Sheila Blanton (plaintiff) and Ethel King (defendant) were in a car accident. Blanton sued King for negligence in state court in July 2010, claiming that King ran a red light and caused the wreck. King’s insurance company provided an attorney for her. The parties settled the following May, and Blanton voluntarily dismissed the case with prejudice. In June, King sued Blanton for negligence over the same wreck, claiming that it was actually Blanton who ran the red light and caused the accident. Blanton moved to dismiss on the ground that King’s claim was actually a compulsory counterclaim that had to be brought during Blanton’s original lawsuit. The trial court held a hearing. Because the court considered the pleadings and other documents, it treated Blanton’s motion to dismiss as one for summary judgment. The trial court awarded summary judgment to Blanton and dismissed King’s claim with prejudice. King appealed to the Court of Appeals of North Carolina.