A motion to consolidate is a motion which seeks to combine two cases into one proceeding. It may be granted if the cases involve common questions of law or fact to be resolved. For example, a petitioner in a paternity action may seek to consolidate the paternity case with a pending adoption case. When the cases involve similar or related questions to be decided, the court may consolidate the cases in order to promote the efficient use of judicial resources. By resolving the issues involved at the same time, the parties involved may also be saved time and expenses of litigation.
Example of a State Statute on Motion to Consolidate (California)
Cal Rules of Court, Rule 3.350 Consolidation of cases
(a) Requirements of motion
(1) A notice of motion to consolidate must:
(A) List all named parties in each case, the names of those who have appeared, and the names of their respective attorneys of record;
(B) Contain the captions of all the cases sought to be consolidated, with the lowest numbered case shown first; and
(C) Be filed in each case sought to be consolidated.
(2) The motion to consolidate:
(A) Is deemed a single motion for the purpose of determining the appropriate filing fee, but memorandums, declarations, and other supporting papers must be filed only in the lowest numbered case;
(B) Must be served on all attorneys of record and all nonrepresented parties in all of the cases sought to be consolidated; and
(C) Must have a proof of service filed as part of the motion.
(b) Lead case Unless otherwise provided in the order granting the motion to consolidate, the lowest numbered case in the consolidated case is the lead case.
(c) Order An order granting or denying all or part of a motion to consolidate must be filed in each case sought to be consolidated. If the motion is granted for all purposes including trial, any subsequent document must be filed only in the lead case.
(d) Caption and case number All documents filed in the consolidated case must include the caption and case number of the lead case, followed by the case numbers of all of the other consolidated cases.