North Carolina Supreme Court

Under Appellate Rule 10, the general rule is that appellate courts only decide issues properly raised, argued, and decided in the trial tribunal.  But exceptions to this general rule exist for issues considered so fundamental that they are automatically preserved for appellate review by rule, law, or case authority.  Based on this second principle, the Supreme Court of North Carolina recently upheld the constitutionality of N.C.Continue Reading

If there is no binding precedent on point, where does the Supreme Court of North Carolina look for guidance?  Which are more persuasive:  federal court opinions or North Carolina Court of Appeals opinions?  Does the answer to that question change when the issue is one of appellate procedure, such as the standard of review?

The Supreme Court grappled with these issues in State v.Continue Reading

Last month I blogged about a Fourth Circuit case that saw an eleventh-hour judge recusal.  The Supreme Court of North Carolina is now facing a similar issue, times five.

The case involves a class action challenging a law that required members of the North Carolina Teachers’ and State Employees’ Retirement System to pay a premium to obtain health insurance coverage. … Continue Reading

In case you missed the invitation, the Appellate Practice Section is hosting a virtual event at noon next Monday so that members of the bar can get to know the new justices on the Supreme Court and new judges on the Court of Appeals.  This event will be a great opportunity to hear directly from our esteemed jurists and learn about their backgrounds. … Continue Reading

The recent opinion of the North Carolina Court of Appeals in M.E. v. T.J., No. COA18-1045 has more twists than a Chubby Checker look-alike contest. The opinion is long and the facts and procedure are somewhat convoluted, but here’s a bare-bones synopsis.

Plaintiff and defendant, both women, were dating. When plaintiff decided to end the relationship, defendant allegedly became abusive.… Continue Reading

At a largely virtual investiture ceremony broadcast this morning on the Supreme Court’s Youtube page, The Honorable Paul Martin Newby took the oath of office to become our highest court’s 30th Chief Justice.  Newly minted Justices Phil Berger, Jr. and Tamara Barringer were also sworn in as the two junior-most associate justices on the Court.

As Beth noted last week, it is common for incoming jurists to take the oath on January 1, but then participate in a more formal investiture ceremony several days later.… Continue Reading

At the stroke of midnight, North Carolina’s judiciary entered a new era, with many appellate justices and judges taking the oath office from their homes.  This age-old changing of the guard included Chief Justice Paul Newby being sworn in as the 30th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of North Carolina.  While COVID has thrown wrinkles into many of the Court’s traditions, the significance of this undertaking is illustrated by this photo of Chief Justice Newby signing his oath of office. … Continue Reading

Over the weekend, the last undecided race for North Carolina’s appellate courts was resolved when Chief Justice Cheri Beasley conceded the race to Senior Associate—and Chief Justice-Elect—Paul Newby.   The race was extraordinarily close, with Chief Justice-Elect Newby ultimately prevailing by a margin of 50.0037% to 49.9963%.

After two rounds of recounts, and with various protests still pending, Chief Justice Beasley and Chief Justice-Elect Newby announced the amicable resolution on social media. … Continue Reading

Precisely 364 days ago, Kip previewed  the coming of universal citations.   Twenty-eight days remain until universal citations assume a starring role in judicial opinions and briefs.   And to help practitioners model their own trendsetting citations, the Supreme Court of North Carolina has released a Universal Citation factsheet.

Key features include (1) no longer needing the regional reporter reference when citing to North Carolina opinions filed on or after January 1, 2021, (2) replacing parallel pinpoint citations with the opinion’s paragraph number, and (3) omitting the citation’s year parenthetical (the opinion’s year is now embedded in the universal citation). … Continue Reading

Those who have known me for any length of time know that for more than a decade I have really, really wanted the Supreme Court to give appellate practitioners clarification on how various transcript-related issues should work in practice.  Today, the Supreme Court of North Carolina granted that wish by amending the North Carolina Rules of Appellate Procedure.

For cases appealed on or after January 1, 2021, Appellate Rule 7 has been completely rewritten.   … Continue Reading