North Carolina General Statutes § 5 Service and filing of pleadings and other papers

(a)        Service of orders, subsequent pleadings, discovery papers, written motions, written notices, and other similar papers - When required. - Every order required by its terms to be served, every pleading subsequent to the original complaint unless the court otherwise orders because of numerous defendants, every paper relating to discovery required to be served upon a party unless the court otherwise orders, every written motion other than one which may be heard ex parte, and every written notice, appearance, demand, offer of judgment and similar paper shall be served upon each of the parties, but no service need be made on parties in default for failure to appear except that pleadings asserting new or additional claims for relief against them shall be served upon them in the manner provided for service of summons in Rule 4.

(a1)      Service of briefs or memoranda in support or opposition of certain dispositive motions. - In actions in superior court, every brief or memorandum in support of or in opposition to a motion to dismiss, a motion for judgment on the pleadings, a motion for summary judgment, or any other motion seeking a final determination of the rights of the parties as to one or more of the claims or parties in the action shall be served upon each of the parties at least two days before the hearing on the motion. If the brief or memorandum is not served on the other parties at least two days before the hearing on the motion, the court may continue the matter for a reasonable period to allow the responding party to prepare a response, proceed with the matter without considering the untimely served brief or memorandum, or take such other action as the ends of justice require. The parties may, by consent, alter the period of time for service. For the purpose of this two-day requirement only, service shall mean personal delivery, facsimile transmission, or other means such that the party actually receives the brief within the required time.

(b)        Service - How made. - A pleading setting forth a counterclaim or cross claim shall be filed with the court and a copy thereof shall be served on the party against whom it is asserted or on the party's attorney of record as provided by this subsection.

With respect to all pleadings subsequent to the original complaint and other papers required or permitted to be served, service shall be made upon the party's attorney of record and, if ordered by the court, also upon the party. If the party has no attorney of record, service shall be made upon the party. With respect to such other pleadings and papers, service with due return may be made in a manner provided for service and return of process in Rule 4. Service under this subsection may also be made by one of the following methods:

(1)        Upon a party's attorney of record:

a.         By delivering a copy to the attorney. Delivery of a copy within this sub-subdivision means handing it to the attorney, leaving it at the attorney's office with a partner or employee, or sending it to the attorney's office by a confirmed telefacsimile transmittal for receipt by 5:00 P.M. Eastern Time on a regular business day, as evidenced by a telefacsimile receipt confirmation. If receipt of delivery by telefacsimile is after 5:00 P.M., service will be deemed to have been completed on the next business day.

b.         By mailing a copy to the attorney's office.

(2)        Upon a party:

a.         By delivering a copy to the party. Delivery of a copy within this sub-subdivision means handing it to the party.

b.         By mailing a copy to the party at the party's last known address or, if no address is known, by filing it with the clerk of court.

Service by mail shall be complete upon deposit of the pleading or paper enclosed in a post-paid, properly addressed wrapper in a post office or official depository under the exclusive care and custody of the United States Postal Service.

(b1)      Service - Certificate of Service. - A certificate of service shall accompany every pleading and every paper required to be served on any party or nonparty to the litigation, except with respect to pleadings and papers whose service is governed by Rule 4. The certificate shall show the date and method of service or the date of acceptance of service and shall show the name and service address of each person upon whom the paper has been served. If one or more persons are served by facsimile transmission, the certificate shall also show the telefacsimile number of each person so served. Each certificate of service shall be signed in accordance with and subject to Rule 11 of these rules.

(c)        Service - Numerous defendants. - In any action in which there are unusually large numbers of defendants, the court, upon motion or of its own initiative, may order that service of the pleadings of the defendants and replies thereto need not be made as between the defendants and that any crossclaim, counterclaim, or matter constituting an avoidance or affirmative defense contained therein shall be deemed to be denied or avoided by all other parties and that the filing of any such pleading and service thereof upon the plaintiff constitutes due notice of it to the parties. A copy of every such order shall be served upon the parties in such manner and form as the court directs.

(d)       Filing. - The following papers shall be filed with the court, either before service or within five days after service:

(1)        All pleadings, as defined by Rule 7(a) of these rules, subsequent to the complaint, whether such pleadings are original or amended.

(2)        Written motions and all notices of hearing.

(3)        Any other application to the court for an order that may affect the rights of or in any way commands any individual, business entity, governmental agency, association, or partnership to act or to forego action of any kind.

(4)        Notices of appearance.

(5)        Any other paper required by rule or statute to be filed.

(6)        Any other paper so ordered by the court.

(7)        All orders issued by the court.

All other papers, regardless of whether these rules require them to be served upon a party, should not be filed with the court unless (i) the filing is agreed to by all parties, or (ii) the papers are submitted to the court in relation to a motion or other request for relief, or (iii) the filing is permitted by another rule or statute. Briefs or memoranda provided to the court may not be filed with the clerk of court unless ordered by the court. The party taking a deposition or obtaining material through discovery is responsible for its preservation and delivery to the court if needed or so ordered.

(e)       (1)        Filing with the court defined. - The filing of pleadings and other papers with the court as required by these rules shall be made by filing them with the clerk of the court, except that the judge may permit the papers to be filed with him, in which event he shall note thereon the filing date and forthwith transmit them to the office of the clerk.

(2)        Filing by electronic means. - If, pursuant to G.S. 7A-34 and G.S. 7A-343, the Supreme Court and the Administrative Officer of the Courts establish uniform rules, regulations, costs, procedures and specifications for the filing of pleadings or other court papers by electronic means, filing may be made by the electronic means when, in the manner, and to the extent provided therein.  (1967, c. 954, s. 1; 1971, c. 538; c. 1156, s. 2.5; 1975, c. 762, s. 1; 1983, c. 201, s. 1; 1985, c. 546; 1991, c. 168, s. 1; 2000-127, s. 1; 2001-379, s. 3; 2001-388, s. 1; 2001-487, s. 107.5(a); 2004-199, s. 5(a); 2005-138, ss. 1, 2; 2006-187, s. 2(a); 2011-332, s. 4.2.)

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Last modified: March 23, 2014