North Carolina Court of Appeals Uses Lenient Standard of Review in Affirming Denial of Class Certification

In a decision filed today, the North Carolina Court of Appeals held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in declining to certify a class of Currituck County property owners upset about an easement affecting their coastal property. After observing that denial of class certification affects a substantial right, the Court upheld the trial court’s findings that the Parker’s Landing Property Owners’ Association, Inc. (“POA”), the putative class representative, had a conflict with the members of the class and had not shown that “it would be impractical to join all the members of the class.” The standard of review framed by the court was decidedly lenient. The trial court order, it found, was not “manifestly unsupported by reason” or “so arbitrary that it could not have been the result of a reasoned decision.” In a companion case, the Court indicated that this dispute has been ongoing for seven years, and required “sorting through the quagmire” “thrown before this Court.”