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Huttig Building Products v. McDonald

Court of Appeals of North Carolina

May 20, 2014

HUTTIG BUILDING PRODUCTS, INC., Plaintiff
v.
ANGUS ALLAN MCDONALD, JR., Defendant

Heard in the Court of Appeals: April 7, 2014.

Wake County. No. 12 CVD 1235.

Smith, Debnam, Narron, Drake, Saintsing & Myers, LLP, by Gerald H. Groon, Jr., for plaintiff-appellee.

Robbins May & Rich, LLP, by P. Wayne Robbins and Neil T. Oakley, for defendant-appellant.

CALABRIA, Judge. Chief Judge MARTIN and Judge McGEE concur.

OPINION

CALABRIA, Judge.

Appeal by defendant from order entered 13 August 2013 by Judge Michael J. O'Foghludha in Wake County Superior Court.

Angus Allan McDonald, Jr. (" defendant" ) appeals from the trial court's order which required Branch Banking and Trust Company (" BB& T" ) to release funds from defendant's joint bank accounts to Huttig Building Products, Inc. (" plaintiff" ). We dismiss the appeal.

On 10 May 2012, the Wake County District Court entered a judgment in favor of plaintiff against defendant in the amount of $31,985.58 plus interest and attorney's fees. On 5 November 2012, plaintiff filed a motion with the Wake County Clerk of Superior Court (" the Clerk" ) seeking, inter alia, an order compelling BB& T to turn over any funds in its possession that belonged to defendant to plaintiff's counsel to be applied to the judgment. On 8 January 2013, the Clerk entered an order directing BB& T to release $9,089.69 from defendant's various accounts with BB& T to plaintiff, by and through its attorneys.

Defendant appealed the Clerk's order to the Wake County Superior Court. After a hearing, the trial court entered an order directing BB& T to release the $9,089.60 in defendant's accounts to plaintiff, by and through its attorneys. Defendant appeals.

Defendant's sole argument on appeal is that the trial court erred by ordering BB& T to release all of the funds from four BB& T accounts that defendant held jointly with other family members. Defendant contends that he " has no interest in the BB& T accounts because [defendant]'s elderly mother and teenaged children contributed all of the funds to the BB& T accounts."

However, we are unable to consider defendant's argument because " only a 'party aggrieved' may appeal a trial court order or judgment, and such a party is one whose rights have been directly or injuriously affected by the action of the court." Bailey v. State, 353 N.C. 142, 156, 540 S.E.2d 313, 322 (2000). If, as defendant has admitted, he has no interest in the challenged funds, defendant likewise has no interest which would allow him to appeal the trial court's order. Defendant's rights were not directly or injuriously affected when the trial court directed the BB& T funds, which defendant acknowledges he did not own, to be turned over to plaintiff. Thus, he will receive no benefit from a reversal of the trial court's order. Instead, the funds at issue would be restored to a nonparty [1] and defendant would remain liable to plaintiff for the portion of his prior judgment that the BB& T funds were intended to satisfy.

Page 694

In Langley v. Gore, 242 N.C. 302, 87 S.E.2d 519 (1955), the appeal was " directed solely to the judgment of the court below in respect to disposition of the fund of money in the hands of the Clerk of Superior Court." Id. at 303, 87 S.E.2d at 520. The Court concluded that the defendant-appellants were not a party aggrieved because there was

nothing in the record to show that defendants have any interest in, or claim to [the funds at issue]. Indeed, defendants say in their brief, filed on this appeal, that they " did not claim the fund as theirs personally." They assert, however, reasons why they think plaintiffs are not entitled to the fund.

Id. Consequently, the Langley Court dismissed the appeal ex mero motu.

In the instant case, defendant, like the defendants in Langley, expressly disclaims any interest in the funds at issue in this appeal and instead " assert[s] . . . reasons why [he] think[s] plaintiff[ is] not entitled to the fund." Id. Thus, we are bound by Langley to conclude that defendant is not a party aggrieved by the trial court's order. Accordingly, we lack jurisdiction to consider defendant's challenges to the court's order and must dismiss defendant's appeal. See Gaskins v. Blount Fertilizer Co., 260 N.C. 191, 195, 132 S.E.2d 345, 347 (1963) (per curiam) (" Where a party is not aggrieved by the judicial order entered . . . his appeal will be dismissed." ).

Dismissed.

MARTIN Chief Judge and McGEE Judge concur.


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