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Daynard v. Ness, Motley, Loadholdt, Richardson, & Poole, P.A.

United States District Court for the District of Massachussetts
184 F. Supp. 2d 55 (D. Mass. 2001)


Daynard (plaintiff) sued Ness, Motley, Loadholdt, Richardson & Poole, P.A. (Ness) and a Mississippi law firm for breaching an alleged agreement that the firms would pay Daynard a portion of their attorneys’ fees for advice Daynard provided. The circuit court dismissed the Mississippi law firm for lack of personal jurisdiction. Ness then moved to dismiss the suit for failure to join an indispensable party. Ness argued that the case cannot proceed without the Mississippi law firm because a partner in the Mississippi law firm is the one who allegedly shook hands with Daynard forming the agreement in question. Daynard argued that both firms had assured him he would be paid so they are jointly and severally liable. Thus, only one of the firms needed to be named in the complaint. The district court found that the Mississippi firm was a not a “necessary” party under FRCP 19(a), and therefore not an “indispensable” party under FRCP 19(b) because the two firms were jointly and severally liable as co-obligors. Ness’s motion to dismiss for failure to join an indispensable party was denied.

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