COA: Order Requiring Foreign Party to Appear for Jurisdictional Discovery Deposition Does Not Affect Substantial Right
Defendants, who live in the Phillipines, appealed the trial court's order requiring them to appear to appear for deposition in North Carolina. Defendants acknowledged tha the appeal was interlocutory, but Defendants claimed the order affected a substantial right and thus justified an immediate appeal.
The COA disagreed. The Court noted that discovery issues are not immediately appealable, and found that Defendants' alleged right under Rule of Civil Procedure 30(b)(1) to be deposed only in a county where they reside was not a substantial one. The COA also found that avoiding the expenditure of time and money (Defendants would have to travel from the Phillipines to be deposed) is not a substantial right, and that the order had nothing to do with the issue of venue (which *is* immediately appealable). The Court finally noted that the trial court's order did not violate Defendants' due process rights because the depositions were "obviously" limited to the issue of personal jurisdiction (even though the order did not specify this), and that by appearing for the limited purpose of challenging jurisdiction, Defendants "voluntarily submitted to North Carolina jurisdiction to decide the issue of personal jurisdiction[.]" The Court concluded that no substantial right was affected and that immediate appeal was not warranted, and dismissed the appeal.