A lot of mistakes can be fixed, but those depriving an appellate court of jurisdiction are not usually among them.  Unless the appellate court deems the appeal to raise issues of great importance and to present a compelling case for reversal, jurisdictional errors are usually fatal.

Those exceptions are rare.  But this week, a panel of the North Carolina Court of Appeals found Doe v.Continue Reading

In Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986), the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment prevents prosecutors in criminal cases from exercising peremptory challenges to excuse prospective jurors solely on account of their race.  As illustrated by State v. Campbell COA18-998-2, filed 21 July 2020, application of that 1986 decision is not easy.… Continue Reading

Can a party “manufacture” appellate jurisdiction for an otherwise interlocutory appeal through the voluntary dismissal of remaining claims?  That question was generally answered in the negative by the Supreme Court in 2017 in Microsoft Corp. v. Baker, 137 S. Ct. 1702 (2017).  There, the Court held that  plaintiffs could not subvert the final-judgment requirement for appellate jurisdiction from 28 U.S.C.… Continue Reading

It doesn’t take long for those who read judicial opinions to come across an unsigned, “per curiam” decision. Many decisions from the U.S. Supreme Court, federal circuit courts, and our state Supreme Court are short-ish opinions that are not ascribed to a single judge or justice. There is a long history of using such opinions “by the court.”

The most recent batch of opinions from the Court of Appeals included 5 unpublished per curiam opinions.… Continue Reading

The Petition Tracker has been updated with the Supreme Court’s most recent allowed petitions for discretionary review. Although there were some special orders, the Court only allowed two petitions outright. One arose from the Industrial Commission, and the other involves the Raleigh Housing Authority.

The Petition Tracker has also been updated to include the Court’s merits decisions on petitions that were granted.… Continue Reading

Introduction

Arbitration can be less costly and more efficient than litigation. For this reason, businesses often prefer to arbitrate their disputes, and include arbitration provisions in their contracts. North Carolina courts generally enforce these provisions, citing the state’s “strong public policy favoring the settlement of disputes by arbitration.” Johnston Cnty. v. R.N. Rouse & Co., 331 N.C. 88, 91 (1992).… Continue Reading

The future is now, and the NCBA Appellate Practice Section wants to help you be ready.  With the state’s appellate courts, and other courts around the country, going to remote videoconference hearings because of the Coronavirus pandemic, a special program has been put together for May 27.  It is described as follows:

Appellate Practice Section Panel
Preparing for WebEx Oral Arguments in NC Appellate Courts

You are invited to join the Appellate Practice Section for a Zoom panel to learn about preparing for and presenting remote video oral argument in our NC Appellate Courts via WebEx.

Continue Reading

Last year, I blogged about State v. Ellis where a passing motorist gave a Highway Patrol trooper the middle-finger salute and was arrested for his trouble.  A divided Court of Appeals allowed the defendant’s conviction to stand.  The case made it to the Supreme Court, which recently issued an opinion reversing the conviction.

A quick recap of our story.  A trooper was assisting motorists when he noticed that the passenger in a car driving by had extended his hand out the window and was waving. … Continue Reading

On Tuesday, the Court of Appeals reversed a trial court’s dismissal of a plaintiff’s complaint seeking entry of a domestic violence protective order against her husband.  In Quackenbush v. Groat, the trial court dismissed the complaint despite twelve pages of attachments detailing alleged verbal abuse and sexual abuse of their minor child.  The reason appears to have been that the attachments submitted with the form were not specifically mentioned in the form. … Continue Reading

A recording of North Carolina’s first virtual oral argument is now available for viewing.   Because the video stream began before the actual arguments commenced, insight is available into how the Court of Appeals and the advocates worked through some technical kinks in the process.  (A round of applause to IT Superhero Fred Wood, who appeared to be getting quite a workout running between offices). … Continue Reading