Rule 42. Consolidation; separate trials.

(a) Consolidation. When actions involving a common question of law or fact are pending before the court, it may order a joint hearing or trial of any or all the matters in issue in the actions; it may order all the actions consolidated; and it may make such orders concerning proceedings therein as may tend to avoid unnecessary costs or delay.

(a)(1) A motion to consolidate cases shall be heard by the judge assigned to the first case filed. Notice of a motion to consolidate cases shall be given to all parties in each case. The order denying or granting the motion shall be filed in each case.

(a)(2) If a motion to consolidate is granted, the case number of the first case filed shall be used for all subsequent papers and the case shall be heard by the judge assigned to the first case. The presiding judge may assign the case to another judge for good cause.

(b) Separate trials. The court in furtherance of convenience or to avoid prejudice may order a separate trial of any claim, cross claim, counterclaim, or third party claim, or of any separate issue or of any number of claims, cross claims, counterclaims, third party claims, or issues.