Today, the Supreme Court of North Carolina gave some grace on appellate filings impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. The order issued by the Court does three things:
- Extends for 60 days all deadlines imposed by the Rules of Appellate Procedure that fall between March 27, 2020 and April 30, 2020 (inclusive of those dates).
- Encourages the electronic filing of all documents with the appellate courts. And all means all—even the printed record on appeal in the Court of Appeals.
- Returns secured leave credits to attorneys who had scheduled secured leave in the appellate courts for April and May.
Without a doubt, attorneys across the State will be grateful for this assistance. And let’s hope that the e-filing of records in the Court of Appeals becomes a permanent change!
Final warning: Most civil and criminal deadlines for filing a notices of appeal are set by the Appellate Rules—and therefore would be covered by the terms of this Supreme Court Order. But for direct administrative appeals to the appellate courts, the deadlines for filing notice of appeal deadlines are often set by statute, rather than Appellate Rule 18.
Our current assessment is that these statutory-established deadlines would not be extended by this Supreme Court order. For more info as to why, check out Elizabeth Brooks Scherer & Matthew Nis Leerberg, North Carolina Appellate Practice and Procedure §§ 28.09[d] (Failing to Comply with Statutory Requirements for Noticing an Appeal); 5.04[a] (Establishment of 30-Day Appeal Period by Appellate Rules and Statutory Exceptions).