Kaitlin Price (JD ‘16), Mackenzie Salenger (JD ’16) argue in Fourth Circuit for Appellate Advocacy Clinic

Both Kaitlin Price (JD ’16) and Mackenzie Salenger (JD ’16) argued on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015, in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Virginia, as part of the Appellate Advocacy Clinic. Price and Salenger argued on behalf of the clinic’s client Kent Stahle in the case of Stahle v. CTS Corporation. The three-judge panel that heard the argument consisted of Judge James Wynn of North Carolina, Judge Henry Floyd of South Carolina and Judge Stephanie Thacker of West Virginia.

In Stahle, the plaintiff alleges that he was exposed to contaminated water released by the defendant at its plant in Asheville, North Carolina, and contracted leukemia as a result. The Western District of North Carolina allowed the defendant’s motion to dismiss based on the statute of repose in N.C. Gen. Stat. 1-52(16). The primary issue on appeal is whether that statute of repose applies to disease claims. In prior cases, the North Carolina Supreme Court and the Fourth Circuit have construed other North Carolina statutes of repose not to apply to disease claims. “Both Kaitlin and Mackenzie forcefully advanced their theme that the rule from these prior cases should apply in Stahle,” said Appellate Advocacy Clinic Director John Korzen (JD ’91).

Numerous Appellate Advocacy Clinic students have argued at the Fourth Circuit and other appellate courts over the years but something unique about this argument is that both Price and Salenger argued, with Price taking the first 15 minutes and Salenger handling the five-minute rebuttal. The Clinic had not previously so divided an argument, according to Korzen.

“It made sense to us to divide the argument that way,” Korzen said. “For one thing, Mackenzie absolutely loves making rebuttal arguments. In addition, the two were on a very successful Moot Court team last year and divided arguments the same way.”

Two members of last year’s clinic, Zach Dunn (JD ’15) and Davis Phillips (JD ’15), researched and wrote the briefs on behalf of Stahle. In August, Price and Salenger researched and wrote a supplemental brief regarding an issue of subject matter jurisdiction identified by the Court.