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Statutory Construction: The Saga Continues

Statutory construction continues to be an important issue to the Supreme Court of North Carolina. Consider this statute: “Only a county director of social services or the director’s authorized representative may file a petition alleging that a juvenile is abused, neglected, or dependent.” N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-401.1(a). In In re A.P. , the Court considered the question of which county director can file such a petition. The county in …Read More

Is “Failure To Preserve” An Issue That Must Be Preserved?

I will note at the outset that our firm represented the property owners in this case. But aside from the substantive issues, the Supreme Court’s decision from last week in North Carolina Department of Transportation v. Mission Battleground Park contains an important caveat for appellate practitioners. The case involved the DOT’s condemnation of property in Greensboro for a state highway project. During the trial to determine the amount of just …Read More

Amy Funderburk Announced As Clerk Of Supreme Court

As we have discussed previously, the Supreme Court has been looking for a new clerk for a few months.  Christie Cameron Roeder has been serving as interim clerk, but today the Court announced that Amy Funderburk will serve as the 16th Clerk of the Supreme Court of North Carolina.  Ms. Funderburk has most recently been with the AOC and also serves as an adjunct professor at Campbell Law School.  For more …Read More

U.S. Government Teaches Us “How to Write Good”

We have written before about the benefits of plain speak in appellate opinions. We have also written about the importance of consistency in brief writing. I would like to throw one more resource into the ring, courtesy of the Plain Language Action and Information Network. If you need some (tongue-in-cheek) tips on how to improve your writing, see the organization’s 51 rules of “How to Write Good” here. –Kip Nelson …Read More

Disagreement in the Supreme Court of North Carolina: How to Interpret a Statute

Our State Supreme Court issues a lot of unanimous opinions. But this month’s batch of opinions contained two interesting examples of an area in which the justices may disagree: statutory interpretation. In State v. Fletcher, the Supreme Court was interpreting the scope of the phrase “oral intercourse” in a criminal statute. Not surprisingly, the Court “look[ed] first to the plain meaning of the words of the statute itself.” But because …Read More

Job Posting for Supreme Court Clerk

As we discussed previously, the Supreme Court finds itself in need of a new clerk. Are you interested in applying? Do you know someone who might be? Here is the job posting from the Supreme Court: The North Carolina Supreme Court seeks a qualified Clerk of Court to serve as the Court’s executive officer overseeing the management of the Clerk’s Office and supervision of the professional staff within the Clerk’s …Read More

Are These Rhetorical Questions?

Tuesday’s batch of opinions from the Court of Appeals included several helpful reminders. None of these is especially earth-shattering, but the opinions do answer some questions that may be forgotten during the rough-and-tumble process. Do you have to file a responsive pleading after dismissal is reversed on appeal? Yes, you do. But when you have to do so is an open question. In Swan Beach Corolla, LLC v. County of …Read More

It Never Goes out of Style

The Appellate Rules Committee has updated the Appellate Style Manual, which is intended to give practical examples and tips for those practicing in North Carolina’s appellate courts.  Though not a substitute for the Rules themselves, it may be helpful to consult the style manual in light of the recent changes to the North Carolina Rules of Appellate Procedure. The revised version can be found here. –Kip Nelson Please follow and …Read More

Come One, Come All: NCBA Appellate Practice CLE

Coming up this week is an invaluable resource for appellate practitioners new and old: the Appellate Practice Section’s annual CLE. This year’s presentation will include segments on amicus briefs, technology in the appellate courts, briefs in the digital age, and preparing for oral argument. The seminar begins at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, September 15th at the North Carolina Bar Center. The brochure and registration information can be found here. –Kip …Read More

Which Orders Can Be Included In A Cross-Appeal?

One sentence of Rule 3(c) of the North Carolina Rules of Appellate Procedure provides: “If timely notice of appeal is filed and served by a party, any other party may file and serve a notice of appeal within ten days after the first notice of appeal was served on such party.” If one party appeals from a final judgment, what can be included in the other party’s cross-notice of appeal? …Read More