Monday, January 14, 2008
Last week, the First Circuit addressed "the interrelationship of joinder and supplemental jurisdiction in a diversity case" in Picciotto v. Continental Cas. Co. The first few sentences of the opinion provide a good summary, but you can find the entire opinion at the First Circuit's website here--Counseller
The Picciotto family and their company, Foreign Car Center, Inc., ("the Picciottos"), appeal the dismissal of their complaint for failure to join an indispensable party. The district court found that Dana Casher, a citizen of Massachusetts, is a necessary and indispensable party in the Picciottos' suit against Casher's malpractice insurers and others for civil conspiracy. Because the Picciottos are also Massachusetts citizens, the district court dismissed the complaint, concluding that joinder of Casher would destroy its diversity jurisdiction.
On appeal, the Picciottos challenge the district court's determination that Casher is both necessary and indispensable. Alternatively, they argue that 28 U.S.C. § 1367 grants supplemental jurisdiction to the district court, allowing Casher to be joined as a defendant under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 19 without destroying diversity, provided that the plaintiffs do not assert any claims against her. Finding no abuse of discretion in the district court's determination that Casher is a necessary and indispensable party, and rejecting the Picciottos' assertion that the supplemental jurisdiction statute permits joinder of nondiverse indispensable parties, we affirm the dismissal.