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

Unlike in federal court, judges in North Carolina’s state courts often invite counsel for the prevailing party to draft a proposed order on the court’s ruling. Sometimes the judge will let the parties know of the judge’s rationale through a formal memorandum of ruling or an informal email. Does that document play any role in the appellate process?

Yes, according to the Court of Appeals.… 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

There is perhaps no truer aphorism of appellate jurisdiction than this: The substantial right doctrine is more easily stated than applied.  In light of the Court of Appeals’ opinion last Tuesday in Beasley v. Beasley, litigants should consider how (or even whether) the substantial right test interacts with other jurisdictional statutes authorizing interlocutory appellate review.

By way of background, N.C.Continue Reading

Those familiar with North Carolina appellate jurisprudence are well aware that what constitutes “a substantial right” for the purposes of conferring jurisdiction over an interlocutory order is an issue that is routinely addressed, oftentimes at length, in North Carolina appellate opinions.   So it was interesting to see the Supreme Court of North Carolina’s opinion in Krawiec v. Manly (released last Friday) in which the Court invoked substantial right jurisdiction over an interlocutory order from the North Carolina Business Court (under N.C.G.S.Continue Reading

On Tuesday, the North Carolina Court of Appeals issued its latest batch of opinions.  An opinion that caught my eye represents a trend in the Court of Appeals of collapsing the substantial right jurisdictional analysis into the merit-based analysis of the underlying issue being argued on appeal. Merits-jurisdiction intermingling is an issue that my colleague, Pat Kane, previously raised in two blog posts from 2012.… Continue Reading

It’s a fairly common maneuver by plaintiffs’ attorneys: the trial court dismisses claims against some, but not all, defendants in a multi-defendant lawsuit, so the plaintiff voluntarily dismisses the remaining defendants in order to pursue an immediate appeal of the dismissal order.  The reason for this procedural wrangling is that while the lawsuit against the non-dismissed defendants is still pending, the dismissal order is interlocutory and, absent Rule 54(b) certification or an affected substantial right, that order is not immediately appealable. … Continue Reading

The Supreme Court stated in Dogwood v. White Oak, 362 N.C. 191, 657 S.E.2d 361 (2008), that noncompliance with nonjurisdictional rules normally should not lead to the dismissal of an appeal.  The Dogwood Court also stated that the requirements of Appellate Rule 28(b), which govern the content of an appellant’s brief, are generally nonjurisdictional.  Nonetheless, in Edwards v. Foley the Court of Appeals held that the appellants’ failure to include in their principal brief a complete statement of appellate jurisdiction (as required by Appellate Rule 28(b)(4)) was a jurisdictional violation that required dismissal of the appeal—at least for interlocutory appeals.… Continue Reading

Generally speaking, an appeal stops all proceedings at the trial court level until the appeal concludes. However, as we have previously blogged (here, here, here, and here), there are limited circumstances where a trial court may move forward with a case during the pendency of an appeal.  In Plasman v. Decca Furniture (USA), Inc.,… Continue Reading

Tuesday’s batch of opinions from the Court of Appeals contained a smorgasbord of jurisdictional issues pertaining to interlocutory appeals. In no particular order:

Department of Transportation v. Riddle

This condemnation proceeding involved a partial taking by the North Carolina Department of Transportation (“DOT”). The Riddles owned a parcel of land that they had subdivided into seven separate lots. The DOT originally commenced the action by filing a complaint and declaration of taking for portions of Lot 2 and Lot 7. … Continue Reading