(a) Consolidation. - Except as provided in subdivision (b)(2) of this section, when actions involving a common question of law or fact are pending in one division of the court, the judge may order a joint hearing or trial of any or all the matters in issue in the actions; he may order all the actions consolidated; and he may make such orders concerning proceedings therein as may tend to avoid unnecessary costs or delay. When actions involving a common question of law or fact are pending in both the superior and the district court of the same county, a judge of the superior court in which the action is pending may order all the actions consolidated, and he may make such orders concerning proceedings therein as may tend to avoid unnecessary costs or delay.
(b) Separate trials. -
(1) The court may in furtherance of convenience or to avoid prejudice and shall for considerations of venue upon timely motion order a separate trial of any claim, cross-claim, counterclaim, or third-party claim, or of any separate issue or of any number of claims, cross-claims, counterclaims, third-party claims, or issues.
(2) Upon motion of any party in an action that includes a claim commenced under Article 1G of Chapter 90 of the General Statutes involving a managed care entity as defined in G.S. 90-21.50, the court shall order separate discovery and a separate trial of any claim, cross-claim, counterclaim, or third-party claim against a physician or other medical provider.
(3) Upon motion of any party in an action in tort wherein the plaintiff seeks damages exceeding one hundred fifty thousand dollars ($150,000), the court shall order separate trials for the issue of liability and the issue of damages, unless the court for good cause shown orders a single trial. Evidence relating solely to compensatory damages shall not be admissible until the trier of fact has determined that the defendant is liable. The same trier of fact that tries the issues relating to liability shall try the issues relating to damages. (1967, c. 954, s. 1; 2001-446, s. 4.8; 2011-400, s. 2.)
Last modified: March 23, 2014