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Messages - Budlaw

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Current Law Students / Re: CivPro question re: joining a defendant
« on: December 10, 2005, 03:03:08 PM »
Quick question regarding joinder (I think...)

My CivPro class is a full year, and we've spend most of the semester on Jurisdiction.  We've also done venue, transfer, and and a little bit of pleading (but not much) so if some of my terms aren't quite correct for the procedural stuff, it's just because we haven't covered it.

We've discussed subject matter jurisdiction, and w/ diversity of citizenship a ptf can't "manufacture" diversity by either adding a frivilous party or ignoring a party integral to the suit.

Such fraudulent behavior isn't allowed by defendants either if they're trying to destroy diversity.

What happens when a defendant seeks to add a legitimate party though?  Say it's a tort case, and the defendant wants to add another party that at the very least likely shares some liability, or might be totally liable.  The additional of this defendant would destroy diversity.  Does this legitimately destroy diversity, thereby destroying subject matter jurisdiction?  Would this just be explained as an "integral party" or is that a judgment call?

I could've sworn we knew the answer, but neither myself nor anyone my study group could say for certain  Hopefully someone here does!  Thanks!

Well, as your law school professors are sure to tell should look this up yourself. But I'm feeling good today so I'll help you out a little bit. (as my finals were over this past Thursday)

First of all remember "Blame is not a claim". A defendant can't join another defendant by saying that it's her fault(nor should he even want to, because if the tort is someone elses' fault, then this will be found out during the course of the trial, and the defendant will walk) A defendant can bring in a third party defendant via FRCP rule 14, but it has to be based on some type of derivatative indemnification claim.

When this third party claim would otherwise "blow up" diversity (when the plaintiff's claim is based solely on diversity), then you look to 28 U.S.C. statute 1367 which sets up grounds for supplemental jurisdiction. This sets out the guidlines for allowing these claims. So check it out...

Also keep in mind that a defendant isn't really the one who does the joining of parties....if the plaintiff doesn't name another party in the suit, then there's not much that the defendant can do to bring to bring in another defendant other than a rule 14 (and this is a good thing that you will find out when you get to Summary Judgement if you haven't allready got there in your course already...if you have gotten there think of the Celotex case)

Anyway, good luck! When you're looking at USC 1367 pay particular attention to section (b) and mentally insert the word "original" whenever you see plaintiffs come up.

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