On Tuesday, October 24, 2017, Chief Justice Mark Martin issued the following statement about Senate Bill 698, which seeks to amend the North Carolina Constitution to provide for two-year terms for all judges and justices in North Carolina:

Statement of Chief Justice Mark Martin on Senate Bill 698

Nowhere in America do voters elect their general jurisdiction judges for two-year terms of office.

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On June 9, 2017, the Supreme Court of North Carolina issued a unanimous opinion holding that when an employer admits the compensability of an injury under the Worker’s Compensation Act, the injured worker is thereafter entitled to a presumption that future medical treatments are causally related to the original compensable injury. Before the ink could dry on Wilkes v. City of Greenville, a “broad coalition of private and public organizations” convinced the General Assembly to essentially nullify the impact of the Supreme Court’s decision.… Continue Reading

As previously blogged about here, here, here, and here, the North Carolina General Assembly recently passed a bill that would reduce the number of seats on the North Carolina Court of Appeals from 15 to 12.  Now the constitutionality of the bill is being challenged in court by North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, who had vetoed the bill but then saw that veto overridden by the General Assembly. … 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

On September 15 of this year, we blogged about how the Business Court Modernization Act’s amendment to N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7A-27 appeared to create concurrent jurisdiction in the Supreme Court of North Carolina and the Court of Appeals for certain Business Court appeals.  Two weeks later, the General Assembly quietly passed a 41-page, technical corrections bill  that included several changes to section 7A-27.  … Continue Reading

In June, we blogged on how a United States Supreme Court decision interpreting a North Carolina statute of repose had created some strange bedfellows in the General Assembly–which had almost immediately rushed to “clarify” North Carolina’s statute of repose.  The General Assembly’s “clarification” efforts were directed toward saving lawsuits pending in the Eleventh Circuit that had been brought by U.S. Marines and their families who had been exposed to toxic groundwater at Camp Lejeune.… Continue Reading

It was a pleasant surprise this morning to discover that the Maryland State Bar Association’s Maryland Appellate Blog was discussing a point of North Carolina appellate practice and procedure.

The impetus of the discussion was the United States Supreme Court’s recent decision in CTS Corp. v. Waldburger, where the Court was called on to decide whether the express preemption of state statutes of limitations set forth in the federal superfund environmental clean-up law known as CERCLA also applies to state statutes of repose. … Continue Reading

Friday I blogged about a proposal to expand the Supreme Court’s mandatory appellate jurisdiction in Business Court cases.  The General Assembly is apparently seeking more changes for our state judiciary–including expanding the mandatory docket of the Supreme Court in another area of the law.

A proposed amendment by the Senate to N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7A-27 (2013 Senate Bill 744, Section 18B.16(e)) would provide direct appeal to the North Carolina Supreme Court of both final and interlocutory orders that declare an act of the General Assembly unconstitutional.… Continue Reading

Mack Sperling reports this morning in his Business Litigation Report that the General Assembly is toying with “modernizing” the North Carolina Business Court.  Several significant changes are being proposed, but of particular interest to our readers is a proposal that could dramatically expand the docket of the Supreme Court.  If this portion of the bill is adopted, appeals from all final judgments issued by the Business Court in mandatory complex business cases would bypass the Court of Appeals and proceed directly to the North Carolina Supreme Court.Continue Reading