hack into systems we thought were secure, pilfering reams of sensitive information: names matched with social security numbers, dates of birth, bank account numbers, and more.  Fraudulent credit cards are opened in the names of the innocent.  Real harm ensues.

But what about more mundane cybersecurity mishaps? A stolen laptop or phone that just happens to have sensitive data on

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Mike Morgan Joins the Supreme Court

Newly elected  Mike Morgan was officially installed as the newest associate justice of the Supreme Court of North Carolina in a ceremony held yesterday in Raleigh.  Justice Morgan will take his seat in the junior associate spot, the furthest to the right when facing the bench.

More information about and pictures from the event can be found here.


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A Lesson in Helping Verbs: When You May, Might, or Must Appeal

In its final set of opinions from 2016, the North Carolina Court of Appeals provided some helpful reminders for appellate practitioners.

1. Unless some other exception applies, you may appeal from an interlocutory order only if it affects a substantial right. In Pass v. Brown, the Court reminded us that an appellant must identify a substantial right affected by each issue, not by an immediate appeal as a whole. Despite

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