In Dicesare v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Hospital Authority, 2021 NCBC Order 10 (Apr. 6, 2021), the North Carolina Business Court determined that a trial court loses jurisdiction to rule on a pending Civil Rule 60(b)(6) motion once notice of appeal of the underlying judgment is given.  In issuing its ruling, Judge Robinson rejected the plaintiffs-appellants’ assertion that “a notice of appeal does not divest the trial court of jurisdiction to hear a motion pursuant to Rule 60(b) filed before or at the same time as the notice” of appeal.

The Business Court determined that the Supreme Court’s decision in Wiggins v. Bunch, 280 N.C. 106 (1971), was controlling.  In doing so, the Business Court limited the holdings of two Court of Appeals decisions cited by the plaintiffs. York v. Taylor, 79 N.C. App. 653 (1986) (“It would be incongruous for [the Court] to say that the trial court had jurisdiction to rule on a Rule 52(b) motion but was divested of jurisdiction to hear a Rule 60(b) motion filed at the same time.”); see also Town of Leland v. HWW, LLC, No. COA08-987, 2010 WL 1528825 (N.C. Ct. App. Apr. 6, 2010) (unpublished) (“[T]he trial court is not divested of jurisdiction to entertain and may fully rule on a Rule 60(b) motion that is filed prior to or contemporaneously with the notice of appeal.”).

Disclosure: As our firm has provided representation in connection to this case, I am not engaging in any substantive analysis of the decision at this time.  For those interested in exploring this issue further, the detailed 13-page opinion is linked above.

–Beth Scherer

H/T to Alex Dale, Matt Sawchak, and Matt Krueger-Andes for bringing this decision to our attention.