Justia Government & Administrative Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in North Carolina Supreme Court
State ex rel. Utilities Commission v. Virginia Electric & Power Co.
The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the North Carolina Utilities Commission addressing Dominion Energy North Carolina's application for a general increase in its North Carolina retail rates, holding that Dominion's challenges to the Commission's order were unavailing.In the order at issue, the Commission authorized Dominion to calculate its North Carolina retail rates by, inter alia, amortizing certain costs. Dominion appealed, arguing that the Commission acted capriciously and arbitrarily in failing to follow applicable precedent. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the Commission's order was supported by competent, substantial evidence and that the Commission adequately explained the basis for the portions of its decision that Dominion challenged on appeal. View "State ex rel. Utilities Commission v. Virginia Electric & Power Co." on Justia Law
Cunningham v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.
The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals reversing the opinion and award of the North Carolina Industrial Commission denying Plaintiff relief on her claim for disability compensation from Defendants, holding that there was no error.On appeal, the court of appeals held that Plaintiff's claim was not time-barred under N.C. Gen. Stat. 97-24 and thus reversed the Commission's dismissal of Plaintiff's claim based on a 2014 injury. The court remanded the case to the Commission for a determination as to whether Plaintiff suffered a compensable injury under the Workers' Compensation Act. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Plaintiff's claim was not barred by section 97-24. View "Cunningham v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co." on Justia Law
In re Lennane
The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the order of the superior court affirming the decision of the Board of Review for the North Carolina Department of Commerce adopting the decision of the appeals referee ruling that Frank Lennane was disqualified for unemployment benefits, holding that there was no error.At issue was whether Lennane's leaving work was attributable to his employer, as required by N.C. Gen. Stat. 96-14.5(a), to avoid disqualification for unemployment benefits. The lower courts affirmed the administrative decision that Lennane was disqualified for unemployment benefits because he failed to show good cause attributable to the employer for leaving. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that while Lennane left work for good cause, he failed to satisfy his burden to show that his leaving work was "attributable to the employer" as a matter of law. View "In re Lennane" on Justia Law
In re K.S.
The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals affirming in part and reversing in part the judgment of the trial court finding that the evidence presented was sufficient to support an adjudication of dependency but dismissing a claim of neglect, holding that the court of appeals' analysis showed improper deference to the trial court's conclusion of law.The Cumberland County Department of Social Services (DSS) filed a juvenile petition alleging Kelly to be a neglected and dependent juvenile. The trial court adjudicated Kelly to be dependent but, without explanation, dismissed the claim of neglect. The court of appeals affirmed the trial court's dismissal of the claim of neglect. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded in part, holding that the court of appeals failed to conduct a proper de novo review of the issue of neglect. View "In re K.S." on Justia Law
Nay v. Cornerstone Staffing Solutions
The Supreme Court modified and affirmed the decision of the court of appeals holding that the decision of the North Carolina Industrial Commission should be reversed and this case remanded to the Commission for recalculation of Plaintiff's average weekly wage, holding that the court of appeals did not err.Plaintiff, an injured employee, received temporary disability benefits. Plaintiff later requested that his claim be assigned for a hearing, claiming that Defendant, his employer, had unilaterally lowered the amount of temporary total disability benefits that he had been receiving with respect to his back injury and that the parties could not agree with respect to the amount of benefits to which Plaintiff was entitled. The Commission determined that the fifth method for calculating Plaintiff's average weekly wage was appropriate for use in this case. The court of appeals reversed and remanded the case. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the findings and conclusions that the Commission made in support of its average weekly wages determination appeared to rest upon a misapplication of the applicable legal standard. View "Nay v. Cornerstone Staffing Solutions" on Justia Law
New Hanover County Board of Education v. Stein
The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals reversing the trial court and remanded this case for further remand to the superior court with instructions to reinstate its earlier order granting summary judgment in favor of the Attorney General, holding that the New Hanover County Board of Education's amended complaint did not suffice to support a claim pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. 147-76.1.This case arose from the Board of Education's challenge to the Attorney General administration of an environmental enhancement grant program funded by payments made by Smithfield Foods, Inc. and its subsidiaries pursuant to an agreement between the companies and the Attorney General. The trial court granted summary judgment for the Attorney General and dismissed the Board of Education's allegations that the payments received from the Smithfield companies under the agreement constituted civil penalties that should have been made available to public schools pursuant to N.C. Const. Art. IX, 7. The Supreme Court upheld the trial court's judgment, holding that the court of appeals erred by concluding that the Board of Education’s complaint sufficed to support a claim for relief pursuant to section 147-76.1. View "New Hanover County Board of Education v. Stein" on Justia Law
In re Harris Teeter, LLC
The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals ruling that an assessment that Mecklenburg County made of the business personal property owned by Harris Teeter, LLC at six grocery stores reflected the "true value" of that property, as required by N.C. Gen. Stat. 105-283, holding that none of Harris Teeter's challenges to the order of the North Carolina Property Tax Commission had merit.In rejecting Harris Teeter's challenge to the Commission's order, the court of appeals held that the Commission's findings had sufficient evidentiary support and that those findings had satisfied the County's obligation to prove that the methods it used in valuing Harris Teeter's property produced the true value of that property. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the manner in which the Commission resolved the issues in this case had ample record support. View "In re Harris Teeter, LLC" on Justia Law
In re Brooks
The Supreme Court ordered that Respondent William F. Brooks be suspended without compensation from office as a Judge of the General Court of Justice, District Court Division, Judicial district Twenty-Three, for thirty days from the entry of this order, holding that Respondent violated Canons 1, 2A, 5D, and 6C of the North Carolina Code of Judicial Conduct and for conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice that brings the judicial office into disrepute.The Judicial Standards Commission recommended that Respondent be censured for violations of Canons 1, 2A, 5D, and 6C amounting to conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice that constituted willful misconduct in office. Respondent accepted responsibility for his actions, acknowledging they were wrong, and the Commission found that Respondent cooperated, admitted error and showed remorse. The Supreme Court concluded that the Commission's findings of fact were supported by clear and convincing evidence and that the Commission's conclusions of law were supported by those facts and then determined that a one-month sanction was appropriate. View "In re Brooks" on Justia Law
Ashe County v. Ashe County Planning Board
In this dispute between petitioner Ashe County Board of Commissioners and respondents Ashe County Planning Board and Appalachian Materials, LLC arising from Appalachian Materials' application for a permit pursuant to the County's Polluting Industries Development Ordinance authorizing Appalachian Materials to operate a portable asphalt production facility on property located in Ashe County, the Supreme Court held that the case should be remanded due to errors by the court of appeals.After the Planning Board ordered that a permit be issued to Appalachian Materials Ashe County sought judicial review. The trial court ordered the County to issue the requested permit within ten business days. The court of appeals affirmed the challenged trial court order. At issue before the Supreme Court was whether the County's failure to appeal a letter written by the Planning Director gave that letter partially binding effect. The Supreme Court reversed in part and remanded the case, holding that the court of appeals erred by holding that Ashe County lost its right to challenge the issuance of the contested permit because it failed to seek review of opinions that the Planning Director expressed in the letter. View "Ashe County v. Ashe County Planning Board" on Justia Law
State ex rel. Utilities Commission v. Stein
The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed and remanded in part orders entered by the North Carolina Utilities Commission addressing applications filed by Duke Energy Progress, LLC and Duke Energy Carolinas, LLC, holding that the Commission erred by rejecting an equitable sharing proposal without properly considering and making findings and conclusions concerning "all other material facts," as required by N.C. Gen. Stat. 62-133(d).Various interveners representing the utilities' consumers appealed the Commission's orders, challenging the lawfulness of the Commission's decisions concerning the extent to which the utilities were entitled to reflect costs associated with the storage and disposal of ash resulting from electricity production in coal-fired electric generating units in the cost of service used to set the utilities' North Carolina retail rates. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed and remanded in part, holding that the Commission (1) did not err by allowing the inclusion of a majority to the utilities' coal ash costs in the cost of service used for establishing North Carolina retail rates and in increasing Duke Energy Carolinas' residential basic facilities charge; but (2) erred in rejecting an equitable sharing proposal without making the statutorily required findings and conclusions. View "State ex rel. Utilities Commission v. Stein" on Justia Law