SUBCHAPTER V. JURISDICTION AND POWERS OF THE TRIAL DIVISIONS OF THE GENERAL COURT OF JUSTICE.

Article 20.

Original Civil Jurisdiction of the Trial Divisions.

§ 7A-240.  Original civil jurisdiction generally.

Except for the original jurisdiction in respect of claims against the State which is vested in the Supreme Court, original general jurisdiction of all justiciable matters of a civil nature cognizable in the General Court of Justice is vested in the aggregate in the superior court division and the district court division as the trial divisions of the General Court of Justice. Except in respect of proceedings in probate and the administration of decedents' estates, the original civil jurisdiction so vested in the trial divisions is vested concurrently in each division. (1965, c. 310, s. 1.)

 

§ 7A-241.  Original jurisdiction in probate and administration of decedents' estates.

Exclusive original jurisdiction for the probate of wills and the administration of decedents' estates is vested in the superior court division, and is exercised by the superior courts and by the clerks of superior court as ex officio judges of probate according to the practice and procedure provided by law. (1965, c. 310, s. 1.)

 

§ 7A-242.  Concurrently held original jurisdiction allocated between trial divisions.

For the efficient administration of justice in respect of civil matters as to which the trial divisions have concurrent original jurisdiction, the respective divisions are constituted proper or improper for the trial and determination of specific actions and proceedings in accordance with the allocations provided in this Article. But no judgment rendered by any court of the trial divisions  in any civil action or proceeding as to which the trial divisions have concurrent original jurisdiction is void or voidable for the sole reason that it was rendered by the court of a trial division which by such allocation is improper for the trial and determination of the civil action or proceeding. (1965, c. 310, s. 1.)

 

§ 7A-243.  Proper division for trial of civil actions generally determined by amount in controversy.

Except as otherwise provided in this Article, the district court division is the proper division for the trial of all civil actions in which the amount in controversy is twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) or less; and the superior court division is the proper division for the trial of all civil actions in which the amount in controversy exceeds twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000).

For purposes of determining the amount in controversy, the following rules apply whether the relief prayed is monetary or nonmonetary, or both, and with respect to claims asserted by complaint, counterclaim, cross-complaint or third-party complaint:

(1)        The amount in controversy is computed without regard to interest and costs.

(2)        Where monetary relief is prayed, the amount prayed for is in controversy unless the pleading in question shows to a legal certainty that the amount claimed cannot be recovered under the applicable measure of damages. The value of any property seized in attachment, claim and delivery, or other ancillary proceeding, is not in controversy and is not considered in determining the amount in controversy.

(3)        Where no monetary relief is sought, but the relief sought would establish, enforce, or avoid an obligation, right or title, the value of the obligation, right, or title is in controversy. Where the owner or legal possessor of property seeks recovery of property on which a lien is asserted pursuant to G.S. 44A-4(a) the amount in controversy is that portion of the asserted lien which is disputed. The judge may require by rule or order that parties make a good faith estimate of the value of any nonmonetary relief sought.

(4)       a.         Except as provided in subparagraph c of this subdivision, where a single party asserts two or more properly joined claims, the claims are aggregated in computing the amount in controversy.

b.         Except as provided in subparagraph c, where there are two or more parties properly joined in an action and their interests are aligned, their claims are aggregated in computing the amount in controversy.

c.         No claims are aggregated which are mutually exclusive and in the alternative, or which are successive, in the sense that satisfaction of one claim will bar recovery upon the other.

d.         Where there are two or more claims not subject to aggregation the highest claim is the amount in controversy.

(5)        Where the value of the relief to a claimant differs from the cost thereof to an opposing party, the higher amount is used in determining the amount in controversy.  (1965, c. 310, s. 1; 1981 (Reg. Sess., 1982), c. 1225; 1985, c. 655, s. 2; 2013-159, s. 2.)

 

§ 7A-244.  Domestic relations.

The district court division is the proper division without regard to the amount in controversy, for the trial of civil actions and proceedings for annulment, divorce, equitable distribution of property, alimony, child support, child custody and the enforcement of separation or property settlement agreements between spouses, or recovery for the breach thereof. (1965, c. 310, s. 1; 1981, c. 815, s. 5; 1987, c. 573, s. 1.)

 

§ 7A-245.  Injunctive and declaratory relief to enforce or invalidate statutes; constitutional rights.

(a)        The superior court division is the proper division without regard to the amount in controversy, for the trial of civil actions where the principal relief prayed is

(1)        Injunctive relief against the enforcement of any statute, ordinance, or regulation;

(2)        Injunctive relief to compel enforcement of any statute, ordinance, or regulation;

(3)        Declaratory relief to establish or disestablish the validity  of any statute, ordinance, or regulation; or

(4)        The enforcement or declaration of any claim of constitutional right.

(b)        When a case is otherwise properly in the district court division, a prayer for injunctive or declaratory relief by any party not a plaintiff on grounds stated in this section is not ground for transfer. (1965, c. 310, s. 1.)

 

§ 7A-246.  Special proceedings; exceptions; guardianship and trust administration.

The superior court division is the proper division, without regard to the amount in controversy, for the hearing and trial of all special proceedings except proceedings under the Protection of the Abused, Neglected or Exploited Disabled Adult Act (Article 6 of Chapter 108A of the General Statutes), proceedings for the protection of disabled and older adults from financial exploitation (Article 6A of Chapter 108A of the General Statutes), proceedings for involuntary commitment to treatment facilities (Article 5 of Chapter 122C of the General Statutes), adoption proceedings (Chapter 48 of the General Statutes), and of all proceedings involving the appointment of guardians and the administration by legal guardians and trustees of express trusts of the estates of their wards and beneficiaries, according to the practice and procedure provided by law for the particular proceeding.  (1965, c. 310, s. 1; 1973, c. 726, s. 5; c. 1378, s. 3; 1981, c. 682, s. 1; 1985, c. 689, s. 4; 1995, c. 88, s. 7; 2014-115, s. 44(c).)

 

§ 7A-247.  Quo warranto.

The superior court division is the proper division, without regard to the amount in controversy, for the trial of all civil actions seeking as principal relief the remedy of quo warranto, according to the practice and procedure provided for obtaining that remedy. (1965, c. 310, s. 1; 1971, c. 377, s. 13.)

 

§ 7A-248.  Condemnation actions and proceedings.

The superior court division is the proper division, without regard to the amount in controversy, for the trial of all actions and proceedings wherein property is being taken by condemnation in exercise of the power of eminent domain, according to the practice and procedure provided by law for the particular action or proceeding. Nothing in this section is in derogation of the validity of such administrative or quasi-judicial procedures for value appraisal as may be provided for the particular action or proceeding prior to the raising of justiciable issues of fact or law requiring determination in the superior court. (1965, c. 310, s. 1.)

 

§ 7A-249.  Corporate receiverships.

The superior court division is the proper division, without regard to the amount in controversy, for actions for corporate receiverships under Chapter 1, Article 38, of the General Statutes, and proceedings under Chapters 55 (North Carolina Business Corporation Act) and 55A (Nonprofit Corporation Act) of the General Statutes. (1965, c. 310, s. 1; 1973, c. 503, s. 6; 1989 (Reg. Sess., 1990), c. 1024, s. 3.)

 

§ 7A-250.  Review of decisions of administrative agencies.

(a)        Except as otherwise provided in subsections (b) and (c) of this section, the superior court division is the proper division, without regard to the amount in controversy, for review by original action or proceeding, or by appeal, of the decisions of administrative agencies, according to the practice and procedure provided for the particular action, proceeding, or appeal.

(b)        The Court of Appeals shall have jurisdiction to review final orders or decisions of the North Carolina Utilities Commission and the North Carolina Industrial Commission, as provided in Article 5 of this Chapter, and any order or decision of the Commissioner of Insurance described in G.S. 58-2-80.

(c)        Appeals from rulings of county game commissions shall be heard in the district court division. The appeal shall be heard de novo before a district court judge sitting in the county in which the game commission whose ruling is being appealed is located. (1965, c. 310, s. 1; 1967, c. 108, s. 6; 1973, c. 503, s. 7; 1981, c. 444.)

 

§ 7A-251.  Appeal from clerk to judge.

(a)        In all matters properly cognizable in the superior court division which are heard originally before the clerk of superior court, appeals lie to the judge of superior court having jurisdiction from all orders and judgments of the clerk for review in all matters of law or legal inference, in accordance with the procedure provided in Chapter 1 of the General Statutes.

(b)        In all matters properly cognizable in the district court division which are heard originally before the clerk of superior court, appeals lie to the judge of district court having jurisdiction from all orders and judgments of the clerk for review in all matters of law or legal inference, in accordance with the procedure provided in Chapter 1 of the General Statutes. (1965, c. 310, s. 1; 1995, c. 88, s. 8.)

 

§ 7A-252.  Repealed by Session Laws 1971, c. 377, s. 32.

 

§ 7A-253.  Infractions.

Except as provided in G.S. 7A-271(d), original, exclusive jurisdiction for the adjudication and disposition of infractions lies in the district court division. (1985, c. 764, s. 14; 1985 (Reg. Sess., 1986), c. 852, s. 17.)

 

§ 7A-254.  Reserved for future codification purposes.