Joinder

Author:Jeffrey Lehman, Shirelle Phelps
 
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The union in one lawsuit of multiple parties who have the same rights or against whom rights are claimed as coplaintiffs or codefendants. The combination in one lawsuit of two or more causes of action, or grounds for relief. At COMMON LAW the acceptance by opposing parties that a particular issue is in dispute.

Joinder of Parties

For two or more persons to join together as coplaintiffs or codefendants in a lawsuit, they generally must share similar rights or liabilities. At common law a person could not be added as a plaintiff unless that person, jointly with the other plaintiffs, was entitled to the whole recovery. A person could not be added as a defendant unless that person, jointly with the other defendants, was liable for the entire demand. To be more efficient, reduce costs, and reduce litigation, the modern PRACTICE OF LAW does not proceed on the same principles.

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Permissive Joinder According to modern law, a person who has no material interest in the subject of the litigation or in the relief demanded is not a proper party and may not be part of the legal action. A proper party is one who may be joined in the action but whose failure to do so does not prevent the court from hearing the case and settling the controversy. A proper party may be added to a lawsuit through a process called permissive joinder.

The statutes that govern permissive joinder generally provide that plaintiffs may unite in one action if they claim a right to relief for injuries arising from the same occurrence or transaction. Likewise, persons may join as defendants in an action if assertions made against them claim a right to relief for damages emerging from the same transaction or occurrence.

Compulsory Joinder If a court is being asked to decide the rights of a person who is not named as a party to the lawsuit, that party must be joined in the lawsuit or else the court may not hear the case. Such persons are deemed indispensable or necessary parties, and they may be added as parties to the lawsuit through a process termed compulsory joinder. For reasons of EQUITY and convenience, it is often best for the court not to proceed if an indispensable party is absent and cannot be joined. In some circumstances, however, a court may still hear a matter if an indispensable party is absent, but its judgment can affect only the interests of...

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