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Civil Practice – Appeals – Interlocutory – Third-Party Claims

The trial court ruled that defendants’ third-party claims constituted third-party practice and dismissed those claims without prejudice to defendants filing them in a separate action. Plaintiff’s claims against defendants and defendants’ counterclaims against plaintiff remained pending; accordingly, the dismissal order was interlocutory. Defendants have argued they are entitled to an immediate appeal due to a risk of inconsistent verdicts; however, defendants have not demonstrated the possibility of inconsistent verdicts.

Appeal dismissed.

Defendants have not demonstrated the same factual issues in the various claims alleged by plaintiff against defendants would be present in a separate trial litigating the defendants’ fraud, civil conspiracy to commit fraud, and conversion claims against the third-party defendants, which arise from different factual allegations than those made by plaintiff. Further, defendants have also not demonstrated the possibility of inconsistent verdicts arising from the factual allegations made in their third-party claims involving a completely different set of transactions and different parties than the transaction alleged in plaintiff’s complaint. Moreover, to the extent defendants are entitled to any set-off or recovery arising from their pending counterclaims against plaintiff, that too may be litigated in the underlying case and would not necessarily be inconsistent with any verdict in a separate action against third-party defendants.

SR Auto Transport, Inc. v. Adam’s Auto Group, Inc. (Lawyers Weekly No. 011-003-23, 11 pp.) (Toby Hampson, J.) Appealed from Mecklenburg County Superior Court (Donnie Hoover, J.) Preston Odom, Alexander Heroy and Alexandra Bachman for plaintiff; Nathan White and John Spencer for defendants; Preston Odom, Alexander Heroy, Alexandra Bachman and Derek Adler for third-party defendants. 2023-NCCOA-3

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