Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Clarification on Recurring Issue of Challenges to Late Joinder of Additional Defendants

Judge Terrence R. Nealon of the Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas recently issued an Opinion on a recurring issue in the case of  Chelland v. Siegfried v. Solomon, No. 2010 - CV - 6113 (C.P. Lacka. Co. Nov. 1, 2011 Nealon, J.), which involved an additional defendant's challenge to an original defendant's untimely joinder of the additional defendant.

The additional defendant primarily argued that the defendant had not provided reasonable justification or excuse for its delay of several months in seeking to join the additional defendant.

Judge Nealon pointed out that Pa.R.C.P. 2253 was amended in 2005 and now only permits the plaintiff to raise the "reasonable justification for delay" objection, whereas all parties (plaintiff and additional defendants) may still object on the ground of prejudice.

Thus, it appears that an assertion by an additional defendant that there was no "reasonable justification" to explain away the original defendant's late joinder is no longer valid.  Rather, the additional defendant must show the more difficult element of prejudice in order to prevail on a preliminary objection to a late joinder.

Anyone desiring a copy of Judge Nealon's detailed Opinion on this issue in the case of Chelland v. Siegfried v. Solomon may contact me at dancummins@comcast.net.

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