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UPDATE: SCOTUS Vacates and Remands NC Political Gerrymandering Case

As I wrote last week, after the Supreme Court held that the plaintiffs in Gill v. Whitford had failed to prove that they had standing to bring their voter dilution claims, the best chance for the Supreme Court to actually reach the merits of political gerrymandering any time soon lay with a case out of North Carolina, Rucho v. Common Cause. Alas, in an order issued today, the Court vacated and …Read More

SCOTUS Skirts the Merits on Political Gerrymandering

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down another opinion in a long line of attempts to deal with the issue of political gerrymandering. Unfortunately, the decision did not reach the merits.  In Gill v. Whitford, the eagerly awaited case out of Wisconsin, the Court unanimously concluded that the plaintiffs had failed to prove that they had standing to pursue their claims. Chief Justice Roberts, writing for the majority and …Read More

SCOTUS Clarifies Federal Class Action Tolling Rules; Bars “Stacked” Class Actions

In American Pipe & Construction Co. v. Utah, 414 U.S 538 (1974), the U.S. Supreme Court set out the rule that the timely filing of a class action tolls the applicable statute of limitations for all persons encompassed by the class complaint. Under American Pipe, therefore, a putative member of an uncertified class could wait until after a ruling on certification to either file an individual suit or join in …Read More

Court of Appeals Clarifies Standard of Review for Waiver of Arbitration Clause

The North Carolina Court of Appeals kicked off a new year of decisions by clarifying the applicable standard of review for a trial court’s decision on whether a party has waived a contractual right to arbitration. In iPayment, Inc. v. Grainger, the plaintiff appealed from an order denying its motion to compel the arbitration of counterclaims that had been brought by one of the defendants. The case arose out of …Read More

On the Risk of Inconsistent Verdicts

It is black letter law that there is typically no right to an immediate appeal from an interlocutory order. This well-established rule exists in order to allow a trial court to bring an entire case to final judgment before it is sent to the appellate courts, and avoid piecemeal litigation. There are, however, two common avenues by which an interlocutory order can be immediately appealed.  The first avenue is if …Read More

SCOTUS is Going Digital

On August 3, the Supreme Court issued a press release that its long-awaited electronic filing system will be going online in November. According to the release, the new system will make “virtually all new filings” available for free online. This change comes in the wake of the Supreme Court’s rollout of its updated website, which launched on July 28. Initially, official filing of documents will continue to be paper based, …Read More

A Friendly Reminder About Local Rules

On July 10, 2017, Chief Judge Wood of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals issued a curious opinion that should serve as a reminder not only to practitioners in that Circuit, but to all attorneys who regularly file documents with a court: local rules exist for a reason. Judge Wood consolidated two cases, Baez-Sanchez v. Sessions and Bishop v. Air Line Pilots Association, International, in order to issue an opinion …Read More

Update on Redistricting – Supreme Court Sees No Need For Haste in Covington

As I recently discussed, on June 5th the United State Supreme Court affirmed the decision of a three-judge panel based out of the Middle District of North Carolina holding that 28 of North Carolina’s state legislative districts were unconstitutional racial gerrymanders.  The Supreme Court affirmed without opinion, and remanded the case back to the three-judge panel for determination of whether special elections should still be ordered in 2017.  After the …Read More

Unpacking the Recent Redistricting Cases

While we normally focus on procedural issues in North Carolina appellate law, a trio of recently decided United States Supreme Court cases arising out of North Carolina affect everyone living in this state.  So in a departure from the norm, what follows is an analysis of these cases and how they will impact both the present and future of electoral districts in the Tar Heel state. As many have likely read, …Read More

Court of Appeals Reiterates Importance of Preserving Arguments on Appeal

Yesterday, the Court of Appeals published an opinion serving as a reminder that attorneys must always be mindful of preserving their trial court arguments for appeal. In State v. Walker, the Court addressed an appeal from judgments convicting the Defendant of three counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury (acronymed “AWDWWIKISI” in the opinion) and one count of attempted first degree murder.  Defendant argued on …Read More