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Caffrey v. Quigley Corp.


July 19, 2006


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Patty Shwartz United States Magistrate Judge


This matter having come before the Court by way of motion of the plaintiffs, filed June 29, 2006, for leave to file an Amended Complaint to name DPT Laboratories ("DPT") as a defendant;*fn1

and the Court having considered the parties' submissions;*fn2

and the Court having considered this motion pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 78 and L. Civ. R. 78.1;

and Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 20(a) providing that:

[a]ll persons . . . 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;

and thus joinder pursuant to Rule 20(a) requiring both that "(1) a right to relief must be asserted against the parties which is predicated upon or arises out of a single transaction or occurrence or series of transactions and occurrences, and (2) there must exist some question of law or fact common to all parties which will arise in the action," N. J. Mach. Inc. v. Alford Indus., Inc., 1991 WL 340196, *1 (D.N.J. 1991) (emphasis in original); see also Morris v. Paul Revere Ins. Group, 986 F.Supp. 872, 885-886 (D.N.J. 1997) (denying plaintiff's motion to join defendant accountants because their actions, although potentially constituting malpractice, had "no bearing on the principal issues in [that] case and consequently fail[ed] to implicate any common questions of law or fact"); Mesa Computer Utilities, Inc. v. Western Union, 67 F.R.D. 634, 637 (D. Del. 1975) (holding that franchise agreements negotiated and executed at different times and locations and with different plaintiffs satisfied both tests even though "[i]t [was] apparent . . . that the legal and factual issues to be determined [would] differ in some respects from one plaintiff to the next" because defendants' "acts of misrepresentation and conspiracy which directly affected all plaintiffs . . . may constitute a single transaction or occurrence for purposes of Rule 20(a)" and because "there [was] . . . [at least] one question of law or fact common to the parties");

and a transaction being defined as "a word of flexible meaning [that may] comprehend a series of many occurrences, depending not so much on the immediateness of their connection as upon their logical relationship," id. (quoting Mosley v. General Motors Corp., 497 F.2d 1330, 1333 (8th Cir. 1974));

and Rule 20 requiring that courts consider "other relevant factors in a case in order to determine whether the permissive joinder of a party will comport with the principles of fundamental fairness," even when the two-part test is satisfied, such as

the possible prejudice that may result to any of the parties in the litigation, the delay of the moving party in seeking an amendment to his pleadings, the motive that the moving party has in seeking such amendment, the closeness of the relationship between the new and the old parties, the effect of an amendment on the court's jurisdiction, and the new party's notice of the pending action,

Desert Empire Bank v. Insurance Co. of North America, 623 F.2d 1371, 1375 (9th Cir. 1980);

and courts interpreting Rule 20 liberally to "achieve the rule's goals of promot[ing] judicial economy and efficiency," Snodgrass v. Ford Motor Co., 2002 WL 485688, at *2 (D.N.J. 2002); see also Miller v. Hygrade Food Prod. Corp., 202 F.R.D. 142, 144 (E.D. Pa. 2001) (stating that "the impulse is towards entertaining the broadest possible scope of action consistent with fairness to the parties; joinder of claims, parties and remedies is strongly encouraged") (internal citation and quotation marks omitted);

and motions to join parties under Rule 20 falling squarely within the discretion of the court, which must determine whether the proposed joinder comports with the "principles of fundamental fairness," N.J. Mach. Inc., 1991 WL 340196 at *1;

and the Court finding that the plaintiffs should be granted leave to file the proposed Amended Complaint to add DPT;*fn3 and for good cause shown,

IT IS on this 19th day of July, 2006

ORDERED that the plaintiff's motion for leave to file an Amended Complaint to name DPT as a defendant is granted; and

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that, no later than July 26, 2006, the plaintiff shall file the Amended Complaint.

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