On Tuesday, a panel of the Court of Appeals issued a unanimous decision  in a Public Records Act case on a point not previously addressed:  “We therefore hold that, in order to confer jurisdiction upon the trial court in a Public Records Act suit, the plaintiff must initiate mediation within 30 days of the filing of the responsive pleading as required by N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7A-38.3E(b).”

The Court rejected the argument that this new statutory requirement was merely procedural with enforcement in the discretion of the court in the judicial review.

The decision came in Jerry R. Tillett v. Town of Kill Devil Hills, Public Records Act – Mediation, Public Record Request; No Jurisdiction; Jurisdictional vs. Procedural Rules