LEGAL GUIDE
Written by attorney Bill Powers

Pleadings Allowed; 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.)

Additional resources provided by the author

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 actions involving a material issue related to any of the subjects listed in G.S. 7A-45.4(a)(1), (2), (3), (4), (5), or (8), the pleading shall state whether or not relief is demanded for damages incurred or to be incurred in an amount equal to or exceeding five million dollars ($5,000,000). 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 twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000), 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 twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000). 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; 2014-102, s. 7; 2014-115, s. 18.5.)

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