Driving Misjoinder: The Improper Party Problem in Removal Jurisdiction
48 Pages Posted: 27 May 2011
Date Written: May 24, 2011
This Article explores, and ultimately embraces, a new exception to the complete diversity rule in removal cases: the doctrine of procedural misjoinder. We argue that the doctrine offers federal courts a vital tool with which to police joinder gamesmanship. Absent this power, plaintiffs may preclude defendant access to federal courts by the relatively simple expedient of joining in state court largely unrelated claims against or on behalf of nondiverse parties. The resulting lawsuit thus fails the complete diversity test, rendering such cases removal-proof. Like fraudulent joinder, the long-standing practice of ignoring nondiverse parties against whom no valid claim may be asserted, the doctrine of procedural misjoinder would permit federal courts to disregard any diversity-destroying parties who have been added improperly to the state lawsuit. Because access to the federal courts is at stake, we believe federal courts should adopt this new doctrine, applying federal joinder standards to test the legitimacy of plaintiffs' party alignments before denying removal jurisdiction.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation