Usually, appellate counsel can confidently say that a grant of partial summary judgment, standing alone, will not allow for an interlocutory appeal.  A complete grant of summary judgment is a final, appealable judgment, but a partial grant is usually not appealable until the end of the case.  A recent published opinion from the Court of Appeals, however, staked out a new path.… Continue Reading

Under Appellate Rule 10, the general rule is that appellate courts only decide issues properly raised, argued, and decided in the trial tribunal.  But exceptions to this general rule exist for issues considered so fundamental that they are automatically preserved for appellate review by rule, law, or case authority.  Based on this second principle, the Supreme Court of North Carolina recently upheld the constitutionality of N.C.Continue Reading

As you no doubt have noticed, virtually every batch of opinions from our State appellate courts includes at least one “Rule 3.1” case involving allegations of abuse, neglect, or dependency.  What you may forget is that each of those cases involves an appellate attorney advocating for the best interests of the children.  Although the court system has some attorneys on staff, the children are most often represented by pro bono attorneys as part of the Guardian ad Litem program.… Continue Reading

Have you ever wondered what it is like to be an appellate judge?  Are you interested in hearing about the future of our appellate courts?

You are in luck.  Patterson Harkavy LLP is hosting a virtual discussion on Wednesday, March 31st at 12:00 p.m.  Viewers will have the opportunity to hear from former Chief Justice Cheri Beasley, former Chief Judge Linda McGee, and former Court of Appeals Judge Chris Brook. … Continue Reading

If there is no binding precedent on point, where does the Supreme Court of North Carolina look for guidance?  Which are more persuasive:  federal court opinions or North Carolina Court of Appeals opinions?  Does the answer to that question change when the issue is one of appellate procedure, such as the standard of review?

The Supreme Court grappled with these issues in State v.Continue Reading

It has been more than a year since the Court of Appeals and Supreme Court have held in-person oral arguments.  Thankfully, the appellate courts have been able to continue their important work by utilizing technology to hold WebEx arguments.  And even better, attorneys, clients, and members of the public have been able to see the arguments on the courts’ YouTube pages.… Continue Reading

Last month I blogged about a Fourth Circuit case that saw an eleventh-hour judge recusal.  The Supreme Court of North Carolina is now facing a similar issue, times five.

The case involves a class action challenging a law that required members of the North Carolina Teachers’ and State Employees’ Retirement System to pay a premium to obtain health insurance coverage. … Continue Reading

In case you missed the invitation, the Appellate Practice Section is hosting a virtual event at noon next Monday so that members of the bar can get to know the new justices on the Supreme Court and new judges on the Court of Appeals.  This event will be a great opportunity to hear directly from our esteemed jurists and learn about their backgrounds. … Continue Reading

A Fourth Circuit published opinion from earlier this week revealed an interesting panel composition issue, as the panel that heard the oral argument in the appeal was slightly different from the panel that ultimately issued the opinion. In Foodbuy, LLC v. Gregory Packaging, Inc., when introducing the panel of Circuit Judges Niemeyer and Agee and District Court Judge Kleeh sitting by designation, the opinion noted with an asterisk that “after argument, Judge Quattlebaum recused himself, and Judge Niemeyer elected to participate on the earlier recorded oral argument, briefs, appendices, and district court record.” … Continue Reading

Last week I blogged about the Fourth Circuit’s recent published opinions that, due to the pandemic-prompted suspension of Local Rule 36(a), did not have the usual oral argument.   The research for that post revealed that almost every conceivable “type” of opinion had been issued under Standing Order 20-1: civil opinions, criminal opinions, immigration opinions, opinions fully affirming the lower court, opinions fully reversing the lower court, opinions partially affirming and partially reversing, opinions with dissents, opinions with concurrences. … Continue Reading