Trial court judgments in bench trials must contain findings of fact and conclusions of law. Orders disposing of motions, on the other hand, normally only need findings and conclusions if a party requests that the trial court make them. There are some situations, however, where a trial court should not make findings of fact in an order, even if a party requests them. This is because of the trial court’s particular role in those specific proceedings and the possibility for meaningful appellate review of the trial court’s orders without the inclusion of findings and conclusions. This post explores this exception-to-an-exception regarding findings and conclusions for certain dispositive motions.Continue Reading
The New Clerks’ Manual Website is Here!
I’m excited to announce the launch of two major things today.
First, the new North Carolina Clerk of Superior Court Manual Series website is now available at www.sog.unc.edu/clerksmanual.
We took the old clerks’ manual and gave it a complete make-over in response to feedback we received from clerks of superior court. It is no longer a printable PDF volume but now is an online manual series, featuring the following eight manuals organized by subject matter:Continue Reading
Update: Specific Personal Jurisdiction at the U.S. Supreme Court and the N.C. Court of Appeals
Personal jurisdiction, as the name implies, refers to the authority of a court over a particular person. In order for a court to have authority over someone in a civil case, three things must exist: (1) effective service of process, (2) a statute allowing the exercise of personal jurisdiction in the case (G.S. 1-75.4, North Carolina’s long-arm statute, is the relevant statute in our state), and (3) compliance with the due process clause of the federal constitution. Continue Reading
Only One Bite at the Apple – and Small Claims Court Counts!
The NC Court of Appeals recently answered a question I’ve long wondered about in Brown v. Patel, 2021-NCCOA-342 (20 July 2021). Although this lawsuit started out as a bedbug case – which is definitely on my list of interesting topics! – it ended up being about what happens when a magistrate doesn’t make a decision. Read on for the riveting details!Continue Reading
Welcome, Emily Turner!
The School of Government and the North Carolina Judicial College are excited to announce the addition of Emily Turner to the faculty. Emily joined the School in July 2021 and will be the lead faculty member working with district court judges, superior court judges, clerks of court, and magistrates on legal and practical aspects of conducting civil trials and contested hearings with a particular focus on the North Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure.Continue Reading
Intervention in Custody and Child Support Cases
It is not uncommon for third parties to assert rights or claims against parents litigating child custody and child support. For example, grandparents frequently want the court to grant them visitation rights as part of a custody order resolving a dispute between the child’s mother and father. Similarly, the IV-D child support enforcement agency or a non-parent who has been caring for a child often need to assert rights or claims in child support cases pending between the child’s parents.
Before these people can assert claims or rights in an existing case, they must become parties to the case through the process of intervention.
File Under ‘Boring But Important’: Counting Time in Small Claims Court
Small claims magistrates know that the small claims statutes are filled with rules about time limits. For example, small claims cases must be calendared for trial within 30 days of the complaint being filed, but summary ejectment actions must be calendared within seven (excluding weekends and holidays). A defendant must be served no later than five days before trial in all small claims actions other than summary ejectment, which requires only a two-day notice. The list goes on. Magistrates often ask about how to calculate these various time periods and the purpose of this post is to provide information about that often confusing task.