Prince’s Briefcase: Holbein v. Heritage Mutual Insurance Co. (Glannon Civil Procedure)


Professor Joseph Glannon Civil Procedure: Rule 20a Joinder of Parties

Here is a case from my Civil Procedure course which explains the rule on how to join parties in lawsuit. In this case, you can join all persons in a lawsuit but only if it arises from the same nucleus of events.

Case Name, Citation Number, Author
Holbein v. Heritage Mutual Insurance Co., 106 F.R.D. 73 (E.D. Wis. 1985), United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin.

prince's briefcase (princesdailyjournal)Procedural History
Four plaintiffs sue Defendant for misrepresentation. Defendant moves to sever the action into four discrete lawsuits.

Facts
–Four plaintiffs sue defendant for false or reckless representation
–Defendant moves to sever the lawsuit into four discrete cases, pursuant to Rule 20(a) and Rule 21
–Defendant argues that none of the plaintiffs’ claims arises “out of the same transaction, occurrence; or series of transactions or occurrences” presented in Rule 20a
–Each of the plaintiffs are insurance executives, each were interviewed, and all of them withheld important information that gave rise to the alleged complaint.

Issue
Whether the court should sever the action into four discrete causes pursuant to Rule 20a, 21?

Holding
No

Reasoning
1) The present complaint arise out of the same series of transactions or occurrences and implicates questions of law or fact common to each of the named plaintiffs.
2.) Burden of consolidating outweighs the practical benefits of accruing all players

Rule
Rule 20a: All persons may and can join the same suit if their claims arises out of the same transactions and if any questions off law will arise in that action

Disposition
Deny Defendant’s motion for severance

Notes
Rule 21: Trial judge has discretion to sever the joinder claims.

Prince’s Takeaway
You can join all persons to the same suit if (1) their claims arises out of the same transaction (or series of them) and (2) if any common question of law will arise in that action. Rule 20(a)(1)

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