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DIRECTV, Inc. v. Barrett

    Brief Fact Summary.

    Plaintiff brought suit against Defendants seeking the same relief under the same federal law. Defendants motioned to sever the claims.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    When there is a logical relationship between the separate acts of multiple defendants against a single plaintiff, the acts are part of the same transaction or occurrence for the purposes of joinder, under FRCP 20.

    Facts.

    DIRECTV, Inc., Plaintiff, received shipping records that stated that Barrett and others individuals (collectively known as “Defendants”) purchased devices to intercept, decrypt, and pirate its television signal. Thereafter, Plaintiff brought suit against Defendants in federal court in Kansas on the grounds that Defendants violated federal law and seeking the same relief from each defendant. Defendants motioned to sever the claims.

    Issue.

    Whether the acts of multiple defendants are part of the same transaction or occurrence for the purposes of joinder, under FRCP 20, when there is a logical relationship between the separate acts of multiple defendants against a single plaintiff.

    Held.

    Yes, the acts of multiple defendants are part of the same transaction or occurrence for the purposes of joinder, under FRCP 20, when there is a logical relationship between the separate acts of multiple defendants against a single plaintiff.

    Discussion.

    The acts of multiple defendants are part of the same transaction or occurrence for the purposes of joinder, under FRCP 20, when there is a logical relationship between the separate acts of multiple defendants against a single plaintiff. To encourage joinder of claims and parties, when the case permits to promote judicial efficiency, FRCP 20 must be interpreted broadly. Here, Plaintiff’s claims against Defendants arise out of the same transaction or occurrence because, as Plaintiff alleges, Defendants all bought the same pirating devices. Thus, Plaintiff is required to introduce the same evidence against each defendant. Further, the court finds that there is a “logical relationship” between the Defendants claims, and the claims are part of the same transactions or occurrences. Mosley v. Gen. Motors Corp., 497 F. 2d 1330 (8th Cir. 1974). Additionally, Plaintiff’s claims against Defendants involve the same questions of law and same form of relief. Therefore, joinder is proper under FRCP 20, and the claims against Defendant’s will not be severed.  


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