Go to Top

Blog Archives

Matt and Drew’s Excellent Adventure

On Friday, June 14, 2019, you have a chance to hear all about a U. S. Supreme Court case from those who were there.  And it’s free for all members of the NC Bar Association!  Here are the details: In Kimberley Rice Kaestner 1992 Family Trust v. North Carolina Department of Revenue, ___ N.C. ___, 814 S.E.2d 43 (2018), the Supreme Court of North Carolina considered whether defendant could tax …Read More

Big Wheel Keep On Turning

While I can’t say I’ve seen everything, there are days when I feel like I’m getting close.  Although this blog has most often looked at North Carolina or Fourth Circuit cases, we sometimes cast a wider net.  Let’s consider a recent published opinion from the Sixth Circuit, Taylor v City of Saginaw, et al. Plaintiff Taylor apparently was fed up with a particular officer working for defendant City of Saginaw’s …Read More

Looking for love in all the wrong places

An appellate court will usually affirm or find no error in a trial court action if the result is deemed correct, even if the trial court’s rationale isn’t.  Both State and Federal courts seem to call on this doctrine with some frequency.  Here are just a few of the many similar opinions I found in a cursory search: Perry v. Commonwealth, 280 Va. 372 (2010) (Virginia Supreme Court), U.S. v. …Read More

Who let the Dog(wood) out??

I suspect that every reader of this blog nurses a fear of making a jurisdictional error that kills the client’s appeal.  For North Carolina practitioners, three recent Court of Appeals cases give guidance to help alleviate that existential dread.  All these cases were in the batch filed on 19 March 2019. Let’s begin with Wright v Alltech Wiring & Controls, No. COA18-833, the only published opinion of the three.  We …Read More

A Wistful Farewell

Chief Justice Martin has just announced his retirement from the bench. While his accomplishments are well-known, Mark (and since that’s how I’ve always known him, I won’t stop now) has always been a little formal in public and prefers to divert attention to others. So what’s he really like? Having spent sixteen years working with him, I hope I can shed a little light on that question. Mark’s early adulthood …Read More

In Re Civil Penalty (again)

Last October, I blogged about the interaction between State v. Alonzo, __ N.C. App. __, 819 S.E.2d 584 (2018), and In re Civil Penalty, 324 N.C. 373, 379 S.E. 2d 30 (1989).  To recap, In re Civil Penalty holds that the first Court of Appeals opinion addressing an issue controls if that issue arises again and that the Court of Appeals cannot overrule itself.  The Alonzo result was based upon …Read More

Farewell, My Lovely—Oops, Not Quite

The Supreme Court of North Carolina just issued a fascinating but divided opinion with facts straight out of a 1940’s noir thriller.  How far can a would-be wife killer go before he gets into serious trouble? The case is State v. Melton, 253 PA 17, issued 7 December 2018.  It began when defendant Melton, in a bitter custody dispute with his former wife, contacted a friend who defendant believed had …Read More

AJEI–From Atlanta to DC

In the past, I have written about the annual Appellate Judges Education Institute (AJEI). The most recent was held in Atlanta last November.  I write about it now not to make you heartsick that you missed it and insanely jealous of those who made it, but to convince you to plan to attend next year.  It will be held in the District of Columbia November 14-17, 2019 and will be …Read More

Four New Appellate Specialists Welcomed

  The North Carolina State Bar announced last week that four attorneys had met the practice requirements and passed the examination necessary to be designated as Board Certified Specialists in Appellate Practice.  Congratulations to Pat Kane, Kip Nelson, Sherri Horner Lawrence, and Mark Sigmon! With the addition of Pat and Kip to the rank of specialist, Fox Rothschild (nee Smith Moore Leatherwood) now boasts five board certified specialists as members …Read More

No news is, uh, no news: The Supreme Court Passes On A Second Opportunity To Address “Proper” Rule 59 Motions.

In his book, Five Seasons, great baseball writer Roger Angell relates the story of a game where, near the end, a hard rain began to fall.  It was the bottom of the ninth, the score was tied 2-2, the bases were loaded, and the batter had worked the count to three balls and two strikes.  The umpire reluctantly delayed the game for hours until the rain let up sometime after …Read More