The North Carolina Court of Appeals has long required a showing of good cause before granting a motion that requests additional time in which to file an appellate brief.  This is a higher standard than, say, the standard applied by our trial courts to motions seeking additional time to respond to discovery requests.

It appears that the bar in the Court of Appeals has been raised again.  I’ve now seen three Orders in the past month “allowing in part” a motion for extension of time filed by appellate counsel, even when such motions were filed with the consent of opposing counsel.  In each instance, the underlying motion identified a reasonable–if modest–basis for the request, such as the pendency of one or two other overlapping appellate matters.  In each Order, the Court of Appeals allowed only a twenty-one (21) day extension, in lieu of the requested thirty (30) days.

I do not view this trend as representing a categorical shift from 30-day extensions to 21-day extensions.  I know, for example, that the Court will still grant a 30-day extension on the proper showing, as I received such an order in one of my appeals recently.  I am eager to know if this was an anomaly, however.  How has the Court ruled on similar motions in your appeals of late?  Could this be a seasonal change relating to the Court’s schedule for the end of the 2014-2015 term?

In any event, the bottom line is clear:  if you must seek an extension of time from the Court of Appeals, provide a fulsome explanation of your reasons and plan ahead for the possibility that the motion may only be granted in part.

–Matt Leerberg