Rule 14. Third-party practice.

(a)        When defendant may bring in third party. - At any time after commencement of the action a defendant, as a third-party plaintiff, may cause a summons and complaint to be served upon a person not a party to the action who is or may be liable to him for all or part of the plaintiff's claim against him. Leave to make the service need not be obtained if the third-party complaint is filed not later than 45 days after the answer to the complaint is served. Otherwise leave must be obtained on motion upon notice to all parties to the action. The person served with the summons and third-party complaint, hereinafter called the third-party defendant, shall make his defense to the third-party plaintiff's claim as provided in Rule 12 and his counterclaims against the third-party plaintiff and crossclaim against other third-party defendants as provided in Rule 13. The third-party defendant may assert against the plaintiff any defenses which the third-party plaintiff has to the plaintiff's claim. The third-party defendant may also assert any claim against the plaintiff arising out of the transaction or occurrence that is the subject matter of the plaintiff's claim against the third-party plaintiff. The plaintiff may assert any claim against the third-party defendant arising out of the transaction or occurrence that is the subject matter of the plaintiff's claim against the third-party plaintiff, and the third-party defendant thereupon shall assert his defenses as provided in Rule 12 and his counterclaims and crossclaims as provided in Rule 13. Any party may move for severance, separate trial, or dismissal of the third-party claim. A third-party defendant may proceed under this rule against any person not a party to the action who is or may be liable to him for all or part of the claim made in the action against the third-party defendant.

Where the normal statute of limitations period in an action arising on a contract is extended as provided in G.S. 1-47(2) or in any action arising on a contract or promissory note, upon motion of the defendant the court may order to be made parties additional defendants, including any party of whom the plaintiff is a subrogee, assignee, third-party beneficiary, endorsee, agent or transferee, or such other person as has received the benefit of the contract by transfer of interest.

(b)        When plaintiff may bring in third party. - When a counterclaim is asserted against a plaintiff, he may cause a third party to be brought in under circumstances which under this rule would entitle a defendant to do so.

(c)        Rule applicable to State of North Carolina. - Notwithstanding the provisions of the Tort Claims Act, the State of North Carolina may be made a third party under subsection (a) or a third-party defendant under subsection (b) in any tort action. In such cases, the same rules governing liability and the limits of liability of the State and its agencies shall apply as is provided for in the Tort Claims Act. (1967, c. 954, s. 1; 1969, c. 810, s. 2; 1975, c. 587, s. 1; 1981, c. 92; c. 810.)