In Washington, all parties necessary for a just adjudication (lawsuit) to occur are to be joined to a lawsuit. The plaintiff, defendant, or the court can move to add a necessary party to a lawsuit when:
- in the person’s absence complete relief cannot be accorded among those already parties, or
- the person claims an interest relating to the subject of the action and is so situated that the disposition of the action in the person’s absence may (A) as a practical matter impair or impede the person’s ability to protect that interest or (B) leave any of the persons already parties subject to a substantial risk of incurring double, multiple, or otherwise inconsistent obligations by reason of the person’s claimed interest (CR 19)
For example if you are a pedestrian who is hit by motorcycle that had been hit by a car and you sue the motorcycle driver in superior court; then the defendant or court may move to add the driver of the car to the litigation as a necessary party since the driver of the car was the negligent party that cause the motorcyclist to hit and injury you.
If a necessary party is not able to be joined – for example the court does not have jurisdiction over the individual and cannot force them to be joined to the action; the court will have to determine whether or not the court is able to hear the action or dismiss the action. The court will make a determination based on the factors listed below in Rule 19(b).
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Civil Rule 19: Joinder of Persons Needed for Just Adjudication
(a) Persons to be joined if feasible. A person who is subject to service of process and whose joinder will not deprive the court of jurisdiction over the subject matter of the action shall be joined as a party in the action if (1) in the person’s absence complete relief cannot be accorded among those already parties, or (2) the person claims an interest relating to the subject of the action and is so situated that the disposition of the action in the person’s absence may (A) as a practical matter impair or impede the person’s ability to protect that interest or (B) leave any of the persons already parties subject to a substantial risk of incurring double, multiple, or otherwise inconsistent obligations by reason of the person’s claimed interest. If the person has not been so joined, the court shall order that the person be made a party. If the person should join as a plaintiff but refuses to do so, the person may be made a defendant, or, in a proper case, an involuntary plaintiff. If the joined party objects to venue and the person’s joinder would render the venue of the action improper, the joined party shall be dismissed from the action.
(b) Determination by court whenever joinder not feasible. If a person joinable under (1) or (2) of section (a) hereof cannot be made a party, the court shall determine whether in equity and good conscience the action should proceed among the parties before it, or should be dismissed, the absent person being thus regarded as indispensable. The factors to be considered by the court include: (1) to what extent a judgment rendered in the person’s absence might be prejudicial to the person or those already parties; (2) the extent to which, by protective provisions in the judgment, by the shaping of relief, or other measures, the prejudice can be lessened or avoided; (3) whether a judgment rendered in the person’s absence will be adequate; (4) whether the plaintiff will have an adequate remedy if the action is dismissed for nonjoinder.
(c) Pleading reasons for nonjoinder. A pleading asserting a claim for relief shall state the names, if known to the pleader, of any persons joinable under (1) or (2) of section (a) hereof who are not joined, and the reasons why they are not joined.
(d) Exception of class actions. This rule is subject to the provisions of rule 23.
(e) Spouse or Domestic Partner must join — Exceptions. [Reserved. See RCW 4.08.030.]
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Our Tri-Cities, Washington law office provides legal services to injury clients in and surrounding Tri-Cities, including clients injured in accidents in Kennewick, Pasco, and Richland, Washington. Visit or call our Tri-Cities office now.8905 W Gage Blvd, #200 Kennewick, WA 99336 Phone:(509) 582-7274