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Law Outlines Civil Procedure Outlines

Joining Parties Outline

Updated Joining Parties Notes

Civil Procedure Outlines

Civil Procedure

Approximately 56 pages

Complete course in U.S. federal civil procedure...

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Joining Parties

  1. Permissive and Mandatory Joinder

Rule 19(a): Persons Required to be Joined if Feasible

A person who is subject to service of process and whose joinder will not deprive the court of subject-matter jurisdiction (meaning diversity) must be joined as a party if:

  1. in that person’s absence, the court cannot accord complete relief among existing parties

  2. that person claims an interest relating to the subject of the action and is so situated that disposing of the action in the person’s absence may:

    1. as a practical matter impair or impede the person’s ability to protect the interest,

    2. or leave an existing party subject to a substantial risk of incurring double, multiple, or otherwise inconsistent obligations because of the interest.

Rule 19(b): When Joinder is Not Feasible

If a person who is required to be joined if feasible cannot be joined, the court must determine whether, in equity and good conscience, the action should proceed among the existing parties or should be dismissed. The factors for the court to consider include.

  1. The extent to which a judgment rendered in the person’s absence might prejudice that person or the existing parties;

  2. The extent to which any prejudice could be lessened or avoided by:

    1. Protective provisions in the judgment (e.g. in Miller tapes, auto insurance set-aside)

    2. Shaping the relief

    3. Other measures

  3. Whether a judgment rendered in the person’s absence would be adequate

  4. Whether the plaintiff would have an adequate remedy if the action were dismissed for non-joinder

Temple v Synthes

Med mal case w/ docs and device company. It is not necessary for all joint tortfeasors to be named as defendants in a single suit. Such a party is merely a permissive party to an action against another with potential liability out of the same action.

Republic of Philippines v Pimentel

Case brought by Merrill Lynch in interpleader. Where sovereign immunity is asserted, and the claims of the sovereign are not frivolous, dismissal of the action must be ordered where there is a potential for injury to the interests of the absent sovereign. Merrill also won’t get complete relief without them joined. They’re required. Can’t do it without them, so dismiss. Ruling here driven by respect for sovereignty. Stevens concur/dissent: their interests are substantial and they could/should have waived sovereign immunity

Rule 20(a): Permissive Joinder--Persons who May Join or be Joined

  1. Plaintiffs: persons may join in one action as plaintiffs if:

    1. They assert a right to relief jointly, severally, or in the alternative with respect to or arising out of the same transaction, occurrence, or series of transactions or occurrences, and

    2. Any question of law or fact common to all plaintiffs will arise in the action

Chase says in practice they need the permission of the original plaintiff

  1. Defendants: Persons may be joined in other action as defendants if:

    1. Any right to relief is asserted against them jointly, severally, or in the alternative with respect to or arising out of the same transaction, occurrence, or series of transactions or occurrences; and

    2. Any question of law or fact common to all defendants will arise in the action

  2. Extent of Relief: Neither a plaintiff nor a defendant need be interested in obtaining or defending against all the relief demanded. The court may grant judgment to one or more plaintiffs according to their rights, and against one or more defendants according to their liabilities.

Rule 21: Misjoinder of parties is not a ground for dismissing an action. On motion or on its own, the court may at any time, on just terms, add or drop a party. The court may also sever a claim against a party.

Rule 42: Court can consolidate common issues of law or fact

  1. Impleader, Interpleader, and Intervention

Impleader (Rule 14): A defending party may, as a third party plaintiff, serve a summons and complaint on a nonparty who is or may be liable to it for all or part of the claim against it. Third-party defendant would then have to respond and include any compulsory counterclaims it has.

Toberman v Copas

Negligence resulted in car crash and injury. One of the defendants tried to add a third party, claiming that third party was responsible.

Court says a theory that another party is the correct defendant is not appropriate for a third party complaint. It can be a defense, but is not grounds for a third party complaint). It must set forth a claim of secondary liability such that, if the third party plaintiff (original defendant) is found liable, the third party defendant will be liable to the original defendant.

This makes sense, in order to prevent plaintiff and initial defendant to from colluding to get around diversity requirements.

Interpleader (Rule 22): A plaintiff can join parties through interpleader if there are claims that may expose him to double or multiple liability, whether or not the claims have a common origin and even if the person bringing the interpleader denies liability in whole or in part to any or all of the claimants. (see Pimentel v Philippines)

Statutory Interpleader (28 USC §1335): Federal courts have jurisdiction over disputes over $500 or more by parties of diverse citizenship, or if the plaintiff has given the sum to the clerk of the court. Such an action may be entertained although the titles or claims of the conflicting claimants do not have a common origin, or are not identical, but are adverse to and independent of one another

Interpleader of course not available as a substitute for bankruptcy for someone to discharge his debts.

State Farm v Tashire

State Farm has multiple claims against their insured. Benefit just worth $20,000, but claims total in the millions. They don’t want to be liable for an amount more than the policy limit., so they try to ask the court to require all claims to go through this interpleader proceeding and no others. They do this b/c they would have to cover their insured’s attorney’s fees for any later...

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