Register for “Trusts, Taxes and Trials: An In-Depth Look at the U.S. Supreme Court Kaestner Decision” on Jan. 28 in Cary

By Jeff Kelly

Earlier this year, the United States Supreme Court issued a major trust tax decision in North Carolina Department of Revenue v. Kaestner Trust, holding that a trust beneficiary’s residence cannot be the sole basis for a state’s imposition of its income tax on the trust’s undistributed income. The Court’s decision broke roughly 90 years of silence on whether such taxes violate the Due Process Clause and will shape tax policy for years to come.

Given the importance of the Kaestner decision to many practice areas, it should be no surprise that the Appellate Practice, Estate Planning & Fiduciary Law, Litigation, and Tax Sections have joined up to co-sponsor a robust half-day CLE program on January 28, 2020:

Trusts, Taxes and Trials: An In-Depth Look at the U.S. Supreme Court Kaestner Decision

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

North Carolina Bar Center

8000 Weston Parkway

Cary, NC 27513

The complete agenda and registration information can be found here. Do not miss out on this great program!

If you are interested in publishing an article with the Appellate Practice Section Blog, please contact Jeff Kelly at

A celebration so historic that it belongs in a museum: The North Carolina Supreme Court Bicentennial Gala and Museum of History Exhibit.

By Jeff Kelly

Earlier this year, our Immediate Past Chair Gregg F. Schwitzgebel III wrote about the significant commemorative period for the North Carolina Judicial System and noted that the celebrations for the 200th anniversary of the North Carolina Supreme Court had only just begun.

Throughout 2019, the North Carolina Judicial Branch’s observation of the bicentennial anniversary of the Supreme Court has created several opportunities to showcase the importance of the judiciary and the rule of law through events such as ceremonial sessions, speaking to North Carolinians about civics, and holding oral arguments across North Carolina. Members of the bar have also collaborated to organize several memorable events. Most recently, the bench and bar convened for a spectacular gala hosted by the North Carolina Supreme Court Historical Society. We are also less than a month away from the grand opening of a special exhibit at the North Carolina Museum of History that will celebrate our Supreme Court.

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Appellate Practice Section Social on September 12 in Raleigh

By Jeff Kelly

In less than two weeks, the Appellate Practice Section is bidding farewell to summer with a social at The Raleigh Times!

Appellate Practice Section Fall Social
Thursday, September 12, 2019
5:00 – 7:00 p.m.
The Raleigh Times
14 E. Hargett St.
Raleigh, NC 27601

Our Fall Social is an excellent opportunity to connect with old and new friends while we have appellate practitioners in town for the Section’s Annual Meeting and CLE. As always, this event is open to the bench and bar alike, so please RSVP here.

A special thanks to Stephen Feldman and the NCBA team for organizing another fantastic opportunity for the appellate community to gather. We are also grateful for the continued support of our sponsors:

  • Brooks, Pierce, McLendon, Humphrey & Leonard, LLP
  • Cranfill Sumner & Hartzog LLP
  • Ellis & Winters LLP
  • Fox Rothschild LLP
  • McGuireWoods
  • Poyner Spruill LLP
  • Ragsdale Liggett PLLC
  • Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson, P.A.
  • Shanahan Law Group, PLLC
  • Sigmon Law, PLLC
  • Young Moore and Henderson, P.A.

We hope that you all will join us!

Register for the Appellate Practice Section Annual Meeting and CLE on September 13

By Jeff Kelly

With the Fall Semester in full swing, law students are not the only ones who will want to get straight A’s – please join the Appellate Practice Section on September 13, 2019, for our Annual Meeting and CLE:

Getting Straight A’s: Aids, Accessible Applications, Advice and Approaches to Advocacy

Friday, September 13, 2019
North Carolina Bar Center
8000 Weston Parkway
Cary, NC 27513

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What’s It Take To Argue a SCOTUS Case? A Lot Of Midnight Oil


When the chance to argue a case before the U.S. Supreme Court comes up, sleep becomes a distant memory. We got a behind-the-case look from some NCBA members who were there this spring. Find this story and more in the August edition of North Carolina Lawyer magazine.

By Amber Nimocks

Drew Erteschik’s phone buzzed in his pocket like a bug zapper. He first thought the texts were from his wife, suggesting what he might pick up for dinner. But one glance at the text from his law partner, “We have it!! We have cert!!” — the first of approximately 250 messages blowing up his phone — and he knew this was bigger than what was for supper.

It was Jan. 11, and the U.S. Supreme Court had just granted certiorari in N.C. Department of Revenue v. The Kimberley Rice Kaestner 1992 Family Trust. N.C. Solicitor General Matt Sawchak, Sawchak’s colleagues Jim Doggett and Ryan Park, former N.C. Supreme Court Justice Bob Orr, and Erteschik represented the Department of Revenue.

With the cert grant, the clock began ticking. The team had only three months to ready their A games for scrutiny by the U.S. Supreme Court. Sleep would be become a rare luxury for those focused on the case, as comprehensive research and analysis, brief writing, and argument preparation consumed all hours of the day.

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Join Us At Our Inaugural Lunch & Learn On Friday, June 14

By Gregg F. Schwitzgebel III

Fellow Appellate Practice Section members─

I’m writing in regard to a few upcoming events in the life of our section.

First and foremost, I’m writing to invite you, and your colleagues and friends, to our Section’s first-ever Lunch & Learn, beginning at noon Friday, June 14 at the NC Bar Center in Cary.  The program is entitled “Epilogue to a 2019 SCOTUS Oral Argument- N.C. Dept. of Revenue v. Kaestner 1992 Family Tr. (No. 18-457)” and features North Carolina Solicitor General Matt Sawchak and Drew Erteschik, Vice Chair of the Appellate Rules Committee.

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Appellate Practice-Litigation Joint Social April 25 In Charlotte

By Jeff Kelly

We are less than two weeks away from the Appellate Practice and Litigation Sections joint social at Dandelion Market in Charlotte.

Appellate Practice and Litigation Joint Networking Event
5:30 – 7:30 p.m., Thursday, April 25, 2019
Dandelion Market, 118 West 5th St., Charlotte, NC 28202
Click here to RSVP.


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An Historic Quarter at the Supreme Court of North Carolina

By Gregg F. Schwitzgebel III

The members of the NCBA Appellate Practice Section respectfully recognize and honor that the year 2019 marks a crescendo in a highly significant commemorative period for the North Carolina Judicial System, with 2016-2019 milestones including the 50th anniversaries of the unified court system (2016), the District Court (2016), the North Carolina Court of Appeals (2017), and the Administrative Office of the Courts (2016); the 240th anniversary of the Superior Court (2017); and this year’s 200th anniversary of the Supreme Court of North Carolina (2019).

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Substantial Confusion? The Lessons From Ramsey v. Ramsey

By Jon Ward

A recent case from the North Carolina Court of Appeals, Ramsey v. Ramsey, published Feb. 5, 2019 (No. COA18-600) not only serves as a cautionary tale for practitioners but may also lead to important guidance from North Carolina’s appellate courts regarding the dismissal of appeals. In short, Judge Zachary, writing for the majority, dismissed the appeal for myriad gross violations of the Rules of Appellate Procedure. What separates this case from the other progeny of Dogwood Dev. & Mgmt. Co. v. White Oak Transp. Co., 362 N.C. 191, 657 S.E.2d 361 (2008) is that Judge Dillon issued a thought-provoking dissent, which now serves as a basis for the plaintiff-appellant’s motion for a hearing en banc. While this case may raise many questions while providing few concrete answers, it is worthy of review and continued observation for several reasons.

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Permanent Home for NC Rules of Appellate Procedure on NC Courts Webpage

By Gregg F. Schwitzgebel III

Please know there is now a dedicated page on the North Carolina Courts website for the N.C. Rules of Appellate Procedure:

On this page, one has access to an up-to-date codification (7 January 2019 version, attached) of the Rules, as well as to slip orders that have yet to be published in the North Carolina Reports.

The Supreme Court’s Office of Administrative Counsel seeks to continuously update this codification to incorporate new amendments ordered by the Supreme Court, so that there will be consistent access to a current set of the Rules.

In addition to the direct link above, the page can be manually accessed through the website as follows:

Home > Courts > Supreme Court > Court Rules > North Carolina Rules of Appellate Procedure

Home > Courts > Court of Appeals > Court Rules > North Carolina Rules of Appellate Procedure

Our Section thanks the Office of Administrative Counsel for bringing this exciting new development to fruition.