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Can You Appeal from a Nullity?

The trial judge who presides over a hearing or trial is supposed to, and usually does, sign the resulting written order. But what happens if that normal process is not followed? What options do the parties have? Last week, the Supreme Court articulated one option that is not available: filing a notice of appeal. In re C.M.C. involved a bench trial of a petition for termination of parental rights. The …Read More

Appellate CLE Coming September 13th

The Appellate Practice Section’s annual CLE program is coming up on Friday, September 13th.  This day-long event is a great opportunity to hear from judges and practitioners and to learn about current issues in the appellate arena.  This year’s program includes not only technology and ethics portions but also helpful topics on visual aids, modern writing, and insider tips from the clerk’s office.  The Section is also hosting a reception …Read More

Supreme Court Hiring Staff Attorney

The Supreme Court of North Carolina has another job opening, this time for a Staff Attorney.  The person selected will not only assist with the Court’s written opinions but will also be involved with rules, administrative orders, and training.  More information, including a link to the online application, can be found here. But hurry–the application period closes next Wednesday (July 17th). –Kip Nelson

Let Your Voice Be Heard: Seeking Input On New Citation Format

The Supreme Court of North Carolina is exploring a proposal to adopt a universal citation format for North Carolina appellate court opinions. The format would implement sequential numbers for all opinions and a paragraph-based numbering system for pinpoint citations. The Court’s Technology Committee has prepared a report that describes the proposal in detail.  The idea has been percolating for years across the country, and other states have previously adopted similar …Read More

Supreme Court Releases Its Internal Citation, Style, and Usage Guidebook

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court of North Carolina published its internal “Guidebook” for citation, style, and usage. You may recall that a few years back, a lawyer obtained a copy of and began selling the U.S. Supreme Court’s “secret” Style Guide. Fortunately, you do not need to buy a copy of our State Supreme Court’s Guidebook on Amazon—or wade through 266 pages of text. Instead, the 12-page Guidebook is …Read More

Appellate Review of Trial Court Reasoning

Unlike in federal court, judges in North Carolina’s state courts often invite counsel for the prevailing party to draft a proposed order on the court’s ruling. Sometimes the judge will let the parties know of the judge’s rationale through a formal memorandum of ruling or an informal email. Does that document play any role in the appellate process? Yes, according to the Court of Appeals. In Wilmington Savings Fund Society, …Read More

Navigating Trial Decisions Through An Appellate Framework

Trial lawyers have a hard job, and it’s easy for appellate lawyers reviewing a cold record to find fault in the decisions made by their predecessors. As others have recognized, a symbiotic relationship can occur when a trial lawyer and an appellate lawyer work collaboratively during trial to reach the best solution for the client. Boone Ford, Inc. v. IME Scheduler, Inc., issued last week, provides two helpful reminders for …Read More

Hurricane Still Affecting Court Proceedings in Jones and Onslow Counties

Although many courthouses have resumed normal operations, the aftermath of Hurricane Florence is still affecting proceedings in some areas.  This week, Chief Justice Martin issued an order that extended emergency operations in Jones County and Onslow County through 6 December 2018.  A copy of the order (allowing court personnel to operate at alternative locations) can be found here. –Kip Nelson

The Election Results Are In

After record voter turnout, the dust has settled on the appellate judicial races in North Carolina.  Anita Earls will be the newest justice on the Supreme Court of North Carolina.  Toby Hampson and Allegra Collins will serve on the North Carolina Court of Appeals.  In addition, Judge John Arrowood will maintain his seat on the Court of Appeals for another eight years. Congratulations to those four jurists! We would also …Read More