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Appeals Regarding Joinder of Parties

In order to be final and appealable, a judgment or order must end the litigation between the parties on the merits of the cause.  Courts have held that no appeal will lie from an order, judgment or decree that does not finally determine the rights of the parties, unless the Supreme Court has otherwise provided for an appeal from an interlocutory order.[i]  “Final judgment is one which operates to divest some right in such a manner as to put it beyond the power of the Court making the order to place the parties in their original condition after the expiration of the term; that is, it must put the case out of Court, and must be final in all matters within the pleadings.”[ii]

An order granting or refusing to permit joinder of additional parties in a suit is and interlocutory order and hence it is ordinarily not directly appealable.

Orders granting or denying motions to add parties are not “final” within the meaning of 28 U.S.C. § 1291.[iii]  Although an order refusing or permitting the filing of an amended complaint joining an additional party is a discretionary action by the trial court and subject to appellate review as part of an ultimate final judgment, the order itself is not appealable in isolation.[iv]  On the other hand, orders denying a petition to join additional defendants in an action may be deemed appealable.  For instance, when the statute of limitations bars a separate suit against the party attempted to be joined, an order denying leave to amend the pleadings to join the party becomes a final appealable order.

The general rule as to nonappealability of an order denying or granting a motion for the joinder of additional parties also applies to an order vacating or refusing to vacate an order denying or granting a motion for the joinder of additional parties.

[i] In re Estate of Querciagrossa, 65 Ill. App. 2d 280, 282 (Ill. App. Ct. 3d Dist. 1965)

[ii] Good v. Hartford Acc. & Indem. Co., 201 S.C. 32, 42 (S.C. 1942)

[iii] McClune v. Shamah, 593 F.2d 482,486 (3d Cir. 1979)

[iv] Powers v. Southland Corp., 4 F.3d 223, 232 (3d Cir. 1993)

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