United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Central Division
SHONDEL CHURCH, et. al., Plaintiffs,
STATE OF MISSOURI, et al., Defendants.
Nanette K. Laughrey United States District Judge
before the Court is Non-Parties39; Pro Se Motion for
Joinder, [Doc. 30]. For the following reasons, the Motion is
lawsuit challenges funding for the Missouri State Public
Defender, which provides legal representation to all indigent
citizens accused or convicted of crimes in Missouri state
court. Plaintiffs filed this putative class action alleging
Missouri “has failed to meet its constitutional
obligation to provide indigent defendants with meaningful
seek prospective relief on behalf of themselves and “on
behalf of all indigent persons who are now, or who will be
during the pendency of this litigation, under formal charge
before a state court in Missouri of having committed any
offense, the penalty for which includes the possibility of
confinement, incarceration, imprisonment, or detention
(regardless of whether actually imposed), and who are
eligible to be represented by” the Missouri State
Public Defender. The named Plaintiffs are members of the
putative class and have plausibly alleged that they
“will fairly and adequately protect the interests of
the Class.” Plaintiffs filed this class action for
injunctive and declaratory relief in Missouri state court.
Defendants removed this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§§1331, 1441, and 1446. Roughly three hundred
non-parties now move to join this lawsuit, [Doc.
The movants are “indigent, incarcerated, past and
present clients of the Missouri State Public Defenders
Office.” Both Plaintiffs and State Defendants oppose
Mandatory Joinder under Rule 19
governs when joinder of a particular party is mandatory.
Int39;l Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local 878 v.
Commercial Warehouse Co., 84 F.3d 299, 302 (8th Cir.
1996). Joinder is mandatory only when the party is necessary.
See Gwartz v. Jefferson City Mem39;l Hosp.
Ass39;n, 23 F.3d 1426, 1428 (8th Cir. 1994). A party
is necessary if: (1) in the person39;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 person39;s absence may (i) as a practical matter
impair or impede the person39;s ability to protect that
interest or (ii) leave any of the persons already parties
subject to a substantial risk of incurring double, multiple,
or otherwise inconsistent obligations by reason of the
claimed interest. Fed.R.Civ.P. 19(a)(1).
would be required if the movants satisfied Fed.R.Civ.P. 19(a)
by showing that the new parties are necessary to a full
resolution of the case. Bailey v. Bayer CropScience
L.P., 302');">563 F.3d 302, 308 (8th Cir. 2009). Here, joinder
of the movants under Rule 19(a) is not required because their
absence would not impair the court39;s ability to accord
complete relief in the form of injunctive and declaratory
relief. Movants will benefit from whatever prospective relief
Plaintiffs secure as a result of belonging to the putative
state “in their absence complete relief cannot be
accorded among those already named parties, ” [Doc. 30,
p. 2');">p. 2');">p. 2');">p. 2], and list the differences between movants and the named
Plaintiffs. Namely, movants charge that “no named
Plaintiff has used the Missouri State Public Defender Office
. . . at the Direct Appeal stage, . . . [or the] Post
Conviction Relief” stage and has not “had their
case adjudicated in the Missouri Court of Appeals, or
Missouri Supreme Court.” Id. This argument is
further evidence why joinder is inappropriate under Rule 19;
the majority of the individuals seeking to join appear to be
outside of Plaintiffs39; class because they are not under
formal charge for a criminal offense before a Missouri state
court and their prison sentences have already been commenced.
As a result, movants are not situated as such that the
disposition of this action in movants39; absence would as a
practical matter impair or impede the person39;s ability to
protect that interest. Fed.R.Civ.P. 19(a)(1).
as some of the movants may have charges pending before the
state court, they are adequately represented by the class
representatives, who will protect their interests. As a
result, mandatory joinder under Rule 19 is inappropriate.
Permissive Joinder under Rule 20
governs permissive joinder. Specifically, Rule 20
“allows multiple plaintiffs to join in a single action
if (i) they assert claims ‘with respect to or arising
out of the same transaction, occurrence, or series of
transactions or occurrences;39; and (ii) ‘any
question of law or fact common to all plaintiffs will arise
in the action.39;” In re Prempro Prod. Liab.
Litig., 591 F.3d 613, 622 (8th Cir. 2010) (quoting
Fed.R.Civ.p. 2');">p. 2');">p. 2');">p. 20(a)(1)). “The rule imposes two specific
requisites to the joinder of parties: (1) a right to relief
must be asserted by, or against, each plaintiff or defendant
relating to or arising out of the same transaction or
occurrence, or series of transactions or occurrences; and (2)
some question of law or fact common to all the parties must
arise in the action.” Mosley v. Gen. Motors
Corp., 30');">497 F.2d 1330, 1333 (8th Cir. 1974).
noted above, the majority of the individuals seeking to join
appear to be outside of Plaintiffs' class because, as
Defendants argue, “they have already been convicted of
crimes and this Court should not presume that they will
commit and be charged with additional crimes in the
future.” [Doc. 41, p. 2');">p. 2');">p. 2');">p. 2]. Movants are not under formal
charge for a criminal offense before a Missouri state court
and their prison sentences have already been commenced.
Although the movants raise questions about the adequacy of
post-conviction representation, “these questions raise
different factual and legal questions than the claims
asserted in Plaintiffs' petition.” [Doc. 39, p. 2');">p. 2');">p. 2');">p. 2].
Were the motion for joinder to be granted, the ...