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A. Permissive Joinder (FRCP 20)

Outside parties to an action may consent to be joined by leave of the court. The joined parties must have claims that are transactionally related to the original action.

B. Necessary Parties (FRCP 19(a))

1. Generally
Necessary parties to an action must be joined if possible, but their nonjoinder will not result in dismissal. A court will deem a party to be necessary if:

a. The party’s absence will preclude complete relief to present parties;

b. The party’s absence will preclude complete relief to that party in a subsequent suit; or

c. The party’s absence may subject a present party to multiple liabilities.

2. Involuntary Necessary Party
A necessary party who does not consent to joinder may be made a defendant or an involuntary third-party plaintiff upon order of the court. However, if the court does not have proper jurisdiction over the party, or if venue is improper, the court may continue the action without this “necessary” party.

C. Indispensable Parties (FRCP 19(b))

1. Generally
Indispensable parties are those whose presence at trial is so necessary that their joinder will be compelled, even at the cost of dismissing the action, if that party cannot be joined.

2. Factors
A court may deem a necessary party to be indispensable by weighing how that party’s absence will affect the following factors:

a. Prejudice to parties present as well as the necessary party;

b. Judicial options that may alleviate that prejudice;

c. Adequacy of the judgment without the party; and

d. Alternative remedies for the plaintiff in case of dismissal.

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