SCOVA recently granted an appeal in Norton v. Board of Supervisors of Fairfax County, Record No. 201028. Here are the assignments of error: 1. The trial court erred in dismissing Count VIII of the Second Amended Complaint because the Airbnb Hosts produced probative evidence that the Board’s adoption of the STL Zoning Ordinance was unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious where the Board failed to give reasonable consideration for the existing use of property as required by Virginia Code § 15.2-2284 and where the Board offered no evidence (and there was no evidence) of reasonableness to make the issue fairly debatable. 2.…
The new year will bring many changes to our state appellate courts.  Another big change was announced yesterday.  With Court of Appeals Chief Judge Linda McGee retiring after over 25 years of service, Chief Justice Cheri Beasley has appointed Judge Donna Stroud as the new chief of our intermediate appellate court, effective January 1, 2021. Judge Stroud has served on the Court of Appeals since 2007—a tenure of 14 years.  She has long been actively engaged with the lawyers in the North Carolina appellate bar.  She also chairs the Chief Justice’s Rules Advisory Commission, which recommends amendments…
Last time, we reviewed the Court’s civil cases, asking whether divided decisions from the Court of Appeal were more likely to be reversed in whole or in part than unanimous ones.  This time, we’re turning our attention to the criminal cases and finding a very different result. In only four of the past thirty-one years were unanimous criminal decisions from the Court of Appeal more frequently reversed than decisions with a dissent.  In most years, the numbers weren’t at all close (see 1991 – 75% divided cases reversed, 12.9% unanimous ones, 2003 – 80% to 24.14%, 2007 – 60% to…
Two weeks ago, we addressed the question of how common cases with a dissent at the Court of Appeal were on the Supreme Court’s docket.  Our analysis illuminated the issue of whether it’s true that there’s no point in pursuing a petition for review from a unanimous Court of Appeal decision. This week, we’re digging a bit deeper on a related question: are divided decisions from the Court of Appeal more frequently reversed?  The result might help us choose between two possibilities about divided Court of Appeal decisions that wind up at the Supreme Court: does the Court take them…
Now we turn our attention to the criminal docket.  First, we review the data for complete reversal – divided decisions from the Court of Appeal versus unanimous decisions.  In six of the past thirty-one years, the reversal rate for unanimous Court of Appeal decisions has exceeded that for divided ones.  The rest of the time, divided decisions are more likely to be reversed, although we should note that the numbers are frequently fairly close. Next we turn to our combined figure – the percentage reversed outright plus the share reversed in part.  The share is about the same: in six…
I always hate it at CLEs when people say things like, “There’s no good writing. Only good editing.” Sure, a first draft is just that, and that you can’t compare your first cut at a brief with another writer’s finished product. 10-4. But how are you supposed to get from that first draft to the finished product? Like, mechanically, what are you supposed to do? In GTD parlance, what is the next physical, visible action? For years, I didn’t know. So I would just print out my brief and read it, and edit, over and over again. How would I…
Jump To: Table of Contents | Civil Decisions | Short Civil Decisions Good evening. Following are our summaries of the past week’s civil decisions of the Court of Appeal for Ontario. The Court delivered a flurry of year-end decisions ahead of the holidays. In Duggan v Durham Region Non-Profit Housing Corporation, the Court overruled the Divisional Court and found that Rule 6.1.01 of the Rules of Civil Procedure ousts the court’s inherent jurisdiction to bifurcate a trial without the consent of the parties. The decision involves a very detailed discussion of the law as it existed before this rule was…
Last time, we reviewed the share of the Supreme Court’s civil caseload made up of decisions with a dissenter at the Court of Appeal.  Now let’s look at the criminal cases. It turns out dissenters are even less important on the criminal side.  In 1990, only 1.25% of the criminal docket had a dissenter below.  The share rose to 10% by 1993, but immediately fell back into single digits for five of the next six years.  The share of cases with dissents below rose slightly in the decade following; between 2000 and 2009, the share was between ten and twenty…