Bill Summary for S 255 (2021-2022)

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Summary date: 

Jun 2 2021

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2021
Senate Bill 255 (Public) Filed Thursday, March 11, 2021
Intro. by Britt, Daniel.

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Bill summary

House committee substitute makes the following changes to the 2nd edition.

Section 1

Adds to the proposed changes to Rule 51 of the Rules of Civil Procedure, and the proposed changes to GS 7A-47.3, to more specifically reference subdivision (2) of GS 90-21.11, defining medical malpractice action.

Section 8

Changes the effective date of the proposed changes to GS 42-34.1, concerning undertaking an appeal in summary ejectment cases, making the changes effective on the date the act becomes law (was, October 1, 2021).

Section 9

Deletes the content of previous Section 9, which amended GS 51-5.5 regarding magistrates' right to recuse from performing lawful marriages. Makes conforming organizational changes to renumber the remaining sections of the act.

Revises proposed GS 7A-49.6, which grants a general authorization for judicial officials to conduct proceedings of all types using an audio and video transmission in which the parties, the presiding official, and any other participants can see and hear each other. Modifies the criteria that must be met when the right to confront witnesses or be present is implicated in criminal or juvenile delinquency proceedings to no longer allow for use of audio and video transmission upon the court finding that the use of audio and video transmission in the absence of a waiver is necessary to further an important State interest and that use will not materially prejudice the defendant's or juvenile respondent's rights; maintains authority to use an audio and video transmission when the court has obtained a knowing, intelligent, and voluntary waiver of the defendant's or juvenile respondent's rights, but conditions the authority upon other State laws providing otherwise. Changes the effective date of proposed GS 7A-49.6 to the date the act becomes law (was, April 1, 2021).

Section 10

Changes the effective date of the content of Section 10 (previously, Section 11), which repeals language in specified statutes in GS Chapters 7B, 15A, 50B, 50C, and 122C, relating to authority to conduct specific proceedings using audio or video technology, as identified, to reflect the new general authorization for judicial officials to conduct any proceeding using audio or video transmission pursuant to GS 7A-49.6. Makes the proposed changes effective on the date the act becomes law (was, April 1, 2021).

Adds the following new content.

Section 14

Amends GS 7A-20 to direct the Supreme Court to fix charges to litigants for document management as well as the reproduction of appellate records and briefs. Amends GS 7A-343.3 to provide for moneys collected through charges to litigants for document management to also be remitted to the State Treasurer and held in the Appellate Courts Printing and Computer Operations Fund, as is required of charges for reproduction of appellate records and briefs, to be used to support document management shop operations (was, print shop operations) of the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals.

Section 15

Amends GS 1-239 to require judgement creditors to include the date and amount of the payment received in their notice to the clerk of superior court of any payment as required by the statute. Adds that a notice that includes multiple payments from the debtor must specify the date of each individual payment and the amount received on each date. Requires the clerk to promptly enter any such payments on the judgement docket, crediting each payment against the judgement as of the date received by the creditor (previously, required prompt entering of the payment on the judgement docket). Adds the following. Requires proceeds paid to the clerk as a result of levy and an execution sale under Article 29B be credited and applied to the judgement as of the date the proceeds are received by the clerk, and funds paid to the clerk pursuant to the levy under execution without an execution sale credited and applied to the judgment as of the date the funds are collected. 

Amends GS 1-310 to require a sheriff to separately note on the return of execution for a judgement requiring the payment of money (1) any amount collected without execution sale and the date of collection, and if multiple payments to the sheriff are collected on different dates pursuant to a single writ of execution, the individual dates of collection and the amount collected on each date, and (2) the date of levy and description of property levied and sole through execution sale pursuant to Article 29B. 

Amends GS 1-339.70 to require proceeds paid by the sheriff to the clerk resulting from execution sale to be credited and applied to the judgement as of the date the proceeds are received by the clerk. 

Amends GS 162-18 to require a sheriff who has collected money upon an execution placed in the sheriff's hands to immediately pay the same to the office of the clerk of the court from which the execution issued (previously, alternatively allowed for payment to the plaintiff). 

Section 16

Amends GS 15A-150(b), which sets forth notice requirements of the clerk of superior court regarding orders granting an expunction, to specify that expunctions granted pursuant to GS 15A-146(a4) (governing cases when charges are dismissed or there are findings of not guilty) are excluded from all clerk of superior court notice provisions of subsection (b) (previously, more generally excluded such expunctions from all notice provisions of the subsection). Adds to subsection (e) to authorize the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) to provide notice to State and local agencies of expunctions grants pursuant to GS 15A-146(a4). 

Section 17

Amends GS 15A-951(b) and (c), regarding service and filing of motions, to require service upon the attorney or defendant as provided in GS 1A-1, Rule 5 (amended by SL 2020-46 to include electronic service), and to require filing proof of service with the court by filing a certificate of service as provided by Rule 5(b1). Eliminates the existing service requirements that limit service to delivery or mail. Applies to motions made on or after July 1, 2021.

Section 18

Enacts GS 7A-98 to allow for matters filed electronically pursuant to rules promulgated by the Supreme Court to be supported, evidenced, established, or proved by unsworn declaration in writing, subscribed by the declarant and dated, that the statement is true under penalty of perjury, rather than under oath or affirmation. Provides for a standard form of a declaration deemed sufficient under the statute. Bars using unsworn statements for oral testimony; oaths of office; any statement under oath or affirmation required to be taken before a specified official other than a notary public; any self-proved will or codicil executed pursuant to GS 31-11.6; and any real property deed, contract, or lease requiring an acknowledgement pursuant to GS 47-17.

Expands GS 14-209 to include knowingly and intentionally making a false statement in any unsworn declaration deemed sufficient pursuant to GS 7A-98 perjury, a Class F felony.

Section 18 is effective December 1, 2021.