Monday, October 6, 2014

Joinder of Parties

A lot to know about joinder as you study Civil Procedure for the MBE. This post will focus entirely on joinder of parties, and on a future post I'll write about joinder of claims. In regards to joinder of parties, it can further be subdivided into two main categories: compulsory joinder of parties, and permissive joinder of parties.

Compulsory Joinder:

There are instances in which a party should be joined to an already-existing lawsuit. A party should be joined if complete relief cannot be granted to the existing parties in the absence of the party to be joined. In addition, a party should be joined if the absence of that party may impair that party's ability to protect his own interests in the controversy. And finally, a party should be joined if his absence would expose the existing parties to a substantial risk of double or inconsistent obligations. If any of the above are satisfied, then that party must be joined provided the party is amenable to service of process, and joinder of that party will not destroy diversity or venue.

But the question is then raised as to what is the procedure if such a party should be joined but cannot be joined. When joinder is not feasible the court must decide as to whether the inability to join that party renders the action dismissed, or instead whether the action should continue without the party. Once again, the court will have some considerations to attend to when making this decision. The court will determine whether a judgment in the absence of the party would prejudice that party or the existing parties to the lawsuit. The court will also consider whether any prejudice can be effectively reduced, and whether a judgment in the party's absence would be adequate. Lastly, the court will consider the interests of the plaintiff in the action; if dismissal of the action will result in depriving the plaintiff of an adequate remedy, the dismissal will be less likely.

Permissive Joinder:

Other instances present when joinder of parties is permissive even though the requirements for compulsory joinder are not satisfied. Specifically, parties may join an existing lawsuit if some claim is made by each plaintiff and against each defendant relating to or arising out of the same series of occurrences or transactions, and there is a question of fact or law common to all parties. It's important to note here that although this rule is broad, the requirements as they relate to diversity jurisdiction are not altered. In other words, if the action is based on diversity of the parties, then there must be complete diversity among the parties after additional parties have been joined

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