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Essentials and Interlopers

Parties to Be Joined under Rule 19(a)(1)(A)

Rule 19(a)(1)(A) addresses situations in which the court cannot adequately provide redress to the parties who are before the court, unless an absentee is also brought into the case. Here are some examples in which the court would likely hold that a person should be made a party under this provision.

  • Menendez enters into a contract to purchase a business from Adams and Vincenzo. He subsequently learns that they had misrepresented the financial condition of the business and sues Adams to rescind the contract.

— Naturally, complete relief cannot be accorded to Menendez unless Vincenzo is also made a party to this case. An order of rescission against Adams would leave the sale rescinded as to one seller but not as to the other. Vincenzo should be joined if feasible under Rule 19(a)(1)(A).

  • Tower Financial leases an office building from General Leasing Corporation and then subleases three floors to Affiliated Products. After taking possession, Affiliated discovers that the electrical service is insufficient for its power needs and asks Tower to increase the service. Tower Financial is required under the sublease to accommodate such reasonable requests for alterations, but cannot make them without the consent of the owner. Tower refuses to make the alterations, because General Leasing refuses to consent. Affiliated sues Tower to enforce its sublease. Tower moves to join General Leasing as a party to the action.

— Here, too, the court cannot provide the plaintiff with full relief unless the absentee is joined. It could order Tower Financial to increase the electrical service, but Tower would be unable to do so without the consent of the building owner. Thus, it makes sense to join General Leasing in the case, so that complete relief can be granted between the original parties to the case.[1]

Parties to Be Joined under Rule 19(a)(1)(B)(i)

Rule 19(a)(1)(B)(i) addresses a second situation in which an absentee should be made a party to the case “if feasible.” It provides that a person who claims an interest related to the subject matter of the case should be made a party if proceeding without that person might impair her ability to protect that interest. Sometimes, litigation has practical impacts on strangers to the case, even though they are not directly subject to orders entered in the litigation. Rule 19(a)(1)(B)(i) provides that such absentees should be brought in, so that this collateral effect of the case can be considered or reduced. Here are some examples of cases in which the absentee “should be joined if feasible” under Rule 19(a)(1)(B)(i).

[1]. Cf. Associated Dry Goods Corp. v. Tower Financial Corp., 920 F.2d 1211 (2nd Cir. 1990).

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