January Note from NCADA President Allen Smith

27 Jan 2021 10:33 AM | Deleted user

Happy New Year!  2021 is off to an interesting start.  Hopefully, it gets better. . . real soon.  We need a soft landing!

Instead of focusing on current events in the news, I’d rather highlight one of the important benefits that the NCADA provides its members – the submission of amicus curae briefs in appellate cases.  Currently, the NCADA has a handful of cases pending in which it has submitted an amicus brief and/or petition for review. Over the past year, the amicus efforts have included issues involving class certification, contributory negligence, uninsured motorist/underinsured motorist coverage, medical malpractice, products liability, and workers’ compensation. 

Several factors come into play when considering whether to participate in an amicus. First, the executive committee must believe the merits of the argument.  Not all cases requesting NCADA participation are accepted.  At some point in an attorney’s career, he or she will likely have to pursue an appeal despite recognizing the case is a loser from the start. 

A second important factor is the benefit of our clients:  the NCADA cannot advocate for the interests of one set of members’ clients against the interests of another.  We sometimes see some meritorious requests that, for this reason, NCADA must decline participation. 

Of equal importance is if a ruling in our side’s favor will benefit most of our members’ practices.   NCADA does not take a case that will be averse to the interests of the members of our organization.  For this reason, we have declined some interesting cases.

The NCADA is selective of cases approved for amicus; the legal issue on appeal must be of substantial interest to the NCADA and its members.  NCADA has built a  distinctive reputation and we are proud our participation in this process has an impact. 

If you have a case in which you would like NCADA involvement, I encourage you to contact the current chair of Amicus Committee, Hon. Linda Stephens, to advise of the issue before the court, explain the importance of the issue, and share information about who will write the brief and/or petition. More information about how to request an amicus can be found on the NCADA website.  

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