North Carolina Court of Appeals

The new year will bring many changes to our state appellate courts.  Another big change was announced yesterday.  With Court of Appeals Chief Judge Linda McGee retiring after over 25 years of service, Chief Justice Cheri Beasley has appointed Judge Donna Stroud as the new chief of our intermediate appellate court, effective January 1, 2021.

Judge Stroud has served on the Court of Appeals since 2007—a tenure of 14 years. … 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

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

It continues to amaze me how difficult it is for the public to access basic information about the upcoming elections for open seats on the Supreme Court of North Carolina and the Court of Appeals.  While stories with political angles find their way into the press, the fundamentals—which seats are open, why those seats are open, who is running, why voters should care—get little coverage. … Continue Reading

paper people chain and gavelMichelle Connell is one of the few lawyers in North Carolina who is Board-certified in both family law and appellate practice.  And as of last week, she’s now part of our appellate team!

I’ve always been amazed at just how many family-law appeals are heard by our Court of Appeals.  Pull the latest annual statistical report, and you’ll see:  about 20% of that court’s civil docket consists of domestic cases—divorce, equitable distribution, child custody, child support, alimony, and so on. … Continue Reading

Beth and Matt’s treatise, North Carolina Appellate Practice and Procedure, is finally available!  Published by LexisNexis in both print and online versions, the treatise represents the culmination of several years, and many thousands of hours, of hard work.

The treatise grew out of the same circumstances that spurred us to create this blog in 2011.  The practice of law in North Carolina’s appellate courts can be procedurally tricky. … Continue Reading

On Friday, the Supreme Court displayed how busy it has been this summer by releasing 17 authored opinions.  Justice Per Curiam (who is fond of affirming/reversing “for the reasons stated in the Court of Appeals” majority/dissent) was conspicuously absent.  Justice Earls and Justice Newby vied for the title of “Most Prolific Dissenter.”  And the Court released its first three opinions directly reviewing trial tribunal orders terminating parental rights—and for those wondering, all three opinions were decided by the Supreme Court by published opinion, but without oral argument.… Continue Reading

Students of history will remember a bygone era known as late 2018, when Mark Martin was Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, the median judge on the shrinking Court of Appeals was elected in 2012, and your parents had purchased enough CDs to elevate the quaint twangs of Bebe Rexha & Florida Georgia Line to the top of the country music charts.… Continue Reading

Suppose an appellate judge casts the deciding vote in a case, creating a majority in support of the lead opinion.  Before the opinion is released, however, the judge retires or dies.  Does his or her vote still count?

In federal court, no.  In a North Carolina appellate court, yes.

In Yovino v. Rizo, issued today, the United States Supreme Court considered this question for the first time. … Continue Reading

After two years of uncertainty about the future of the Court of Appeals, there appears to have been a breakthrough.  Yesterday, a bill was introduced by Republicans in the North Carolina Senate that would preserve the size of the Court of Appeals at 15 members.  If the bill becomes law–and I expect it will–the drama surrounding the court shrinkage may end as abruptly as it began.… Continue Reading