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Does Res Judicata Raise a Substantial Right? Depends.

There is perhaps no topic more frequently covered on this blog than that of the appeal of an interlocutory order and the substantial rights that will permit such an appeal to be immediately reviewed by the appellate court.  That this is a recurring topic on the blog is unsurprising, as it is an recurring issue addressed by North Carolina ‘s appellate opinions.  True to form, the issue was addressed by the Court of Appeals in its opinion in Brown v. Thompson released this morning.  The appellant there sought immediate review of the denial of his summary judgment motion, arguing that the order affected a substatial right because his motion was based on the principles of res judicata.  He was moving to dismiss a complaint against him in Superior Court that contained claims of defamation, intentional and negligent infliction or emotional distress, and sexual harrassment.  He argued that a “Complaint for No-Contact Order for Stalking or Nonconsensual Sexual Contact,” filed by the planitiff against him but dismissed by the district court for failure to prosecute, constituted res judicata of the claims in Planitiff’ s Superior Court action.

The Court of Appeals acknowledged that the

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Can an Appellate Judge’s Vote Count After Death or Retirement?

Suppose an appellate judge casts the deciding vote in a case, creating a majority in support of the lead opinion.  Before the opinion is released, however, the judge retires or dies.  Does his or her vote still count?

In federal court, no.  In a North Carolina appellate court, yes.

In Yovino v. Rizo, issued today, the United States Supreme Court considered this question for the first time.  In this

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The Court of Appeals Might Not Shrink After All

After two years of uncertainty about the future of the Court of Appeals, there appears to have been a breakthrough.  Yesterday, a bill was introduced by Republicans in the North Carolina Senate that would preserve the size of the Court of Appeals at 15 members.  If the bill becomes law–and I expect it will–the drama surrounding the court shrinkage may end as abruptly as it began.

In April 2017, House Bill

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Non-Jurisdictional Violations Lead to Dismissal of Appeal—with a Dissent

North Carolina Rules of Appellate Procedure

Post-Dogwood, cases in which appeals are dismissed for non-jurisdictional rules violations are rare.  Last Tuesday, the Court of Appeals issued an opinion that bucked that trend—along with a dissent.

In Ramsey v. Ramsey, the appellant (Mr. Ramsey) timely appealed from a trial court order holding him in civil contempt and requiring him to pay damages and attorneys’ fees.

Non-Jurisdictional Violations That Led the Majority to Dismiss the Appeal


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Justice Cheri Beasley Named the Next Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court

Governor Cooper has named Associate Justice Cheri Beasley to be the next Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court.   Justice Beasley will assume the post upon the retirement of Chief Justice Mark Martin at the end of this month.

Justice Beasley brings experience from three judicial levels to the post:  the district court, the Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court itself.

We look forward to this next

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Appellate Rules Amendments Bring Modifications to E-filing System

You already know that the Supreme Court adopted numerous amendments to the Rules of Appellate Procedure at the end of 2018. However, some of the most significant changes are occurring behind the scenes at the appellate courts’ electronic filing website (https://www.ncappellatecourts.org)

I.  Court of Appeals Continues to Lift E-filing Restrictions

For years, the electronic filing website categorically prohibited e-filing appellate records in the Court of Appeals.  As of January, many

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