Our state appellate courts have long held that a timely notice of appeal is a jurisdictional requirement. See, e.g., State v. Patterson. (For an interesting discussion on this topic, see section 28.02[3] in Beth and Matt’s treatise.)

Federal courts, on the other hand, have taken a different approach. For example, the Supreme Court in 2017 clarified that unless prescribed by statute, a rule-based timeline for filing a notice of appeal is “not jurisdictional” but is instead a “mandatory claim-processing rule.”… Continue Reading

Almost two years ago, I blogged about a relatively rare phenomenon: a published denial of a petition for rehearing.  Back then, two recent Fourth Circuit cases had produced petitions for rehearing and then subsequent denials of those petitions. But while decisions denying rehearing are typically just one-sentence orders, with nothing more by way of explanation, those two cases had prompted judges to write separately to express their views on the issues at the core of the petitions.… Continue Reading

Last week I blogged about an en banc opinion from the Fourth Circuit for which authorship of the majority opinion was attributed to two judges.  (See here) This week from the Fourth Circuit came another two judge oddity-a panel opinion in which the panel consisted of only two judges.

28 U.S.C.  § 46 governs the makeup of Circuit Court panels, and directs in subsection b that each circuit “may authorize the hearing and determination of cases and controversies by separate panels, each consisting of three judges…unless such judges cannot sit because recused or disqualified, or unless the chief judge of that court certifies that there is an emergency including, but not limited to, the unavailability of a judge of the court because of illness.”… Continue Reading

Is there institutional disharmony in the Fourth Circuit? That’s the question that one judge suggested, in a concurring opinion, that lawyers and judges might be asking after an en banc opinion released on Tuesday.  In response, the judge whose dissenting opinion prompted the question submitted that the apparent tension we are witnessing within the Court is simply a “vigorous exchange of views over basic and fundamental principles of law,” and that such a “robust” exchange enhances “mutual respect and collegiality.”… Continue Reading

A while back I wrote about the collateral order doctrine as discussed by the Fourth Circuit in Williams v. Strickland. (See prior blog post here).  Williams involved an alleged excessive force claim against a law enforcement officer and an interlocutory appeal from the denial of the officer’s motion for summary judgment on the ground of qualified immunity.  The Court held that the officer was not entitled to qualified immunity (at least at that point in the case) because the established law is that the use of deadly force by an officer may be justified at one point in an encounter with a suspect, but unjustified a moment later in the same encounter. … Continue Reading

The federal corollary to the oft-blogged about “substantial right doctrine” in the North Carolina appellate courts is the “collateral order doctrine.”  As is the case under North Carolina law, the jurisdiction of the United States Circuit Courts of Appeals is generally limited to final decisions of the district court.  Therefore,  a federal appellate court ordinarily cannot review interlocutory orders.  But, as in North Carolina, there are exceptions. Continue Reading

In an opinion highlighting an interesting federal appellate jurisdictional issue, the Fourth Circuit on Monday vacated a “gag order” that had been entered by the district court.  That gag order, however, had already been vacated by the district court itself.  This raised the possibility that the Fourth Circuit was without jurisdiction to address the gag order, which had been challenged in the appellate court through a petition for a writ of mandamus. … Continue Reading

Note: much of the information below comes from The American Lawyer’s October 23 “Daily Dicta,” by Jenna Greene.

He started as a pro se plaintiff alleging First Amendment (and other) violations by a number of federal judges, an FBI agent, and a US Marshal.  Now William Bond has been represented by some of the heaviest of legal heavyweights as his case makes its way up towards the highest court in the land. … Continue Reading

Appellate practitioners are familiar with the concept of moving to have the court publish an opinion that was initially issued as “unpublished.”  Much rarer is the reverse situation, where a party seeks to have an opinion that was published “demoted” to unpublished status.  And perhaps even rarer is to have that request for “unpublishing” made by a member of the Court. … Continue Reading

The EDNC Chapter of the Federal Bar Association will host a luncheon with Judge Allyson Duncan of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Raleigh on August 30. Judge Duncan, who just celebrated 15 years on that collegial court, is always an engaging speaker.  I hope to see you there.

Who:               You

Why:                To hear Judge Duncan reflect on her path to, and time on, the bench; practical aspects of federal appeals; and tips for brief writing and oral argument.… Continue Reading