North Carolina Court of Appeals Confirms That Any Appeals in Suits Designated Complex Business Cases After October 1, 2014 Must Go to the NC Supreme Court, or Face Dismissal
Today the Court of Appeals issued a decision addressing Session Law 2014-102, the 2014 Business Court Modernization Act, which requires that appeals in matters that are designated as mandatory complex business cases go straight to the NC Supreme Court. The case is Christenbury Eye Center v. Medflow. and Riggi.
This case involved a dispute between Christenbury, which offered opthalmalogic and eye services, and Medflow, which provided medical records management software and was founded by Riggi. Christenbury filed a Complaint on September 22, 2014 against Medflow and Riggi, alleging that they breached an agreement to further develop and resell the software platform to other ophthalmological practices by failing to pay royalties owed to Christenbury. The case was designated as a mandatory complex business case on October 29, 2014.
Judge Gale granted Medflow and Riggi's motions to dismiss Christenbury's claims for breach of contract and unfair and deceptive trade practices. Christenbury appealed to the Court of Appeals.
The COA found that it lacked jurisdiction to consider the appeal, explaining that "[i]n 2014, our General Assembly enacted Chapter 102 of the 2014 North Carolina Session Laws, which, among other things, amended N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7A-27 so as to provide a direct right of appeal to the Supreme Court from a final judgment of the Business Court.[.]" The Court further concluded that the effective date of the 2014 amendments to N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7A-27(a)(2) was October 1, 2014, and any case designated as a mandatory complex business case after that date (whether it was filed before that time or not) was subject to the 2014 amendments to N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7A-27(a)(2).
There are certainly myriad cases currently pending in Business Court that will lead to appeals. Just remember that if your case was designated after the magic date, you'll face dismissal (and likely lose your right to appeal due to untimeliness) if you don't go straight to the Supreme Court.