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Court of Appeals Adds Another Wrinkle to What Constitutes a “Proper” Rule 59 Motion for Non-Trial Judgments

In Davis v. Rizzo (issued Tuesday), the Court of Appeals further limited what kinds of post-judgment motions might constitute “proper” Rule 59 motions sufficient to toll the appeal period.   Not only must such a motion raise adequate grounds under Civil Rule 59, but the party must also seek valid Rule 59 relief.   When the motion fails to do so, the party’s deadline for filing a notice of appeal under Appellate …Read More

N.C. Solicitor General Announces New Fellowship Opportunity–Apply Today!

Approximately a year ago, we posted about a one-year fellowship opportunity at the N.C. Solicitor General’s office.  That fellowship program has worked amazingly well.  Last year’s fellow not only worked with the lovely and talented Solicitor General Sawchak and his team on important federal and state appeals, but also argued a First Amendment case in the Court of Appeals.  We hear that this first fellow recently accepted a fabulous new …Read More

You Can Say That Again: The Substantial Right Doctrine Is More Easily Stated Than Applied

There is perhaps no truer aphorism of appellate jurisdiction than this: The substantial right doctrine is more easily stated than applied.  In light of the Court of Appeals’ opinion last Tuesday in Beasley v. Beasley, litigants should consider how (or even whether) the substantial right test interacts with other jurisdictional statutes authorizing interlocutory appellate review. By way of background, N.C. Gen. Stat. § 50-19.1 permits interlocutory appeals for a range …Read More

Writs of Certiorari: Still the Most Powerful Tool in the Appellate Courts’ Arsenal

On Friday, the Supreme Court of North Carolina reaffirmed that (1) a writ of certiorari remains the most powerful tool in an appellate court’s arsenal and (2) that the Appellate Rules do not place procedural restrictions on an appellate court’s authority to issue its writs.  These issues have been churning for a long time.  See here, here, here, here,  here, and here.   A key concern I had based on prior Court of Appeals opinions was that if a conflict or gap between the …Read More

More Hiring News: Director of the Court of Appeals’ Office of Staff Counsel

In other hiring news, the Court of Appeals is searching for an experienced attorney to fill big shoes as Director of its Office of Staff Counsel.  After 35 years at the Court of Appeals, the current Director, Leslie Davis, is retiring in August.  We thank Leslie for her many years of service and wish her all the best in her new adventures. Among other duties, the Director manages and oversees the work of the Office of …Read More

Fourth Circuit Hiring Again: Apply Soon

Know someone interested in a federal clerkship experience?  The Fourth Circuit is accepting applications for up to three staff attorney positions.   Successful candidates will begin working within the next three months, and the position will last between one to two years.  Applications are due Friday, June 8.  More info can be found here.  –Beth Scherer

When Is a Deadline or Other Requirement for Filing a Notice of Appeal Jurisdictional? (State Edition)

A few weeks ago, the North Carolina Court of Appeals in Connor v. Connor rejected an argument that a notice of appeal signed by a pro se litigant was defective under Appellate Rule 3(d) “and thus did not confer jurisdiction.”  Appellate Rule 3(d) states that a notice of appeal must “be signed by counsel of record of the party or parties taking the appeal[] or by any such party not …Read More

When Is a Deadline or Other Requirement for Filing a Notice of Appeal Jurisdictional? (Federal Edition)

In light of Matt’s post from yesterday, does anyone perceive an uptick in dismissals of appeals for notice of appeal problems? Are North Carolina lawyers unique in their propensity to screw up notices of appeal?  Are dismissals for notice of appeal violations common in other appellate systems?  Let’s say, for instance, the federal appellate courts?  If not, why?  Matt and I have been discussing and debating these questions for a few months.  Yesterday’s Business Court dismissal prompted me …Read More

Trump Nominates Two New Fourth Circuit Judges

The President issued a thirteenth wave of federal judicial nominations on Thursday, including two new Fourth Circuit nominations:  Marvin Quattlebaum and Jay Richardson, both from South Carolina. The White House Press Release had this to say about Judge Quattlebaum, who joined the federal district court bench only a few weeks ago: If confirmed, A. Marvin Quattlebaum, Jr., of South Carolina will serve as a Circuit Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the …Read More

Failure To Include “Magic Words” In Rule 54(b) Certified Order Not Necessarily Fatal

Under Civil Procedure Rule 54(b), a trial court “may enter a final judgment as to [fewer] than all the claims [ ] only if there is no just reason for delay and it is so determined in the judgment.” N.C. R. Civ. P. 54(b) (emphasis added). Some opinions suggest that failing to include the “magic words” that there is “no just reason for delay” in the Rule 54(b) certification order …Read More