Supreme Court Opinions


Filed: 1 May 2020
Mandate: 21 May 2020
Zip File of Published Opinions
Headnote Index: 1 May 2020

Case Title / Description
State v. Ellis, (340A19 - Published) Author: Justice Robin Hudson (View COA Opinion)
Whether there was reasonable suspicion that defendant was engaged in disorderly conduct to justify a stop when defendant 'flipped the bird' from the passenger seat of a moving vehicle.
In re A.G.D., (258A19 - Published) Author: Justice Sam Ervin IV
Termination of parental rights pursuant to N.C.G.S. 7B-1111(a)(7); Compliance with court order requiring parent to have no contact with children, without more, does not preclude a finding of willful abandonment.
DTH Media Corp. v. Folt, (142PA18 - Published) Author: Justice Michael Morgan (View COA Opinion)
Appeal from order and final judgment holding that information obtained as a result of a public records request for information on students found responsible for serious sexual misconduct was considered educational records as defined by FERPA and therefore protected from disclosure; whether the trial court erred in determining that FERPA granted UNC-CH discretion to release the name of any student found responsible by the university for serious sexual misconduct and preempts the Public Records Act.
State v. Mylett, (6A19 - Published) Author: Justice Anita Earls (View COA Opinion)
Appeal from conviction for conspiracy to commit harassment of a juror in violation of N.C.G.S. 14-225.2(a)(2). Whether the trial court erred in concluding that there was sufficient evidence of an agreement among two or more persons to threaten or intimidate a juror.
State v. Hobbs, (263PA18 - Published) Author: Justice Anita Earls (View COA Opinion)
Appeal from convictions for first-degree murder, armed robbery, attempted armed robbery, and conspiracy to commit armed robbery; whether the Court of Appeals erred in holding that defendant failed to establish a prima facie case that the State was motivated by race in its use of peremptory challenges during jury selection.
Winston Affordable Housing, LLC v. Roberts, (267PA19 - Published) Author: Justice Anita Earls (View COA Opinion)
Appeal from judgment of eviction; whether the landlord waived breach of lease by accepting rent payments after notice of lease nonrenewal; whether tenant was properly evicted for nonpayment of rent.
Chappell v. N.C. Dep't of Transp., (51PA19 - Published) Author: Justice Anita Earls
In an inverse condemnation proceeding for a Map Act taking, did the trial court's jury instructions and evidentiary rulings erroneously characterize the nature of the taking in a way that prejudiced the Department of Transportation, was the trial court's decision to reject a quick take counterclaim on the eve of trial an abuse of discretion, and did the trial court properly take account of property taxes and correctly calculate pre-judgment interest.
State v. Bailey, (360A19 - Published) Author: Justice Mark Davis (View COA Opinion)
Appeal from a decision of the Court of Appeals holding that the issuance of a warrant to search the residence of suspected drug dealers was supported by probable cause.

IN ADDITION TO THE ABOVE LISTED OPINIONS, THE COURT CONSIDERED 134 OTHER MATTERS. THE OTHER MATTERS MAY INCLUDE, BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO, NOTICES OF APPEALS BASED UPON CONSTITUTIONAL QUESTIONS, PETITIONS FOR DISCRETIONARY REVIEW, PETITIONS FOR WRIT OF CERTIORARI IN DEATH CASES, DEATH STAYS, PETITIONS FOR WRITS OF CERTIORARI IN OTHER CRIMINAL AND CIVIL CASES, PETITIONS FOR WRITS OF SUPERSEDEAS, MOTIONS FOR TEMPORARY STAYS, PETITIONS FOR WRITS OF MANDAMUS, PETITIONS FOR WRITS OF HABEAS CORPUS, PETITIONS FOR WRIT OF MANDAMUS, MOTIONS FOR APPROPRIATE RELIEF, AND DIRECT APPEALS FROM DECISIONS OF THE JUDICIAL STANDARDS COMMISSION AND THE UTILITIES COMMISSION. THE COURT ALSO CONSIDERS MOTIONS FOR EXTENSIONS OF TIME AND MOTIONS TO AMEND ON A DAILY BASIS. SUCH "ROUTINE" MOTIONS ARE NOT INCLUDED IN THE PETITION LIST PUBLISHED BY THE COURT EACH MONTH.

Filed: 3 April 2020
Mandate: 23 April 2020
Zip File of Published Opinions
Headnote Index: 3 April 2020

Case Title / Description
State v. Copley, (195A19 - Published) Author: Justice Robin Hudson (View COA Opinion)
Whether the trial court abused its discretion when it overruled defendant's objections during the prosecutor's closing argument.
State v. Golder, (79PA18 - Published) Author: Justice Robin Hudson (View COA Opinion)
Whether (1) defendant's challenges to the sufficiency of the State's evidence were preserved; (2) the State presented sufficient evidence that defendant aided and abetted; and (3) the State presented sufficient evidence that defendant obtained a 'thing of value' as defined under N.C.G.S. 14-100.
Town of Pinebluff v. Moore Cty., (398PA18 - Published) Author: Justice Robin Hudson (View COA Opinion)
Whether there is an irreconcilable conflict between N.C.G.S. 160A-360(e) and N.C.G.S. 160A-360(f), as amended by Session Law 1999-35, that invalidates the applicability of subsection (e).
In re Z.A.M., (212A19 - Published) Author: Justice Paul Newby
Appeal from an order terminating parental rights under N.C.G.S. 7B-1111(a)(1) and (2); whether the trial court issued sufficient findings of fact regarding progress leading up to the termination hearing to support its ultimate findings of fact and conclusions of law that grounds existed to terminate parental rights; whether the trial court abused its discretion in terminating parental rights.
In re B.C.B., (273A19 - Published) Author: Justice Paul Newby
Appeal from an order terminating respondent's parental rights under N.C.G.S. 7B-1111(a)(7); willful abandonment.
In re K.N.K., (231A19 - Published) Author: Justice Paul Newby
Termination of parental rights; whether the trial court erred by concluding respondent willfully abandoned his child where respondent attended visitations with the child after the petition was filed; whether the trial court abused its discretion in determining the child's best interest.
Banyan GW, LLC v. Wayne Preparatory Acad. Charter Sch., Inc., (188A18-2 - Published) Author: Per Curiam (View COA Opinion)
Whether a contract's liquidated damages provision created a genuine issue of material fact, thereby precluding summary judgment for plaintiff and whether the contract with plaintiff was in violation of defendant's charter and the statutes governing its operation and is therefore null and void.
R.R. Friction Prods. Corp. v. N.C. Dep't of Revenue, (278A19 - Published) Author: Per Curiam
Whether the Business Court erred in denying the tax refund claim as procedurally defective because the taxpayer changed the basis of its refund.
Cabarrus Cty. Bd. of Educ. v. Bd. of Trs. Teachers' and State Emps.' Ret. Sys., (371PA18 - Published) Author: Per Curiam (View COA Opinion)
Whether the General Assembly intended to exempt by implication the Teachers' and State Employees' Retirement System's Board of Trustees from rulemaking requirements under the Administrative Procedure Act, N.C.G.S. 150B, in adopting a Contribution-Based Benefit Cap pursuant to N.C.G.S. 135- 5(a3).
In re S.D., (150A19 - Published) Author: Justice Sam Ervin IV
Appeal from an order terminating parental rights pursuant to N.C.G.S. 7B-1111(a)(1) and (2); whether the trial court's adjudicatory findings of fact were supported by clear, cogent and convincing evidence; and whether those findings were sufficient to support the trial court's conclusion of law that grounds existed to terminate respondent's parental rights on the basis of neglect based upon a prior adjudication of neglect and a likelihood of repetition of neglect.
New Hanover Cty. Bd. of Educ. v. Stein, (339A18 - Published) Author: Justice Sam Ervin IV (View COA Opinion)
Whether payments made pursuant to an agreement between the Attorney General's Office and major hog producers constitute 'penalties' subject to article IX, section 7 of the North Carolina Constitution.
Cabarrus Cty. Bd. of Educ. v. Dep't of State Treasurer, (369PA18 - Published) Author: Justice Sam Ervin IV (View COA Opinion)
Whether the General Assembly intended to exempt by implication the Teachers' and State Employees' Retirement System's Board of Trustees from rulemaking requirements pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act, N.C.G.S. 150B, in adopting a Contribution-Based Benefit Cap pursuant to N.C.G.S. 135-5(a3).
PHG Asheville, LLC v. City of Asheville, (434PA18 - Published) Author: Justice Sam Ervin IV (View COA Opinion)
Conditional Use Permits; Whether the City of Asheville properly denied a developer's application for a conditional use permit to build a hotel in downtown Asheville; Whether a local government may independently assess an application for a conditional use permit and make findings of fact that support denying that permit when no one offers evidence in opposition to that permit or, alternatively, whether a developer is automatically entitled to the issuance of a conditional use permit when no one presents evidence in opposition to the permit.
In re N.P., (227A19 - Published) Author: Justice Michael Morgan
Appeal from an order terminating respondent's parental rights pursuant to N.C.G.S. 7B-1111(a)(1); neglect.
In re C.J.C., (259A19 - Published) Author: Justice Michael Morgan
Appointment of a guardian ad litem pursuant to N.C.G.S. 7B-1108; whether the trial court abused its discretion in determining the best interests of the child.
Preston v. Movahed, (124PA19 - Published) Author: Justice Anita Earls (View COA Opinion)
Medical malpractice 9(j) certification; medical expert willing to testify; facially valid 9(j) certificate
State v. Conley, (75PA19 - Published) Author: Justice Mark Davis (View COA Opinion)
Appeal from a decision of the Court of Appeals holding that defendant could only be convicted of a single count of possession of a firearm on educational property, despite his simultaneous possession of five firearms.

IN ADDITION TO THE ABOVE LISTED OPINIONS, THE COURT CONSIDERED 133 OTHER MATTERS. THE OTHER MATTERS MAY INCLUDE, BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO, NOTICES OF APPEALS BASED UPON CONSTITUTIONAL QUESTIONS, PETITIONS FOR DISCRETIONARY REVIEW, PETITIONS FOR WRIT OF CERTIORARI IN DEATH CASES, DEATH STAYS, PETITIONS FOR WRITS OF CERTIORARI IN OTHER CRIMINAL AND CIVIL CASES, PETITIONS FOR WRITS OF SUPERSEDEAS, MOTIONS FOR TEMPORARY STAYS, PETITIONS FOR WRITS OF MANDAMUS, PETITIONS FOR WRITS OF HABEAS CORPUS, PETITIONS FOR WRIT OF MANDAMUS, MOTIONS FOR APPROPRIATE RELIEF, AND DIRECT APPEALS FROM DECISIONS OF THE JUDICIAL STANDARDS COMMISSION AND THE UTILITIES COMMISSION. THE COURT ALSO CONSIDERS MOTIONS FOR EXTENSIONS OF TIME AND MOTIONS TO AMEND ON A DAILY BASIS. SUCH "ROUTINE" MOTIONS ARE NOT INCLUDED IN THE PETITION LIST PUBLISHED BY THE COURT EACH MONTH.

Filed: 28 February 2020
Mandate: 19 March 2020
Zip File of Published Opinions
Headnote Index: 28 February 2020

Case Title / Description
State v. Mercer, (257PA18 - Published) Author: Justice Robin Hudson (View COA Opinion)
Whether the trial court committed prejudicial error when it failed to instruct the jury on the defense of justification for the charge of felon in possession of a firearm.
State v. Alonzo, (288PA18 - Published) Author: Justice Robin Hudson (View COA Opinion)
Whether (1) the trial court erred by not defining 'sexual act' in the context of an offense under N.C.G.S. 14-318.4(a2)--setting out the crime for felony child abuse by sexual act--according to the definition set out in N.C.G.S. 14-27.1(4) (recodified as N.C.G.S. 14-27.20(4)); and (2) such error amounted to plain error.
In re S.E., (197A19 - Published) Author: Justice Robin Hudson
Subject matter jurisdiction under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act; termination of parental rights pursuant to N.C.G.S. 7B-1111(a)(3); lack of knowledge not a defense for willful failure to pay reasonable portion of the children's cost of care.
State v. Hoyle, (239A18 - Published) Author: Justice Paul Newby (View COA Opinion)
Whether the Court of Appeals erred by concluding that the element of the felony indecent exposure statute requiring that the exposure be 'in the presence of' another requires that the victim could have seen the exposure had he or she looked; whether the evidence was sufficient for a jury to find that defendant's exposure was 'in the presence of' the child.
State v. Seam, (82A14-2 - Published) Author: Per Curiam (View COA Opinion)
Whether the trial court's imposition of a sentence of life with the possibility of parole entered pursuant to N.C.G.S. 15A-1340.19B(a)(1) upon defendant's conviction of first-degree murder violated the Eighth Amendment of the United States or North Carolina constitutions.
Jones v. Jones, (78A19 - Published) Author: Per Curiam (View COA Opinion)
Action to enforce a separation agreement and property settlement; whether the Court of Appeals erred in upholding the trial court's order of specific performance requiring defendant to pay arrearages on and prospective alimony of $3,750.00 per month.
N.C. Dep't of Revenue v. Graybar Elec. Co., (153A19 - Published) Author: Per Curiam
Appeal from an order and opinion of the Business Court determining that dividend income from a wholly owned subsidiary is considered part of a company's 'income not taxable' for the purposes of calculating 'net economic loss' income tax deductions.
Vizant Techs., LLC v. YRC Worldwide, Inc., (160A19 - Published) Author: Per Curiam
Appeal from an order and opinion of the Business Court allowing in part defendant's cross motion for summary judgment; whether the Business Court erred in granting summary judgment for defendant on the issue of whether plaintiff could recover damages given the payment terms of a contract between the parties.
Cardiorentis AG v. Iqvia Ltd., (168A19 - Published) Author: Per Curiam
Appeal pursuant to N.C.G.S. 7A-27(a)(3) from an order and opinion on defendants' motion to stay all proceedings on forum non conveniens grounds; whether the Business Court erred by granting a stay in favor of defendants where plaintiff's claims under North Carolina and English law challenge the North Carolina-based conduct of the North Carolina-based officials most responsible for the failure of a global clinical drug; and whether the Business Court erred by staying the case without affording plaintiff limited jurisdictional discovery to clarify the contested ties between the claims asserted and the potential forums.
State v. Carver, (196A19 - Published) Author: Per Curiam (View COA Opinion)
Appeal from a decision of the Court of Appeals reversing the trial court's order denying defendant's motion to suppress evidence after determining that the officer lacked reasonable suspicion to stop defendant's vehicle based on an anonymous tip.
Cogdill v. Sylva Supply Co., Inc., (219A19 - Published) Author: Per Curiam (View COA Opinion)
Whether plaintiffs retained a right of first refusal contained in an original lease during a holdover year-to-year tenancy created by operation of law; whether the Court of Appeals erred by affirming the order granting summary judgment in favor of defendants.
Boles v. Town of Oak Island, (290A19 - Published) Author: Per Curiam (View COA Opinion)
Whether the General Assembly authorized Oak Island to impose sewer district fees on owners of undeveloped parcels of property.
In re Stone, (242A19 - Published) Author: Per Curiam
Review of recommendation for censure.
City of Charlotte v. Univ. Fin. Props., LLC, (183PA16-2 - Published) Author: Per Curiam (View COA Opinion)
Whether the Court of Appeals erred by concluding that the trial court did not have the authority to consider plaintiff's motions to amend its complaint to reduce its just compensation deposit after defendant attempted to voluntarily dismiss its claim for additional compensation.
Accardi v. Hartford Underwriters Ins. Co., (42A19 - Published) Author: Justice Cheri Beasley
Appeal from an order and opinion of the Business Court concluding that insurers can depreciate labor costs when calculating actual cash value.
In re D.W.P., (140A19 - Published) Author: Justice Cheri Beasley (View COA Opinion)
Termination of parental rights: whether the trial court's findings of fact were supported by clear and convincing evidence and supported its conclusions of law that respondent-mother's parental rights should be terminated pursuant to N.C.G.S. 7B-1111(a)(1).
SciGrip, Inc. v. Osae, (139A18 - Published) Author: Justice Sam Ervin IV
Whether the trial court erred in applying the lex loci test, rather than the most significant relationship test, in determining whether summary judgment should have been granted with respect to plaintiffs' misappropriation of trade secrets claim; whether the trial court erred in ruling on motions for summary judgment and to exclude expert testimony.
Rouse v. Forsyth Cty. Dep't Soc. Servs., (1PA19 - Published) Author: Justice Sam Ervin IV (View COA Opinion)
Administrative Law; North Carolina Human Resources Act; Whether the Court of Appeals erred in its decision to vacate petitioner's award of back pay and attorneys' fees.
State v. Carey, (293A19 - Published) Author: Justice Sam Ervin IV (View COA Opinion)
Possession of weapon of mass death and destruction; Motion to Dismiss; Whether a flash bang grenade constitutes a weapon of mass death and destruction pursuant to N.C.G.S. 14-288.8(c)(1); Whether the State presented sufficient evidence to withstand a motion to dismiss the charge of possession of a weapon of mass death and destruction.
State v. Reed, (365A16-2 - Published) Author: Justice Michael Morgan
Appeal from a decision of the Court of Appeals that, on remand from this Court, reversed a trial court's denial of defendant's motion to suppress evidence found during a traffic stop; whether the law enforcement officer unreasonably extended the traffic stop without reasonable suspicion of criminal activity in violation of the Supreme Court of the United States' decision in Rodriguez v. United States.
In re J.M., (220A19 - Published) Author: Justice Anita Earls
Termination of parental rights pursuant to N.C.G.S. 7B-1111(a)(3); ability to pay reasonable portion of the children's cost of care.
State v. Simpkins, (188A19 - Published) Author: Justice Anita Earls (View COA Opinion)
Appeal from convictions for failure to exhibit or surrender a driver's license and resisting, delaying, or obstructing a public officer; whether the Court of Appeals majority erred in holding that defendant did not forfeit his right to counsel and therefore must receive a new trial.
State v. Nobles, (34PA14-2 - Published) Author: Justice Mark Davis (View COA Opinion)
Appeal from a decision of the Court of Appeals holding that defendant did not qualify as an 'Indian' within the definition of the Indian Major Crimes Act.
Beem USA Ltd.-Liab. Ltd. P'ship v. Grax Consulting LLC, (360A18 - Published) Author: Justice Mark Davis
Appeal from Business Court orders denying plaintiffs' motion for entry of default judgment; whether defendant's contacts with North Carolina were sufficient to support a determination that personal jurisdiction existed.

IN ADDITION TO THE ABOVE LISTED OPINIONS, THE COURT CONSIDERED 249 OTHER MATTERS. THE OTHER MATTERS MAY INCLUDE, BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO, NOTICES OF APPEALS BASED UPON CONSTITUTIONAL QUESTIONS, PETITIONS FOR DISCRETIONARY REVIEW, PETITIONS FOR WRIT OF CERTIORARI IN DEATH CASES, DEATH STAYS, PETITIONS FOR WRITS OF CERTIORARI IN OTHER CRIMINAL AND CIVIL CASES, PETITIONS FOR WRITS OF SUPERSEDEAS, MOTIONS FOR TEMPORARY STAYS, PETITIONS FOR WRITS OF MANDAMUS, PETITIONS FOR WRITS OF HABEAS CORPUS, PETITIONS FOR WRIT OF MANDAMUS, MOTIONS FOR APPROPRIATE RELIEF, AND DIRECT APPEALS FROM DECISIONS OF THE JUDICIAL STANDARDS COMMISSION AND THE UTILITIES COMMISSION. THE COURT ALSO CONSIDERS MOTIONS FOR EXTENSIONS OF TIME AND MOTIONS TO AMEND ON A DAILY BASIS. SUCH "ROUTINE" MOTIONS ARE NOT INCLUDED IN THE PETITION LIST PUBLISHED BY THE COURT EACH MONTH.

Filed: 24 January 2020
Mandate: 13 February 2020
Zip File of Published Opinions
Headnote Index: 24 January 2020

Case Title / Description
In re C.J., (159A19 - Published) Author: Justice Cheri Beasley
Termination of parental rights pursuant to N.C.G.S. 7B-1111(a)(2); whether findings of fact support conclusions of law on adjudication.
In re S.D.C., (229A19 - Published) Author: Justice Sam Ervin IV
Termination of parental rights; whether the trial court abused its discretion by failing to consider the availability of a potential relative placement at disposition.
In re J.H., (172A19 - Published) Author: Justice Anita Earls
Termination of parental rights; whether the trial court erred in the disposition phase by finding that each of respondent-mother's children had a high probability of adoption.
In re K.N., (110A19 - Published) Author: Justice Mark Davis
Appeal from an order terminating parental rights pursuant to N.C.G.S. 7B-1111(a)(1); whether the trial court's findings of facts are supported by clear, cogent, and convincing evidence; whether the trial court's findings of fact support its conclusion of law that grounds exist to terminate parental rights on the basis of neglect.