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NC Court of Appeals: Gov. Pat McCrory not immune from open records lawsuit

Gov. Pat McCrory will not be immune from an open records lawsuit in trial court, the North Carolina Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.

In the opinion [1], Judge Linda Stevens wrote that McCrory’s attorney failed to properly plead, raise, or argue the affirmative defense of sovereign immunity. The appeal came about from a partial grant of judgment on the trial court pleadings in favor of the plaintiffs.

The N.C. Justice Center, along with a number of media and non-profit coalition partners, filed the lawsuit [2] against Gov. Pat McCrory in July 2015, accusing his office and administration of not fully complying with the state’s public records law. The Justice Center is the parent organization of NC Policy Watch.

McCrory’s attorney argued in early November that sovereign immunity guarantees the right to not go to trial and to not be subject to discovery, and he asked the appeals court to reverse the lower court’s decision not to dismiss the case and declare it dismissed as moot.