Tuesday, November 06, 2007, 12:43 PM

NC COA Reiterates: Watch Tone

In Mineola Community Bank, SSB v. Everson, the NC COA returned to a recent theme we've blogged on: propriety of tone.

In Mineola, defendants were subject to a Texas judgment, which the plaintiff domesticated in NC. Defendants asserted that the NC court lacked subject matter jurisdiction because the defendants were appealing in Texas. The COA disagreed, noting that the defendants could, but failed to, seek a stay of the judgment during their Texas appeal.

More notably, the COA sanctioned the defendants, who were pro se, under Appellate Rule 34. The COA focused on the defendants' (1) "deliberate and unwarranted attack upon the personal integrity of plaintiff's counsel" who did not present to the trial court that the defendants were appealing the Texas judgment (the defendants also did not raise the issue before the trial court); and (2) an unargued assignment of error alleging that the trial court judge "committed fraud on the court by failing to uphold the doctrine of stare decisis and Rule of Law thereby failing to perform his judicial functions impartially." The COA stated that defendants' conduct could not be tolerated, even by pro se litigants, and taxed the defendants with double costs .

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