North Carolina Appellate Court Dismisses Appeal Regarding Discovery Order as Improperly Filed and Discusses Interlocutory Appeal Exceptions

The legal process includes many different rules that govern substantive aspects of your claim, like which evidence the other party can present and procedural aspects of your claim such as when you can seek an appeal. These rules can be complicated and it can be difficult to know whether you are proceeding in the right manner. This is why having a seasoned North Carolina personal injury lawyer can make all the difference when it comes to securing the compensation that you deserve.

In a recent appeal, the court discussed when a party can seek an interlocutory appeal. The plaintiff was operating a city bus when the vehicle was struck from behind by a regular passenger car. The plaintiff suffered injuries and filed a claim against the driver of the vehicle alleging negligence. The matter proceeded to discovery, which is the phase of litigation where the parties seek information from one another about the claim.

During discovery, the defendant filed a motion to compel seeking an order that would require the plaintiff to provide more robust answers to the defendant’s discovery requests. The court granted this order and compelled the plaintiff to provide more information about her physicians before the accident and her post-accident injuries and mental disabilities. She was also compelled to produce more information about her wage and hours worked following the crash.

The defendant later served more discovery and filed a motion seeking sanctions against the plaintiff for failing to comply with the discovery order. It also filed a motion to compel the plaintiff to provide answers to its second round of discovery. The court granted the motion to compel and later concluded that the plaintiff had failed to comply with the first discovery order.

The plaintiff appealed, challenging six different aspects of the discovery order. On review, however, the appellate court dismissed the plaintiff’s appeal finding it an interlocutory appeal that did not affect a substantial right. Appeals can only be granted where the lower court takes an action or makes a decision that affects a substantial right of the appellee.

According to North Carolina law, there are only a few limited instances where an interlocutory matter can be heard on appeal. The first exception is where the trial court enters a final judgment regarding some of the claims in the matter, leaving additional claims in the litigation. The second exception involves situations where the order or final decision deprives the appellee of a substantial right that would be jeopardized without appellate review before the final conclusion of the case. When a party claims to have a valid interlocutory appeal on one of these grounds, however, the court will conduct a thorough analysis of whether or not the appeal is sound before proceeding to evaluate its merits.

If you were injured in a car accident or other personal injury matter, you deserve diligent and compassionate legal counsel to help you navigate the legal process. Our team of experienced trial lawyers is well versed in the rules that apply to civil claims and insurance matters in North Carolina. We offer a free consultation to help you learn more about our team and whether you are entitled to compensation. Call us now at 1-888-258-1087 or contact us online to get started.

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