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Contracts – Building Construction – Case Consolidation – Discovery

Plaintiff and several defendants submitted a status report proposing deadlines for discovery on plaintiff’s negligence claim in the Trussway Action, even though discovery in the Lead and Crescent Actions had ended prior to the filing of the Trussway Action. Defendant opposed any further discovery. Discovery in a later-filed action consolidated with two post-discovery actions could proceed because the action is a distinct suit for which discovery is permitted under the rules of civil procedure.

We order discovery to remain closed in the two prior actions and further order that any discovery in the later-filed action shall not be a part of the summary judgment record in the prior actions.

The court previously ordered three actions, referred to as the Trussway Action, the Crescent Action, and the Lead Action, consolidated for all future proceedings including but not limited to trial. All three actions arose from the construction of a student apartment complex at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

We note the inefficient manner in which plaintiff has prosecuted the litigation. Plaintiff filed the Lead and Crescent Actions several years ago, amending the complaints several times in the interim. We further note that, rather than amending the Lead and Crescent Action complaints to assert the negligence claim in the Trussway Action, plaintiff opted to file the claim in a new action, based on the same facts, and then consolidate it with the Lead and Crescent Actions.

We hold that, in the interest of judicial economy and avoiding inconsistent verdicts and judgments, consolidation of all three actions is necessary. We further exercise our discretion not to deny all discovery ono the negligence claim in the Trussway Action. We hold that, despite being consolidated, the Trussway Action is still a distinct suit entitled to discovery under the rules of civil procedure. But we exercise our discretionary powers to resolve discovery in the Trussway Action in a timely and efficient manner.


So ordered.

Crescent Univ. City Venture, LLC v. AP Atl., Inc. (Lawyers Weekly No. 020-069-18, 12 pp.) (Louis Bledsoe, C.J.) Kiran H. Mehta, Samuel T. Reaves, and Kristen L. Schneider, and Avery A. Simmons and Douglas Patin, and John D. Bond for plaintiff. William C. Robinson, and Dorothy M. Gooding, and Greg C. Ahlum, Robert L. Burchette, and Parker Evans Moore, and Alan R. Belcher, Jr. and Robert McCune, and William W. Pollock and Edward E. Coleman for defendant. Brian E. Wolfe and Robert Gunst, and Jeffrey P. MacHarg and Martyn B. Hill and Kent J. Pagel, and James W. Flynn and Grayson Shephard, and David Levy and Adam deNobriga, and John Ong for third-party defendants. 2018 NCBC 91

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