Monday, April 14, 2008, 12:42 PM

NC SCT Reiterates: No Assignments Of Error Needed From Summary Judgment

On Friday the NC Supreme Court reiterated this: "This Court has long held, and the law has not been changed, that for purposes of an appeal from a trial court's entry of summary judgment for the prevailing party, the appealing party is not required under Rule 10(a) of the Rules of Appellate Procedure to make assignments of error for the reason that on appeal, review is necessarily limited to whether the trial court's conclusions as to whether there is a genuine issue of material fact and whether the moving party is entitled to judgment, both questions of law, were correct."

One can only wonder why, if assignments of error are not required from summary judgment orders, they are required to appeal other types of orders, such as Rule 12(b) orders, Rule 50 orders, etc. Indeed, there is a stronger argument for requiring assignments of error from summary judgment orders compared with, say, a Rule 12(b)(6) order: in an appeal from summary judgment, the appellee may not know whether the appellant is appealing on the basis that there are genuine issues of material fact (if so, which facts?) or on the ground that the claims are foreclosed by law (if so, which claims? which legal principles?), or both.

Hopefully these distinctions will be rendered meaningless, because hopefully the Supreme Court will agree with the pending proposal to eliminate assignments of error.

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