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Landlord/Tenant – Civil Practice – Hearing Notice – Attorney’s Fees – Subject Matter Jurisdiction 

Even though, during defense counsel’s vacation, her staff failed to realize that this summary ejectment matter had been added to an amended calendar, since the attorney received the calendar including the hearing in this matter, the defendant-tenant received actual notice of the hearing. Even if local rules and the General Rules of Practice for the Superior and District Courts required earlier publication and distribution of the civil calendar, it is questionable whether a violation of the general calendaring rules was error during the COVID pandemic. Moreover, the trial court considered this issue and we cannot say that it abused its discretion when it concluded that defendant’s notice argument failed to allege the sort of extraordinary circumstances and manifest injustice compelling relief under N.C. R. Civ. P. 60(b)(6). 

We affirm the trial court’s denial of defendant’s Rule 60 motion. Given the lack of a meritorious defense, we decline to issue a writ of certiorari to consider the trial court’s grant of summary judgment to the plaintiff-landlord. 

Ordinarily, a question of subject matter jurisdiction may be raised for the first time on appeal. However, when there are issues of fact, the jurisdictional question of whether a landlord-tenant relationship exists must first be decided at the trial-court level. Defendant’s claim that his oral month-to-month lease was with Lou Roman – rather than with plaintiff LouEve, LLC – must be addressed to the trial court through an appropriate motion under Rule 60(b)(4). 

Dismissed in part; affirmed in part. 

LouEve, LLC v. Ramey (Lawyers Weekly No. 011-182-22, 14 pp.) (Richard Dietz, J.) Appealed from Haywood County District Court (Thomas Foster, J.) David Matney for plaintiff; Edward Bleynat and Matthew Giangrosso for defendant. 2022-NCCOA-710 


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