Civil Procedure II, Pages 798–802

Mosley v. General Motors Corp.

United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, 1974

Facts:

Tens plaintiffs sued defendant for discriminating against black and female employees or applicants.

Procedural History:

District court ordered that ten of the twelve counts be severed into ten separate causes of action, but left the class action open to allege a separate cause of action.

Issue:

Were plaintiffs allowed to join their actions?

Rules:

  • LexisNexis IconWestLaw LogoGoogle Scholar LogoPage 800, Top

    Rule 20(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides:

    [(1) Plaintiffs. Persons may join in one action as plaintiffs if:

    1. 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
    2. any question of law or fact common to all plaintiffs will arise in the action.]
  • LexisNexis IconWestLaw LogoGoogle Scholar LogoPages 800–801

    Rule 20 [permits] all reasonably related claims for relief by or against different parties to be tried in a single proceeding. Absolute identity of all events is unnecessary.

Reasoning:

  • Plaintiffs asserted a right to relief out of the same transactions or occurrences. Each was injured by the same general policy of discrimination.

  • Not all facts have to be the same, just one. Here, the discriminatory character of defendant's conduct is common, so it is immaterial whether defendants suffered different effects therefrom.

Holding:

Yes, plaintiffs should have been been allowed to join their actions. District court's judgment disallowing joinder reversed and remanded.