As previously reported here, the Supreme Court of North Carolina at the end of March issued an order extending all appellate court deadlines falling between March 27 and April 30, 2020 for 60 days.

As a service to the bar, the Clerks of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals have posted answers to some of the most frequently asked questions they have received about the order.  You can find those FAQs here.

While we highly encourage everyone to read the full list of questions and answers, the most frequently asked question we received from our blog readers was this:

When a briefing or record deadline was previously extended by a court order and now falls within the March 27 to April 30 window, does that document still benefit from the automatic 60-day extension?

Clerks’ answer:  Yes.

The second most frequently asked question we received was this:

Are notice of appeal deadlines established by Appellate Rule 3 and 4 extended?

Clerks’ Answer: Yes.

As  previously warned, appellate deadlines established by a statute, rather than the appellate rules, are not extended by the Supreme Court’s March 27 order.  See Elizabeth Brooks Scherer & Matthew Nis Leerberg, North Carolina Appellate Practice and Procedure § 5.04[2][a] (Establishment of 30-Day Appeal Period by Appellate Rules and Statutory Exceptions).  Still, some statutory, deadlines relating to an appeal likely are extended by the Chief Justice’s emergency orders covering  filings and acts to be done in the trial courts (e.g., Rule 3.1 notice of appeal deadlines).

Which brings me to the third most frequently asked question from our blog readers:

Are you sure about the 60-day extension for Appellate Rule 3 and 4 deadlines?  I thought notice of appeal deadlines were jurisdictional deadlines that could not be extended by the courts. . . .

The clerks’ FAQs guidance does not answer this question specifically.  But further insight on this issue can be found in my way-back blog post from May 2018, When Is a Deadline or Other Requirement for Filing a Notice of Appeal Jurisdictional? (State Edition).

If you are interested in an even deeper dive, see section 28.02[3] of the treatise where Matt and I explore the distinctions between (1) true jurisdictional requirements, (2) constructive jurisdictional requirements, (3) formal notice requirements for invoking appellate jurisdiction, and (4) proof-of-jurisdiction requirements.

Finally, much thanks to both Amy and Dan for providing these helpful clarifications! And continued thanks to both appellate courts for thinking of creative ways to ease this pandemic’s burden on the bar.

-Beth Scherer

P.S.   Please do not visit the Clerk’s Office unless you have first called for assistance. Both Clerk’s offices are practicing social distancing.  The Clerks can handle most issues remotely.  No need to needlessly endanger courthouse members or their staff with a visit they could have been addressed by calling first.