This week, the Court of Appeals reiterated the bounds of Rule 54(b) certification, highlighting that the language of the rule—which allows a party to immediately appeal from “a final judgment as to one or more but fewer than all of the claims or parties”—is only applicable when a judgment is, in fact, final.

In Lennar Carolinas, LLC v. County of Union, the Court of Appeals was asked to review the denial of a summary judgment motion by the County.… Continue Reading

On Wednesday, the General Assembly overrode the Governor’s veto of House Bill 239.  Against opposition from the bench and the bar, the legislature pushed the court-shrinking bill through on a mostly partyline vote.  The override votes came on the heels of a remarkable move by retiring Judge Douglas McCullough–a registered Republican–who reportedly retired a month early to avoid having his seat eliminated by the bill.… Continue Reading

There are some things you can do only in North Carolina.  Like cook on the world’s largest frying pan.

But there are some things you can do everywhere but North Carolina.  Like certify a question of state law to the state’s highest court.  North Carolina is the only state in the Union that does not accept certified questions from the federal courts.… Continue Reading

A Petition for Writ of Certiorari continues to be the most powerful tool in the Supreme Court’s arsenal.  Last Friday, the North Carolina Supreme Court used its certiorari authority to revive an appeal involving the State Bar and a sitting superior court judge.  The Court did so six months after the appeal was dismissed by the Court of Appeals, and four months after it had declined to issue a PDR.… Continue Reading

No tattling allowed if someone buys scalped tickets to attend this event. For the first time since the Civil War era, the Supreme Court of North Carolina is preparing a westward trek to Morganton, North Carolina for two oral argument sessions. The ticket-only event will occur on Tuesday, May 17, and Wednesday, May 18 in the Old Burke County Courthouse.

Cases being heard include a challenge by the Cleveland County Schools System to the funding of charter schools and a constitutional challenge to a statute changing control of Asheville’s water system from the city to the metropolitan sewer district.… Continue Reading

In October 2015, I blogged about In re Pike, a single Business Court order that resolved four consolidated actions.  Because the actions were designated on different dates, the right to appellate review of this single order was split between the North Carolina Supreme Court and the North Carolina Court of Appeals.  At the time, I suggested that a bypass petition was likely the best way to resolve this “perfect storm.”… Continue Reading

We have blogged several times on the fact that North Carolina is one of only two states that does not allow a federal court to certify questions to its state courts for guidance on issues of state law.  Recently, a Fourth Circuit concurrence by Judge Thacker contained another public plea for North Carolina to adopt a certification mechanism–quickly. In Stahle v.Continue Reading

Holidays, snowstorms, vacations, workloads—mixed in with the winter blahs—have resulted in us getting a little behind on our blogging duties. The appellate courts, however, have not suffered from the same maladies, issuing several important appellate-practice-and-procedure decisions of late.  This special “Catch-Up” post hopefully gets us back on track for the New Year.


Rule 54(b) Certification and Peacock Farms. The question presented in Peacock Farms was whether a Rule 54 certification statement (i.eContinue Reading

Yesterday’s batch of opinions contained an unusual nugget: an entire opinion devoted to arguably the most powerful of all appellate tools, the writ of certiorari. In State v. Biddix,  the Court of Appeals denied a petition for writ of certiorari by concluding that the court was prohibited from invoking certiorari to address an issue on appeal, rather than simply exercising its discretion to deny the petition. … Continue Reading

With support from the federal bench, the state bench, and the bar, certification may finally be within reach.

Every state in the country except North Carolina has a process by which the corresponding United States Court of Appeals can certify a question of state law to the state’s highest court for consideration.  The lack of a certification procedure has engendered much consternation and discussion over the years. … Continue Reading