Thursday, May 23, 2013

Judge Minora of Lackawanna County Addresses Standard to Join Additional Defendant

In his recent decision in the case of Montana v. Oakford Wood Home Owners Assn., No. 2012-CV-236 (C.P. Lacka. Co. 2013 Minora, J.), Judge Carmen D. Minora of the Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas granted an original Defendant's Motion for Leave to Join an Additional Defendant.  The court's opinion provides a thorough overview of the current status of the law on this particular issue.

The court granted the Defendant's Motion, in part, because there was no potential risk for delay attributable to newly joined parties.  The court also found that the Additional Defendant failed to provide any grounds for disallowing its late joinder under Rule 2253(b).

The Court employed the current version of Pa. R.C.P. 2253, which has changed the burden applicable to a defendant who seeks to join an additional defendant beyond the sixty day period prescribed.

The current version of Rule 2253, effective January 6, 2005, deletes the “upon cause shown” requirement, and subsection (b) now merely entitles the plaintiff to object to the belated joinder on the basis that the moving party has failed to demonstrate a “reasonable justification for its delay in commencing joinder proceedings.” Any other party, including the party who is to be joined as an additional defendant, may object only on the grounds of prejudice.

Applying these rules to the circumstances before the court in the Montana case led Judge Minora to grant the motion and allow for the joinder of an additional defendant.

Anyone wishing to review this decision of Judge Minora in the Montana case may click this LINK.

For a Tort Talk synopsis of another decision on this same issue handed down by Judge Terrence R. Nealon of the Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas back in 2011 in the case of Chelland v. Siegfried v. Solomon, click HERE.


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