Trigger warning:  this post may cause appellate lawyers to have nightmares.

There has been a spate of technical glitches on the user side lately that caused critical notices from the North Carolina Court of Appeals to end up in “quarantine” in counsel’s e-mail inboxes.  The emails are transmitted from the Court of Appeals to the attorney’s email domain, as normal. But because they are flagged by the recipient’s system as spam, they do not get into the attorney’s inbox. In at least two instances, counsel failed to receive notice of an upcoming oral argument.  In one of those cases, the oral argument went forward without counsel appearing at all for one side.

I’m relatively tech-savvy for someone born in the 70s, but I won’t try to guess what combination of unlucky bounces on the user’s end led to these disasters.  Our appellate courts have an excellent and dedicated IT team known for thinking outside the box and acting quickly. I know that they are brainstorming backup notification systems, even though the problem is on the user’s end.

Not to add to your overfull plate, fellow appellate lawyers, but I suggest you make a habit of manually checking the appellate courts’ calendars on a regular basis for now.  The North Carolina Court of Appeals posts their calendars here, and the North Carolina Supreme Court posts theirs here.

UPDATE: In record time, the courts’ IT team implemented a helpful backstop–the “Upcoming Oral Arguments” banner. Take a look.