Last Friday was a blockbuster appellate day for the Supreme Court of North Carolina. Not only did it effectively declare an appellate jurisdiction statute unconstitutional (see Matt’s blog post), but Justice Newby authored a concurring opinion inspired by “It’s a Wonderful Life.”  (“Was Old Man Potter simply morally corrupt or was he also guilty of a crime?”).

For North Carolina’s appellate defenders, however, Friday was not a wonderful day.… Continue Reading

Savvy appellate practitioners know that the appeal process should start long before a party files a notice of appeal. One of the early considerations should be the order or judgment that is entered by the trial court.  In some situations (such as many orders granting motions to dismiss), it is to the winning party’s advantage to encourage the trial court to craft the order to be as “vanilla” as possible, so as not to create extra fodder for the losing party to challenge on appeal. … Continue Reading

Sometimes an appellant merely seeks reversal of a trial court’s decision. However, appellants should also remember that an appellate court will, on occasion, reverse a lower court and decide the case on its merits. The Supreme Court of North Carolina released an opinion last week that highlights the importance of this possibility.

IMT, Inc. v. City of Lumberton was a consolidation of four cases that all challenged the constitutionality of a change in Lumberton’s privilege license tax.… Continue Reading