The Importance of a Back-Up Plan

by | Jan 18, 2023

This firm raised two issues in a winning appeal to the North Carolina Court of Appeals in EOP v. Rock, available at Case Opinion. The case involved a Condo Association, EOP, which governed a condominium complex where our client owned some units. In 2021, the Court ruled in our favor on the first issue, which involved the interpretation of a statute. The statute explained the circumstances under which an association like EOP can foreclose on one of their member’s units. Our second issue challenged the authenticity of the balance which the association claimed our client owed.

The Court of Appeals did not “reach” our balance-owed issue, meaning that because it ruled in our favor on the statutory claim, it saw no reason to examine the ledger. The association appealed, and because the case had significant implications for condominium associations throughout the state, the association benefited from an “amicus brief” — a brief added by an outside party who has no connection to the actual case — from a large trade association for these entities. In fact, the lobbying arm even had the law changed! To our disappointment, the N.C. Supreme Court ruled in their favor and reversed our procedural win in late 2022.

Because we had raised the alternative balance-owned issue at the Court of Appeals, though, our case is not lost. The Court of Appeals will now consider our second issue, which gives us a good chance to prevail. Clients often go into an appeal focused exclusively on the “one big issue” that made their trial unfair, but a good appellate attorney will raise multiple issues in order to increase the chances of success.

The reconsideration of the balance-owed issue is still pending at the Court of Appeals, and we expect a decision in the next few months.

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