North Carolina Court of Appeals to host oral arguments at Wake Forest Law on Thursday, March 19

Photo of the Worrell Professional Center

Wake Forest Law, Worrell Professional Center

The North Carolina Court of Appeals has rescheduled oral arguments at the Wake Forest University School of Law to begin at 3 p.m. on Thursday, March 19, in Room 1312 of the Worrell Professional Center.
Chief Judge Linda McGee canceled the earlier arguments scheduled for Feb. 24 due to winter weather conditions.

Chief Judge McGee and Judges Richard Dietz (’02) and Douglas McCullough will hear arguments in two cases. Gov. Pat McCrory appointed Dietz to fill the seat of Judge Bob Hunter Jr., who became a Justice on the North Carolina Supreme Court on Sept. 6, 2014.

The court will hear State v. Rory (14-886 Forsyth) and Kearney v. Bolling (14-671 Forsyth).

“The judges have chosen two cases for oral argument that should be very instructive for our students because they involve the essentials of trial practice,” said Professor John Korzen (’91), director of the law school’s Appellate Advocacy Clinic. “One is a criminal case in which the defendant contends that the trial judge improperly excluded evidence, while the other is a medical malpractice case in which the plaintiff contends that the trial judge improperly allowed evidence and improperly allowed a witness to testify as an expert.”

In the State of North Carolina v. Thedford Roy Rory, the defendant appeals from a conviction of rape and taking indecent liberties with a 6-year-old child, and attaining habitual felon status. In addition to a sentence of 690-852 months, the trial court ordered that the defendant comply with lifetime sex offender registration and lifetime satellite-based monitoring. On appeal, the defendant argues that the trial court improperly excluded evidence that the victim watched pornography before the allegations which defendant claimed was necessary to rebut the jury’s inference that the child was sexually innocent and could not have described the sexual acts unless the defendant had committed them.  In addition, the defendant further argues that the trial court improperly excluded evidence of other false allegations and inconsistent statements regarding other sexual acts allegedly committed by two boys who also lived in the victim’s home.

The second case to be argued is Hannah Marie Johnson Kearney v. Bruce Bolling, M.D.  In that case, on March 17, 2009, the plaintiff went to the emergency room complaining of chest pain.  While there, the plaintiff was diagnosed with gallstones and emergency surgery was recommended.  On March 18, 2009, Dr. Bolling performed the surgery.  The plaintiff was discharged from the hospital.  Following discharge, the plaintiff experienced severe pain and was diagnosed with a bile duct leak.  She was readmitted to the hospital on three different occasions and underwent a second surgery.  Plaintiff filed a lawsuit for medical malpractice; however, the jury returned a verdict in favor of Dr. Bolling. Plaintiff now appeals and alleges that the trial court improperly allowed the defense counsel to cross-examine the plaintiff’s medical expert on matters involving the American College of Surgeon’s Policy Statements on Expert Witnesses, and present evidence on the standards set forth by the American College of Surgeons.  Plaintiff further alleges that the trial court improperly accepted the physician defendant tendered as a medical expert, claiming that the defense expert did not meet North Carolina’s requirements for expert witnesses under Rule 702 of the North Carolina Rule of Evidence and North Carolina General Statute Section 90-21.12.

At the close of the session, the judges will invite the audience to ask questions concerning appellate practice, which will be followed by a reception for the judges and members of the law school community, according to Professor Christine Coughlin (’90), director of the law school’s Legal Analysis, Writing and Research Program (LAWR).

For more information, visit the Court’s website.