COMPLEX LITIGATION – Cox – Fall 2009
PERMISSIVE PARTY JOINDER
Rule 20 — Permissive Joinder of Parties
(a) Permissive Joinder. All persons may join in one action as
plaintiffs if they assert any right to relief jointly, severally,
or in the alternative in respect of or arising out of the same
transaction, occurrence, or series of transactions or occurrences
and if any question of law or fact common to all these persons
will arise in the action. All persons (and any vessel, cargo or
other property subject to admiralty process in rem) may be joined
in one action as defendants if there is asserted against them
jointly, severally, or in the alternative, any right to relief in
respect of or arising out of the same transaction, occurrence, or
series of transactions or occurrences and if any question of law
or fact common to all defendants will arise in the action. A
plaintiff or defendant need not be interested in obtaining or
defending against all the relief demanded. Judgment may be given
for one or more of the plaintiffs according to their respective
rights to relief, and against one or more defendants according to
their respective liabilities.
(b) Separate Trials. The court may make such orders as will
prevent a party from being embarrassed, delayed, or put to expense
by the inclusion of a party against whom the party asserts no
claim and who asserts no claim against the party, and may order
separate trials or make other orders to prevent delay or
The purpose of the rule is to promote trial convenience and
expedite the final determination of disputes, thereby preventing
You need to prove two things:
1) a right to relief must be asserted, by, or against, each
plaintiff or defendant relating to or arising out of the same
transaction or occurrence, or series of transactions or
2) some question of law or fact common to all the parties must
arise in the action.
Rule 20 is premised on efficiency concerns. Rule 20 allows:
plaintiff to join tortfeasors
plaintiff to join defendants who are or who may be liable in the
alternative pemrits multiple plaintiffs to join together in one
Rule 20 does not allow defendants to require that plaintiffs join
With respect to Title VII, courts have found that the
discriminatory characttter of a defendant’s conduct is basic to
the class, and the fact that the individual class members may have
suffered different effects from the alleged discrimination is
immaterial for the purposes of the prerequisite.
Although Title VII and sec. 1981 have different elements in their
statutory causes of action, a central issue in both is that the
plaintiff was subjected to race discrimination.
Mosley v. General Motors Corporation (page 24; 8th Circuit)
All “logically related” events entitling a person to institute a
legal action against another generally are regarded as comprising
a ttransaction or occurrence. Absolute identity of all events is
unnecessary. Here, each of the ten plainttifs alleged that he had
been injured by the same general policy of discrimination on the
part of GM and the Union–thus this meets tthe first requisite for
joinder under Rule 20(a). Second, the right to relief here
depends on the ability to demonstrate that each of the plaintiffs
was wronged by racially discriminatory policies on the part of the
defendants. The discriminatory character of th
defendants’ conduct is thus basic to each plaintiff’s recovery.
The fact that each plaintiff may have suffered different effects
from the alleged discrimination is immaterial for the purposes of
determining the common question of law or fact–so, the second
part is met.
The difficulties of ultimately determining damages to various
plaintiffs are not so overwhelming as to require severance, and if
appropriate, separate trials can be granted on damages after the
determination of common questions.
Joinder of multiple claims is permitted by Rule 18(a).
The claim here was based on different events by which each
plaintiff was allegedly discriminated against as to promotion,
conditions of employment, failure to hire, etc. It also seems
likely that different GM employees were responsible for the
alleged acts of discrimination against each plaintiff.
Stanford v. Tennessee Valley Authority (page 29; Middle D. of
Defendants’ plants are separately owned and operated and they are
located at different distances from the plaintiff’s property.
Their activities are separate and distinct from each other
although they are engaged in the same general type of business.
There is nothing on the face of the complaint from which it could
be concluded that the plaintiff’s claims against the two
defendants arise out of the same transaction or occurrence, or out
of the same series of transactions or occurrences. The
transactions are separate as to each defendant. Thus, there is
misjoinder here. But, Rule 42 authorizes the Court to order a
joint hearing or trial of any or all matters in issue in the
actions, or to consolidate the actions, if they involve “a common
question of law or fact.” Here, the requirements of Rule 42 are
met. Thus, the claims are severed for all purposes and to be
proceeded with separately except that they will be tried together
before the same jury.
The court probably got this case wrong. There are efficiencies
for bringing the two defendants together for pretrial, but a good
argument can be made that the two could be separated for trial.
Rule 19 Joinder of Persons Needed For Just Adjudication
(a) Persons to Be Joined if Feasible. A person who is subject to
service of process and whose joinder will not deprive the court of
jurisdiction over the subject matter of the action shall be joined
as a party in the action if (1) in the person’s absence complete
relief cannot be accorded among those already parties, or (2) the
person claims an interest relating to the subject of the action
and is so situated that the disposition of the action in the
person’s absence may (i) as a practical matter impair or impede
the person’s ability to protect that interest or (ii) leave any of
the persons already parties subject to a substantial risk of
incurring double, multiple, or otherwise inconsistent obligations
by reason of the claimed interest. If the person has not been so
joined, the court shall order that the person be made a party. If
the person should join as a plaintiff bu
n, Ltd. (page 1 supplement;
It is not necessary for all joint tort feasors to be named as
defendants in a single lawsuit. Advisory Committee notes to Rule
19(a) state that “a tortfeasor with the usual ‘joint and several’
liability is merely a permissive party to an action against
another with like liability.” Here, threshold requirements of
19(a) have not been satisfied, so no inquiry under 19(b) is
SUPPLEMENTAL JURISDICTION FOR JOINDER OF NECESSARY PARTIES
Once a person has been determined to be a necessary party under
Rule 19(a), the rule provides that he shall be joined. The court
will order that he be made a party, and “if he should join as a
plaintiff but refuses to do so, he may be made a defendant, or, in
the proper case, an involuntary plaintiff.”
There are however, three expressed limitations on such joinder.
He cannot be made a party unless:
1) he is subject to service of process
2) his joinder will not deprive the court of subject matter
3) he does not properly object that his joinder would render venue
Ancillary jurisdiction permits the joinder of issues and parties
over which a federal court does not have subject matter
jurisdiction as an incident to disposition of the entire case
before the court. The Supreme Court, however, has refused to
extend ancillary jurisdiction when it would undercut the intentt
of the particular jurisdictional statute involved, as with the
requirement of complete diversity.
In rare circumstances federal jurisdiction extends to suits in
which a well pleaded complaint to enforce a state created right to
relief discloses a compelling need to resolve a substantial and
disputed question of federal law.
Although it is technically sufficient under the Constitution that
some issue of federal law be the merest “ingredient” of an
otherwise state law cause of action in order for the whole case to
be tried in federal court, Congress takes a very restrictive
Congress passed the Judicial Improvements Act of 1990 (sec. 1367),
which provides a statutory basis for supplemental jurisdiction.
Subsection (a) authorizes the district courts to exercise
jurisdiction over a supplemental claim whenever it forms part of
the same constitutional case or controversy as the claim or claims
that provide the basis for the district court’s original
jurisdiction. The same case or controversy has been viewed as
including all claims arising out of a single transaction or
occurrence or related series of transactions or occurrences.