Temple (plaintiff), a Mississippi resident, underwent surgery in a Louisiana hospital, during which the doctor implanted a plate and screw device in his spine. The device was manufactured by Synthes, (defendant). One of the device's screws broke off inside Temple's back after surgery. Temple filed suit against Synthes in federal district court and against the hospital and doctor who performed the surgery in a Louisiana state court. Synthes moved to dismiss Temple's federal claim, arguing that Temple had failed to join the doctor and hospital as necessary parties pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 19. The district court, citing judicial economy, ordered Temple to join the doctor and hospital within 20 days. When Temple failed to do so, the court dismissed the suit. Temple appealed, but the court of appeals affirmed. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.