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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

The Plot Thickens: Differing Opinions on No-Merit Briefs

Back in July, the Court of Appeals issued a published opinion in In re L.V. dismissing an appeal from an order terminating parental rights after the parent’s attorney filed a no-merit brief. The parent filed a motion for en banc rehearing, pursuant to new Appellate Rule 31.1, but the motion was denied. After the rehearing motion was filed, the court did modify the opinion slightly to correct quotation of a …Read More

What Type of Review Is Triggered by a “No-Merit” Brief?

At first blush, it might not seem surprising that the Court of Appeals would dismiss an appeal if “[n]o issues have been argued or preserved for review.” But what is surprising is the fact that the Court reached that conclusion in a published opinion and, in doing so, made a significant change to the jurisprudence of cases arising under Rule 3.1 of the North Carolina Rules of Appellate Procedure (which …Read More

Marbury v. Madison–in 2018?

Unlike some sites, this blog does not focus heavily on decisions from the U.S. Supreme Court. But last Friday’s decision in Ortiz v. United States on the breadth of the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court is a must-read for anyone interested in appellate practice and procedure. As background, the petitioner in Ortiz was a member of the military who was convicted of a crime as part of a military court …Read More

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