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Justice Mitchell is the retired Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court. At Womble Carlyle, he was actively involved in the firm’s appellate and government relations practices. His recent experiences included successfully defending corporate incentives in a landmark North Carolina lawsuit.
*Retired Partner, Emeritus
Justice Mitchell retired as the Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court to head Womble Carlyle’s appellate advocacy and government relations groups. As a judge, he authored 484 appellate decisions for the Supreme Court of North Carolina and the North Carolina Court of Appeals. For more than 30 years, Justice Mitchell has served both as an advocate and judge in handling landmark cases in North Carolina and elsewhere in the United States. He has been involved in a wide range of cases as diverse as appearing as amicus for the State of North Carolina in establishing that the United States Constitution does not include a right to public education to successfully establishing the constitutionality of a statutory cap on punitive damages in 2004.
Justice Mitchell was recently selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America in the fields of Appellate Practice, Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation and Product Liability Litigation – Defendants. In 2015, Justice Mitchell was named as a Best Lawyers – “Lawyer of the Year” in Appellate Practice. In 2007, Justice Mitchell received the prestigious North Carolina Award for Public Service, the highest civilian honor the state can bestow, and the North Carolina State University Alumni Association’s College Meritorious Service Award. Justice Mitchell was also awarded the North Carolina Bar Association’s Liberty Bell Award in 2011, in recognition of outstanding community service that has strengthened the American system of Freedom Law. Click here to read an article on the honor, “Liberty Bell Recipient Burley Mitchell Reflects on Extraordinary Career,” as published in the North Carolina Bar Association’s North Carolina Lawyer.
Reported Cases Counsel in: San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S.1; 93 S. Ct. 1278; 1973 U.S. Lexis 91; 36 L. Ed. 2d 16 (1973) (establishing that U.S. Constitution does not include a right to public education) (counsel for the State of North Carolina, amicus curiae); Rhyne v. K-Mart Corp., 358 N.C. 160, 594 S.E. 2d 1 (2004) (constitutionality of statutory cap on punitive damages); Howerton v. Arai Helmet, LTD, 358 N.C. 440, 597 S.E. 2d 674 (2004) (established test for admissibility of expert testimony in NC); Harrison v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 613 S.E.2d 322, N.C.App., Jun 07, 2005 (affirming denial of class certification in an action by past and present employees); Blinson v. State, 186 N.C.App. 328, 651 S.E.2d 268 (2007) ( upholding the constitutionality of economic development incentives granted to Dell, Inc. for establishing a manufacturing facility in N.C.).
Author of 484 appellate decisions for the Supreme Court of North Carolina and the North Carolina Court of Appeals. These include landmark Supreme Court decisions in: Leandro v. State, 346 N.C. 336, 488 S.E.2d 249 (1997) (state constitutional right to public education); Gwathmey v. State, 342 N.C. 287, 464 S.E.2d 674 (1995) (public access to navigable waters under public trust doctrine); Moss v. JC Bradford & Co., 337 N.C. 315, 446 S.E.2d 799 (1994) (issue of liability of commodities merchant for liquidating plaintiff’s under-margined account without prior demand or notice); In re Guess, 327 N.C. 46, 393 S.E.2d 833 (1990) (homeopathic medicine, regulation under the police power); Hall v. Post, 323 N.C. 259, 372 S.E.2d 711 (1988) (tort of invasion of privacy by public disclosure of truthful but embarrassing facts); Crow v. Citicorp Acceptance Co., 319 N.C. 274, 354 S.E.2d 459 (1987) (establishing prerequisites for class actions in North Carolina); Speck v. North Carolina Dairy Foundation, 311 N.C. 679, 319 S.E.2d 139 (1984) (whether plaintiff acquired interest in secret process he discovered while employed as professor and researcher by defendants); Renwick v. News & Observer, 310 N.C. 312, S.E.2d 405 (1983) (false light invasion of privacy tort).