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Chesnut v. Samouel

United States District Court, D. Colorado

August 8, 2019

COLBY CHESTNUT, Plaintiff,
v.
GINA SAMOUEL, Defendant.

          ORDER

          Kristen L. Mix United States Magistrate Judge.

         This matter is before the Court on Non-party Myles Nardi's (“Nardi”) Motion to Permit Joinder of Myles Nardi as a New Party [#34][1] (the “Motion”).[2] At the time of the filing of the Motion, Plaintiff Colby Chestnut (“Chestnut”) indicated he was taking no position at that time, and he did not subsequently file a response to the Motion. Defendant Gina Samouel (“Samouel”) filed a Response [#36] indicating that she is unopposed to the Motion.

         Mr. Nardi seeks to join this action as a plaintiff pursuant to the permissive joinder standard of Fed.R.Civ.P. 20(a)(1). Motion [#34] at 1. Fed.R.Civ.P. 20(a)(1) provides:

Persons may join in one action as plaintiffs if:
(A) they assert any right to relief jointly, severally, or in the alternative with respect to or arising out of the same transaction, occurrence, or series of transactions or occurrences; and
(B) any question of law or fact common to all plaintiffs will arise in the action.

         If permitted to join, Mr. Nardi will assert two claims for relief: (1) a negligence claim against Defendant Samouel, and (2) a claim for negligence against Plaintiff Chestnut, including a vicarious liability claim against Plaintiff Chestnut's employer DP Power Inc., d/b/a DP Power & Lighting, who is not currently a party but who will be served if Mr. Nardi's complaint is accepted for filing. See Nardi Compl. [#34-1].

         The Court first finds that the requirements of Fed.R.Civ.P. 20(a)(1)(A) are met. The genesis of this lawsuit initiated by Plaintiff Chestnut is a motor vehicle collision which occurred on July 23, 2018. Compl. [#16-5] ¶ 4. Mr. Nardi was a passenger in a vehicle driven by Defendant Samouel when they were rear-ended by a vehicle driven by Plaintiff Chestnut. Mr. Nardi specifically states that he will “seek damages against both Plaintiff and Defendant for all losses due to the injuries he received in this collision . . . .” Motion [#34] at 2. Thus, Mr. Nardi's asserted right to relief for damages arises from the same occurrence forming the basis of this lawsuit, i.e., the July 23, 2018 traffic accident.

         The Court also finds that the requirements of Fed.R.Civ.P. 20(a)(1)(B) are met. The primary question of law or fact common to Plaintiff Chestnut and Mr. Nardi is the determination of liability for the vehicle collision, i.e., whether Plaintiff Chestnut or Defendant Samouel is liable for the accident. Motion [#34] at 2. Thus, both requirements of Fed.R.Civ.P. 20(a)(1) for permissive joinder of a party as a plaintiff are met.

         Given that both minimum requirements are met, the Court has discretion whether to permit the joinder. State Distrib., Inc. v. Glenmore Distill. Co., 738 F.2d 405, 416-17 (10th Cir. 1984). The Court considers the following factors when deciding a permissive joinder motion after the requirements of Rule 20(a)(1) are met:

[T]he possible prejudice that may result to any of the parties in the litigation, the delay of the moving party in seeking an amendment to his pleadings, the motive that the moving party has in seeking such amendment, the closeness of the relationship between the new and the old parties, the effect of an amendment on the court's jurisdiction, and the new party's notice of the pending action.

MDM Grp. Assocs., Inc. v. Midgett Realty, Inc., No. 07-cv-02543-WDM-CBS, 2008 WL 2756926, *4 (D. Colo. July 14, 2008).

         Regarding the first factor, whether prejudice may result to any of the parties in the litigation, Mr. Nardi asserts that “[t]he current parties would not be prejudiced” and that his joinder would “achieve global economy” by allowing Plaintiff Chestnut and Defendant Samouel to “only have to pay litigation costs once.” Motion [#34] at 2. Given the lack of opposition to the Motion and a lack of anything in the record contradicting Mr. Nardi's statements, the Court finds that this factor weighs heavily in favor of permitting joinder.

         Regarding the second factor, the delay of the moving in party in seeking an amendment to the pleadings, Mr. Nardi filed the present Motion [#34] less than two weeks after the Scheduling Conference was held and well before the July 5, 2019 deadline for joinder of parties and amendment of pleadings had passed. ...


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