Pleadings and Motions.
Rule 7. Pleadings allowed; motions.
(a) Pleadings. – There shall be a complaint and an answer; a reply to a counterclaim denominated as such; an answer to a crossclaim, if the answer contains a crossclaim; a third‑party complaint if a person who was not an original party is summoned under the provisions of Rule 14; and a third‑party answer, if a third‑party complaint is served. If the answer alleges contributory negligence, a party may serve a reply alleging last clear chance. No other pleading shall be allowed except that the court may order a reply to an answer or a third‑party answer.
(b) Motions and other papers. –
(1) An application to the court for an order shall be by motion which, unless made during a hearing or trial or at a session at which a cause is on the calendar for that session, shall be made in writing, shall state with particularity the grounds therefor, and shall set forth the relief or order sought. The requirement of writing is fulfilled if the motion is stated in a written notice of the hearing of the motion.
(2) The rules applicable to captions, signing, and other matters of form of pleadings apply to all motions and other papers provided for by these rules.
(3) A motion to transfer under G.S. 7A‑258 shall comply with the directives therein specified but the relief thereby obtainable may also be sought in a responsive pleading pursuant to Rule 12(b).
(4) A motion in a civil action in a county that is part of a multicounty judicial district may be heard in another county which is part of that same judicial district with the permission of the senior resident superior court judge of that district or of that judge's designee. Except for emergencies as determined by the senior resident superior court judge or that judge's designee, a motion in a civil action to be heard outside the county in which the case is filed shall be heard at a civil session of court.
(c) Demurrers, pleas, etc., abolished. – Demurrers, pleas, and exceptions for insufficiency shall not be used.
(d) Pleadings not read to jury. – Unless otherwise ordered by the judge, pleadings shall not be read to the jury. (1967, c. 954, s. 1; 1971, c. 1156, s. 1; 2000‑127, s. 2; 2005‑163, s. 1; 2011‑317, s. 1.)
Rule 8. General rules of pleadings.
(a) Claims for relief. – A pleading which sets forth a claim for relief, whether an original claim, counterclaim, crossclaim, or third‑party claim shall contain
(1) A short and plain statement of the claim sufficiently particular to give the court and the parties notice of the transactions, occurrences, or series of transactions or occurrences, intended to be proved showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, and
(2) A demand for judgment for the relief to which he deems himself entitled. Relief in the alternative or of several different types may be demanded. In all negligence actions, and in all claims for punitive damages in any civil action, wherein the matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of ten thousand dollars ($10,000), the pleading shall not state the demand for monetary relief, but shall state that the relief demanded is for damages incurred or to be incurred in excess of ten thousand dollars ($10,000). However, at any time after service of the claim for relief, any party may request of the claimant a written statement of the monetary relief sought, and the claimant shall, within 30 days after such service, provide such statement, which shall not be filed with the clerk until the action has been called for trial or entry of default entered. Such statement may be amended in the manner and at times as provided by Rule 15.
(b) Defenses; form of denials. – A party shall state in short and plain terms his defenses to each claim asserted and shall admit or deny the averments upon which the adverse party relies. If he is without knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the truth of an averment, he shall so state and this has the effect of a denial. Denials shall fairly meet the substance of the averments denied. When a pleader intends in good faith to deny only a part of or a qualification of an averment, he shall specify so much of it as is true and material and shall deny only the remainder. Unless the pleader intends in good faith to controvert all the averments of the preceding pleading, he may make his denials as specific denials of designated averments or paragraphs, or he may generally deny all the averments except such designated averments or paragraphs as he expressly admits; but, when he does so intend to controvert all its averments, he may do so by general denial subject to the obligations set forth in Rule 11.
(c) Affirmative defenses. – In pleading to a preceding pleading, a party shall set forth affirmatively accord and satisfaction, arbitration and award, assumption of risk, contributory negligence, discharge in bankruptcy, duress, estoppel, failure of consideration, fraud, illegality, injury by fellow servant, laches, license, payment, release, res judicata, statute of frauds, statute of limitations, truth in actions for defamation, usury, waiver, and any other matter constituting an avoidance or affirmative defense. Such pleading shall contain a short and plain statement of any matter constituting an avoidance or affirmative defense sufficiently particular to give the court and the parties notice of the transactions, occurrences, or series of transactions or occurrences, intended to be proved. When a party has mistakenly designated a defense as a counterclaim or a counterclaim as a defense, the court, on terms, if justice so requires, shall treat the pleading as if there had been a proper designation.
(d) Effect of failure to deny. – Averments in a pleading to which a responsive pleading is required, other than those as to the amount of damage, are admitted when not denied in the responsive pleading. Averments in a pleading to which no responsive pleading is required or permitted shall be taken as denied or avoided.
(e) Pleading to be concise and direct; consistency. –
(1) Each averment of a pleading shall be simple, concise, and direct. No technical forms of pleading or motions are required.
(2) A party may set forth two or more statements of a claim or defense alternatively or hypothetically, either in one count or defense or in separate counts or defenses. When two or more statements are made in the alternative and one of them if made independently would be sufficient, the pleading is not made insufficient by the insufficiency of one or more of the alternative statements. A party may also state as many separate claims or defenses as he has regardless of consistency and whether based on legal or on equitable grounds or on both. All statements shall be made subject to the obligations set forth in Rule 11.
(f) Construction of pleadings. – All pleadings shall be so construed as to do substantial justice. (1967, c. 954, s. 1; 1975, 2nd Sess., c. 977, s. 5; 1979, ch. 654, s. 4; 1985 (Reg. Sess., 1986), c. 1027, s. 56; 1989 (Reg. Sess., 1990), c. 995, s. 1.)
Rule 9. Pleading special matters.
(a) Capacity. – Any party not a natural person shall make an affirmative averment showing its legal existence and capacity to sue. Any party suing in any representative capacity shall make an affirmative averment showing his capacity and authority to sue. When a party desires to raise an issue as to the legal existence of any party or the capacity of any party to sue or be sued or the authority of a party to sue or be sued in a representative capacity, he shall do so by specific negative averment, which shall include such supporting particulars as are peculiarly within the pleader's knowledge.
(b) Fraud, duress, mistake, condition of the mind. – In all averments of fraud, duress or mistake, the circumstances constituting fraud or mistake shall be stated with particularity. Malice, intent, knowledge, and other condition of mind of a person may be averred generally.
(c) Conditions precedent. – In pleading the performance or occurrence of conditions precedent, it is sufficient to aver generally that all conditions precedent have been performed or have occurred. A denial of performance or occurrence shall be made specifically and with particularity.
(d) Official document or act. – In pleading an official document or official act it is sufficient to aver that the document was issued or the act done in compliance with law.
(e) Judgment. – In pleading a judgment, decision or ruling of a domestic or foreign court, judicial or quasi‑judicial tribunal, or of a board or officer, it is sufficient to aver the judgment, decision or ruling without setting forth matter showing jurisdiction to render it.
(f) Time and place. – For the purpose of testing the sufficiency of a pleading, averments of time and place are material and shall be considered like all other averments of material matter.
(g) Special damage. – When items of special damage are claimed each shall be averred.
(h) Private statutes. – In pleading a private statute or right derived therefrom it is sufficient to refer to the statute by its title or the day of its ratification if ratified before January 1, 1996, or the date it becomes law if it becomes law on or after January 1, 1996, and the court shall thereupon take judicial notice of it.
(i) Libel and slander. –
(1) In an action for libel or slander it is not necessary to state in the complaint any extrinsic facts for the purpose of showing the application to the plaintiff of the defamatory matter out of which the claim for relief arose, but it is sufficient to state generally that the same was published or spoken concerning the plaintiff, and if such allegation is controverted, the plaintiff is bound to establish on trial that it was so published or spoken.
(2) The defendant may in his answer allege both the truth of the matter charged as defamatory, and any mitigating circumstances to reduce the amount of damages; and whether he proves the justification or not, he may give in evidence the mitigating circumstances.
(j) Medical malpractice. – Any complaint alleging medical malpractice by a health care provider pursuant to G.S. 90‑21.11(2)a. in failing to comply with the applicable standard of care under G.S. 90‑21.12 shall be dismissed unless:
(1) The pleading specifically asserts that the medical care and all medical records pertaining to the alleged negligence that are available to the plaintiff after reasonable inquiry have been reviewed by a person who is reasonably expected to qualify as an expert witness under Rule 702 of the Rules of Evidence and who is willing to testify that the medical care did not comply with the applicable standard of care;
(2) The pleading specifically asserts that the medical care and all medical records pertaining to the alleged negligence that are available to the plaintiff after reasonable inquiry have been reviewed by a person that the complainant will seek to have qualified as an expert witness by motion under Rule 702(e) of the Rules of Evidence and who is willing to testify that the medical care did not comply with the applicable standard of care, and the motion is filed with the complaint; or
(3) The pleading alleges facts establishing negligence under the existing common‑law doctrine of res ipsa loquitur.
Upon motion by the complainant prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations, a resident judge of the superior court for a judicial district in which venue for the cause of action is appropriate under G.S. 1‑82 or, if no resident judge for that judicial district is physically present in that judicial district, otherwise available, or able or willing to consider the motion, then any presiding judge of the superior court for that judicial district may allow a motion to extend the statute of limitations for a period not to exceed 120 days to file a complaint in a medical malpractice action in order to comply with this Rule, upon a determination that good cause exists for the granting of the motion and that the ends of justice would be served by an extension. The plaintiff shall provide, at the request of the defendant, proof of compliance with this subsection through up to ten written interrogatories, the answers to which shall be verified by the expert required under this subsection. These interrogatories do not count against the interrogatory limit under Rule 33.
(k) Punitive damages. – A demand for punitive damages shall be specifically stated, except for the amount, and the aggravating factor that supports the award of punitive damages shall be averred with particularity. The amount of damages shall be pled in accordance with Rule 8. (1967, c. 954, s. 1; 1995, c. 20, s. 10; c. 309, s. 2; c. 514, s. 3; 1998‑217, s. 61; 2001‑121, s. 1; 2011‑400, s. 3.)
Rule 10. Form of pleadings.
(a) Caption; names of parties. – Every pleading shall contain a caption setting forth the division of the court in which the action is filed, the title of the action, and a designation as in Rule 7(a). In the complaint the title of the action shall include the names of all the parties, but in other pleadings it is sufficient to state the name of the first party on each side with an appropriate indication of other parties.
(b) Paragraphs; separate statement. – All averments of claim or defense shall be made in numbered paragraphs, the contents of each of which be limited as far as practicable to a statement of a single set of circumstances; and a paragraph may be referred to by number in all succeeding pleadings. Each claim founded upon a separate transaction or occurrence and each defense other than denials shall be stated in a separate count or defense whenever a separation facilitates the clear presentation of the matters set forth.
(c) Adoption by reference; exhibits. – Statements in a pleading may be adopted by reference in a different part of the same pleading or in another pleading or in any motion in the action. A copy of any written instrument which is an exhibit to a pleading is a part thereof for all purposes. (1967, c. 954, s. 1.)
Rule 11. Signing and verification of pleadings.
(a) Signing by Attorney. – Every pleading, motion, and other paper of a party represented by an attorney shall be signed by at least one attorney of record in his individual name, whose address shall be stated. A party who is not represented by an attorney shall sign his pleading, motion, or other paper and state his address. Except when otherwise specifically provided by rule or statute, pleadings need not be verified or accompanied by affidavit. The signature of an attorney or party constitutes a certificate by him that he has read the pleading, motion, or other paper; that to the best of his knowledge, information, and belief formed after reasonable inquiry it is well grounded in fact and is warranted by existing law or a good faith argument for the extension, modification, or reversal of existing law, and that it is not interposed for any improper purpose, such as to harass or to cause unnecessary delay or needless increase in the cost of litigation. If a pleading, motion, or other paper is not signed, it shall be stricken unless it is signed promptly after the omission is called to the attention of the pleader or movant. If a pleading, motion, or other paper is signed in violation of this rule, the court, upon motion or upon its own initiative, shall impose upon the person who signed it, a represented party, or both, an appropriate sanction, which may include an order to pay to the other party or parties the amount of the reasonable expenses incurred because of the filing of the pleading, motion, or other paper, including a reasonable attorney's fee.
(b) Verification of pleadings by a party. – In any case in which verification of a pleading shall be required by these rules or by statute, it shall state in substance that the contents of the pleading verified are true to the knowledge of the person making the verification, except as to those matters stated on information and belief, and as to those matters he believes them to be true. Such verification shall be by affidavit of the party, or if there are several parties united in interest and pleading together, by at least one of such parties acquainted with the facts and capable of making the affidavit. Such affidavit may be made by the agent or attorney of a party in the cases and in the manner provided in section (c) of this rule.
(c) Verification of pleadings by an agent or attorney. – Such verification may be made by the agent or attorney of a party for whom the pleading is filed, if the action or defense is founded upon a written instrument for the payment of money only and the instrument or a true copy thereof is in the possession of the agent or attorney, or if all the material allegations of the pleadings are within the personal knowledge of the agent or attorney. When the pleading is verified by such agent or attorney, he shall set forth in the affidavit:
(1) That the action or defense is founded upon a written instrument for the payment of money only and the instrument or a true copy thereof is in his possession, or
(2) a. That all the material allegations of the pleadings are true to his personal knowledge and
b. The reasons why the affidavit is not made by the party.
(d) Verification by corporation or the State. – When a corporation is a party the verification may be made by any officer, or managing or local agent thereof upon whom summons might be served; and when the State or any officer thereof in its behalf is a party, the verification may be made by any person acquainted with the facts. (1967, c. 954, s. 1; 1985 (Reg. Sess., 1986), c. 1027, s. 55.)
Rule 12. Defenses and objections; When and how presented; by pleading or motion; motion for judgment on pleading.
(a) (1) When Presented. – A defendant shall serve his answer within 30 days after service of the summons and complaint upon him. A party served with a pleading stating a crossclaim against him shall serve an answer thereto within 30 days after service upon him. The plaintiff shall serve his reply to a counterclaim in the answer within 30 days after service of the answer or, if a reply is ordered by the court, within 30 days after service of the order, unless the order otherwise directs. Service of a motion permitted under this rule alters these periods of time as follows, unless a different time is fixed by order of the court:
a. The responsive pleading shall be served within 20 days after notice of the court's action in ruling on the motion or postponing its disposition until the trial on the merits;
b. If the court grants a motion for a more definite statement, the responsive pleading shall be served within 20 days after service of the more definite statement.
(2) Cases Removed to United States District Court. – Upon the filing in a district court of the United States of a petition for the removal of a civil action or proceeding from a court in this State and the filing of a copy of the petition in the State court, the State court shall proceed no further therein unless and until the case is remanded. If it shall be finally determined in the United States courts that the action or proceeding was not removable or was improperly removed, or for other reason should be remanded, and a final order is entered remanding the action or proceeding to the State court, the defendant or defendants, or any other party who would have been permitted or required to file a pleading had the proceedings to remove not been instituted, shall have 30 days after the filing in such State court of a certified copy of the order of remand to file motions and to answer or otherwise plead.
(b) How Presented. – Every defense, in law or fact, to a claim for relief in any pleading, whether a claim, counterclaim, crossclaim, or third‑party claim, shall be asserted in the responsive pleading thereto if one is required, except that the following defenses may at the option of the pleader be made by motion:
(1) Lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter,
(2) Lack of jurisdiction over the person,
(3) Improper venue or division,
(4) Insufficiency of process,
(5) Insufficiency of service of process,
(6) Failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted,
(7) Failure to join a necessary party.
A motion making any of these defenses shall be made before pleading if a further pleading is permitted. The consequences of failure to make such a motion shall be as provided in sections (g) and (h). No defense or objection is waived by being joined with one or more other defenses or objections in a responsive pleading or motion. Obtaining an extension of time within which to answer or otherwise plead shall not constitute a waiver of any defense herein set forth. If a pleading sets forth a claim for relief to which the adverse party is not required to serve a responsive pleading, he may assert at the trial any defense in law or fact to that claim for relief. If, on a motion asserting the defense numbered (6), to dismiss for failure of the pleading to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, matters outside the pleading are presented to and not excluded by the court, the motion shall be treated as one for summary judgment and disposed of as provided in Rule 56, and all parties shall be given reasonable opportunity to present all material made pertinent to such a motion by Rule 56.
(c) Motion for judgment on the pleadings. – After the pleadings are closed but within such time as not to delay the trial, any party may move for judgment on the pleadings. If, on a motion for judgment on the pleadings, matters outside the pleadings are presented to and not excluded by the court, the motion shall be treated as one for summary judgment and disposed of as provided in Rule 56, and all parties shall be given reasonable opportunity to present all material made pertinent to such a motion by Rule 56.
(d) Preliminary hearings. – The defenses specifically enumerated (1) through (7) in section (b) of this rule, whether made in a pleading or by motion, and the motion for judgment on the pleadings mentioned in section (c) of this rule shall be heard and determined before trial on application of any party, unless the judge orders that the hearing and determination thereof be deferred until the trial.
(e) Motion for more definite statement. – If a pleading to which a responsive pleading is permitted is so vague or ambiguous that a party cannot reasonably be required to frame a responsive pleading, he may move for a more definite statement before interposing his responsive pleading. The motion shall point out the defects complained of and the details desired. If the motion is granted and the order of the judge is not obeyed within 20 days after notice of the order or within such other time as the judge may fix, the judge may strike the pleading to which the motion was directed or make such orders as he deems just.
(f) Motion to strike. – Upon motion made by a party before responding to a pleading or, if no responsive pleading is permitted by these rules, upon motion made by a party within 30 days after the service of the pleading upon him or upon the judge's own initiative at any time, the judge may order stricken from any pleading any insufficient defense or any redundant, irrelevant, immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous matter.
(g) Consolidation of defenses in motion. – A party who makes a motion under this rule may join with it any other motions herein provided for and then available to him. If a party makes a motion under this rule but omits therefrom any defense or objection then available to him which this rule permits to be raised by motion, he shall not thereafter make a motion based on the defense or objection so omitted, except a motion as provided in section (h)(2) hereof on any of the grounds there stated.
(h) Waiver or preservation of certain defenses. –
(1) A defense of lack of jurisdiction over the person, improper venue, insufficiency of process, or insufficiency of service of process is waived (i) if omitted from a motion in the circumstances described in section (g), or (ii) if it is neither made by motion under this rule nor included in a responsive pleading or an amendment thereof permitted by Rule 15(a) to be made as a matter of course.
(2) A defense of failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, a defense of failure to join a necessary party, and an objection of failure to state a legal defense to a claim may be made in any pleading permitted or ordered under Rule 7(a), or by motion for judgment on the pleadings, or at the trial on the merits.
(3) Whenever it appears by suggestion of the parties or otherwise that the court lacks jurisdiction of the subject matter, the court shall dismiss the action. (1967, c. 954, s. 1; 1971, c. 1236; 1975, c. 76, s. 2.)
Rule 13. Counterclaim and crossclaim.
(a) Compulsory counterclaims. – A pleading shall state as a counterclaim any claim which at the time of serving the pleading the pleader has against any opposing party, if it arises out of the transaction or occurrence that is the subject matter of the opposing party's claim and does not require for its adjudication the presence of third parties of whom the court cannot acquire jurisdiction. But the pleader need not state the claim if
(1) At the time the action was commenced the claim was the subject of another pending action, or
(2) The opposing party brought suit upon his claim by attachment or other process by which the court did not acquire jurisdiction to render a personal judgment on that claim, and the pleader is not stating any counterclaim under this rule.
(b) Permissive counterclaim. – A pleading may state as a counterclaim any claim against an opposing party not arising out of the transaction or occurrence that is the subject matter of the opposing party's claim.
(c) Counterclaim exceeding opposing claim. – A counterclaim may or may not diminish or defeat the recovery sought by the opposing party. It may claim relief exceeding in amount or different in kind from that sought in the pleading of the opposing party.
(d) Counterclaim against the State of North Carolina. – These rules shall not be construed to enlarge beyond the limits fixed by law the right to assert counterclaims or to claim credit against the State of North Carolina or an officer or agency thereof.
(e) Counterclaim maturing or acquired after pleading. – A claim which either matured or was acquired by the pleader after serving his pleading may, with the permission of the court, be presented as a counterclaim by supplemental pleading.
(f) Omitted counterclaim. – When a pleader fails to set up a counterclaim through oversight, inadvertence, or excusable neglect, or when justice requires, he may by leave of court set up the counterclaim by amendment.
(g) Crossclaim against coparty. – A pleading may state as a crossclaim any claim by one party against a coparty arising out of the transaction or occurrence that is the subject matter either of the original action or of a counterclaim therein or relating to any property that is the subject matter of the original action. Such crossclaim may include a claim that the party against whom it is asserted is or may be liable to the crossclaimant for all or part of a claim asserted in the action against the crossclaimant.
(h) Additional parties may be brought in. – When the presence of parties other than those to the original action is required for the granting of complete relief in the determination of a counterclaim or crossclaim, the court shall order them to be brought in as defendants as provided in these rules, if jurisdiction of them can be obtained.
(i) Separate trial; separate judgment. – If the court orders separate trials as provided in Rule 42(b), judgment on a counterclaim or crossclaim may be rendered in accordance with the terms of Rule 54(b) when the court has jurisdiction so to do, even if the claims of the opposing party have been dismissed or otherwise disposed of. (1967, c. 954, s. 1.)
Rule 14. Third‑party practice.
(a) When defendant may bring in third party. – At any time after commencement of the action a defendant, as a third‑party plaintiff, may cause a summons and complaint to be served upon a person not a party to the action who is or may be liable to him for all or part of the plaintiff's claim against him. Leave to make the service need not be obtained if the third‑party complaint is filed not later than 45 days after the answer to the complaint is served. Otherwise leave must be obtained on motion upon notice to all parties to the action. The person served with the summons and third‑party complaint, hereinafter called the third‑party defendant, shall make his defense to the third‑party plaintiff's claim as provided in Rule 12 and his counterclaims against the third‑party plaintiff and crossclaim against other third‑party defendants as provided in Rule 13. The third‑party defendant may assert against the plaintiff any defenses which the third‑party plaintiff has to the plaintiff's claim. The third‑party defendant may also assert any claim against the plaintiff arising out of the transaction or occurrence that is the subject matter of the plaintiff's claim against the third‑party plaintiff. The plaintiff may assert any claim against the third‑party defendant arising out of the transaction or occurrence that is the subject matter of the plaintiff's claim against the third‑party plaintiff, and the third‑party defendant thereupon shall assert his defenses as provided in Rule 12 and his counterclaims and crossclaims as provided in Rule 13. Any party may move for severance, separate trial, or dismissal of the third‑party claim. A third‑party defendant may proceed under this rule against any person not a party to the action who is or may be liable to him for all or part of the claim made in the action against the third‑party defendant.
Where the normal statute of limitations period in an action arising on a contract is extended as provided in G.S. 1‑47(2) or in any action arising on a contract or promissory note, upon motion of the defendant the court may order to be made parties additional defendants, including any party of whom the plaintiff is a subrogee, assignee, third‑party beneficiary, endorsee, agent or transferee, or such other person as has received the benefit of the contract by transfer of interest.
(b) When plaintiff may bring in third party. – When a counterclaim is asserted against a plaintiff, he may cause a third party to be brought in under circumstances which under this rule would entitle a defendant to do so.
(c) Rule applicable to State of North Carolina. – Notwithstanding the provisions of the Tort Claims Act, the State of North Carolina may be made a third party under subsection (a) or a third‑party defendant under subsection (b) in any tort action. In such cases, the same rules governing liability and the limits of liability of the State and its agencies shall apply as is provided for in the Tort Claims Act. (1967, c. 954, s. 1; 1969, c. 810, s. 2; 1975, c. 587, s. 1; 1981, c. 92; c. 810.)
Rule 15. Amended and supplemental pleadings.
(a) Amendments. – A party may amend his pleading once as a matter of course at any time before a responsive pleading is served or, if the pleading is one to which no responsive pleading is permitted and the action has not been placed upon the trial calendar, he may so amend it at any time within 30 days after it is served. Otherwise a party may amend his pleading only by leave of court or by written consent of the adverse party; and leave shall be freely given when justice so requires. A party shall plead in response to an amended pleading within 30 days after service of the amended pleading, unless the court otherwise orders.
(b) Amendments to conform to the evidence. – When issues not raised by the pleadings are tried by the express or implied consent of the parties, they shall be treated in all respects as if they had been raised in the pleadings. Such amendment of the pleadings as may be necessary to cause them to conform to the evidence and to raise these issues may be made upon motion of any party at any time, either before or after judgment, but failure so to amend does not affect the result of the trial of these issues. If evidence is objected to at the trial on the ground that it is not within the issues raised by the pleadings, the court may allow the pleadings to be amended and shall do so freely when the presentation of the merits of the action will be served thereby and the objecting party fails to satisfy the court that the admission of such evidence would prejudice him in maintaining his action or defense upon the merits. The court may grant a continuance to enable the objecting party to meet such evidence.
(c) Relation back of amendments. – A claim asserted in an amended pleading is deemed to have been interposed at the time the claim in the original pleading was interposed, unless the original pleading does not give notice of the transactions, occurrences, or series of transactions or occurrences, to be proved pursuant to the amended pleading.
(d) Supplemental pleadings. – Upon motion of a party the court may, upon reasonable notice and upon such terms as are just, permit him to serve a supplemental pleading setting forth transactions or occurrences or events which may have happened since the date of the pleading sought to be supplemented, whether or not the original pleading is defective in its statement of a claim for relief or defense. If the court deems it advisable that the adverse party plead thereto, it shall so order, specifying the time therefor. (1967, c. 954, s. 1.)
Rule 16. Pre‑trial procedure; formulating issues.
(a) In any action, the court may in its discretion direct the attorneys for the parties to appear before the court for a conference to consider
(1) The simplification and formulation of the issues;
(2) The necessity or desirability of amendments to the pleadings;
(3) The possibility of obtaining admissions of fact and of documents which will avoid unnecessary proof;
(4) The limitation of the number of expert witnesses;
(5) The advisability or necessity of a reference of the case, either in whole or in part;
(6) Matters of which the court is to be asked to take judicial notice;
(7) Such other matters as may aid in the disposition of the action.
If a conference is held, the judge shall make an order which recites the action taken at the conference, any amendments allowed to the pleadings, and any agreements made by the parties as to any of the matters considered, and which may limit the issues for trial to those not disposed of by admissions or agreements of counsel; and such order when entered controls the subsequent course of the action, unless modified at the trial to prevent manifest injustice. If any issue for trial as stated in the order is not raised by the pleadings in accordance with the provisions of Rule 8, upon motion of any party, the order shall require amendment of the pleadings.
(b) In a medical malpractice action as defined in G.S. 90‑21.11, at the close of the discovery period scheduled pursuant to Rule 26(g), the judge shall schedule a final conference. After the conference, the judge shall refer any consent order calendaring the case for trial to the senior resident superior court judge or the chief district court judge, who shall approve the consent order unless the judge finds that:
(1) The date specified in the order is unavailable,
(2) The terms of the order unreasonably delay the trial, or
(3) The ends of justice would not be served by approving the order.
If the senior resident superior court judge or the chief district court judge does not approve the consent order, the judge shall calendar the case for trial.
In calendaring the case, the court shall take into consideration the nature and complexity of the case, the proximity and convenience of witnesses, the needs of counsel for both parties concerning their respective calendars, the benefits of an early disposition and such other matters as the court may deem proper. (1967, c. 954, s. 1; 1987, c. 859, s. 4; 2011‑199, s. 1.)