Attorney General Peter Kilmartin


Rhode Island District Court
Civil Rules of Procedure

IV. PARTIES

Index:

  1. Parties
    1. RULE 17. PARTIES PLAINTIFF AND DEFENDANT--CAPACITY
      1. Real Party in Interest.
      2. Capacity to Sue or Be Sued.
      3. Infants or Incompetent Persons.
      RULE 18. JOINDER OF CLAIMS AND REMEDIES
      1. Joinder of Claims.
      2. Joinder of Remedies.
      RULE 19. NECESSARY JOINDER OF PARTIES
      1. Necessary Joinder.
      2. Effect of Failure to Join.
      3. Same:
      RULE 20. PERMISSIVE JOINDER OF PARTIES
      1. Permissive Joinder.
      2. Separate Trials.
      RULE 21. MISJOINDER AND NONJOINDER OF PARTIES
      RULES 22 AND 23. [RESERVED]
      RULE 24. INTERVENTION
      1. Intervention of Right.
      2. Permissive Intervention
      3. Procedure.
      4. Intervention by the Attorney General.
      RULE 25. SUBSTITUTION OF PARTIES
      1. Death.
      2. Incompetency.
      3. Transfer of Interest.
      4. Public Officers; Death or Separation From Office.


RULE 17. PARTIES PLAINTIFF AND DEFENDANT--CAPACITY

    1. (a) Real Party in Interest. Every action shall be prosecuted in the name of the real party in interest; but an executor, administrator, guardian, trustee of an express trust, a party with whom or in whose name a contract has been made for the benefit of another, or a party authorized by statute may sue in his or her own name without joining with him or her the party for whose benefit the action is brought; and when a statute so provides, an action for the use and benefit of another shall be brought in the name of the state. An insurer who has paid all or part of a loss may sue in the name of the assured to whose right it is subrogated.
    2. (b) Capacity to Sue or Be Sued. The capacity of an individual, including one acting in a representative capacity, and of a partnership or other unincorporated association to sue or be sued shall be determined by the law of this state. The capacity of a corporation to sue or be sued shall be determined by the law under which it was organized, unless some statute of this state provides to the contrary.
    3. (c) Infants or Incompetent Persons. Whenever an infant or incompetent person has a representative, such as a general guardian, conservator, or other like fiduciary, the representative may sue or defend on behalf of the infant or incompetent person. If an infant or incompetent person does not have a duly appointed representative, he or she may sue by his or her next friend or by a guardian ad litem. The court shall appoint a guardian ad litem for an infant or incompetent person not otherwise represented in an action or shall make such other order as it deems proper for the protection of the infant or incompetent person.

RULE 18. JOINDER OF CLAIMS AND REMEDIES

    1. (a) Joinder of Claims. The plaintiff in his or her complaint or in a reply setting forth a counterclaim and the defendant in an answer setting forth a counterclaim may set forth either as independent or alternative claims as many legal claims as he or she may have against an opposing party. There may be a like joinder of claims when there are multiple parties if the requirements of Rules 19 and 20 are satisfied. There may be a like joinder of cross-claims or third-party claims if the requirements of Rules 13 and 14 respectively are satisfied.
    2. (b) Joinder of Remedies. Whenever a claim is one heretofore cognizable only after another claim has been prosecuted to a conclusion, the two (2) claims may be joined in a single action; but the court shall grant relief in that action only in accordance with the relative substantive rights of the parties. This rule shall not be applied in actions to recover for personal injury or property damage so as to permit the joinder of a liability or indemnity insurance carrier, unless such carrier is by law or contract liable to the person injured or damaged and is directly sub ject to suit to enforce such liability.

RULE 19. NECESSARY JOINDER OF PARTIES

    1. (a) Necessary Joinder. Subject to the provisions of subdivision (b) of this rule, persons having a joint interest which is not also a several interest shall be made parties and be joined on the same side as plaintiffs or defendants. When a person who should join as a plaintiff refuses to do so, he or she may be made a defendant.
    2. (b) Effect of Failure to Join. When persons who are not indispensable, but who ought to be parties if complete relief is to be accorded between those already parties, have not been made parties and are subject to the jurisdiction of the court, the court shall order them summoned to appear in the action. The court in its discretion may proceed in the action without making such persons parties, if its jurisdiction over them can be acquired only by their consent or voluntary appearance; but the judgment rendered therein does not affect the rights or liabilities of absent persons.
    3. (c) Same: Names of Omitted Persons and Reasons for Non-joinder to Be Pleaded. In any pleading in which relief is asked, the pleader shall set forth the names, if known to the pleader, of persons who ought to be parties if complete relief is to be accorded between those already parties, but who are not joined, and shall state why they are omitted.

RULE 20. PERMISSIVE JOINDER OF PARTIES

    1. (a) Permissive Joinder. All persons may join in one (1) action as plaintiffs if they assert any right to relief jointly, severally, or in the alternative in respect of or arising out of the same transaction, occurrence, or series of transactions or occurrences and if any question of law or fact common to all of them will arise in the action. All persons may be joined in one (1) action as defendants if there is asserted against them jointly, severally, or in the alternative, any right to relief in respect of or arising out of the same transaction, occurrence, or series of transactions or occurrences and if any question of law or fact common to all of them will arise in the action. A plaintiff or defendant need not be interested in obtaining or defending against all the relief demanded. Judgment may be given for one or more of the plaintiffs according to their respective rights to relief, and against one or more defendants according to their respective liabilities.
    2. (b) Separate Trials. The court may make such orders as will prevent a party from being embarrassed, delayed, or put to expense by the inclusion of a party against whom he or she asserts no claim and who asserts no claim against him or her, and may order separate trials or make other orders to prevent delay or prejudice.

RULE 21. MISJOINDER AND NONJOINDER OF PARTIES

    Misjoinder of parties is not ground for dismissal of an action. Parties may be dropped or added by order of the court on motion of any party or of its own initiative at any stage of the action and on such terms as are just. Any claim against a party may be severed and proceeded with separately.

RULES 22 AND 23. [RESERVED]

RULE 24. INTERVENTION

    1. (a) Intervention of Right. Upon timely application any one shall be permitted to intervene in an action: (1) when a statute of this state confers an unconditional right to intervene; or (2) when the representation of the applicant's interest by existing parties is or may be inadequate and the applicant is or may be bound by a judgment in the action; or (3) when the applicant is so situated as to be adversely affected by a distribution or other disposition of property whic h is in the custody or subject to the control or disposition of the court or an officer thereof.
    2. (b) Permissive Intervention. Upon timely application anyone may be permitted to intervene in an action:
      1. (1) when a statute of this state confers a conditional right to intervene; or
      2. (2) when an applicant's claim or defense and the main action have a question of law or fact in common. When a party to an action relies for ground of claim or defense upon any statute or executive order administered by a federal or state governmental officer or agency or upon any regulation, order, requirement, or agreement issued or made pursuant to the statute or executive order, the officer or agency, upon timely application may be permitted to intervene in the action. In exercising its discretion the court shall consider whether the intervention will unduly delay or prejudice the adjudication of the rights of the original parties.
    3. (c) Procedure. A person desiring to intervene shall serve a motion to intervene upon the parties as provided in Rule 5. The motion shall state the grounds therefor and shall be accompanied by a pleading setting forth the claim or defense for which intervention is sought.
    4. (d) Intervention by the Attorney General. When the constitutionality of an act of the legislature is drawn in question in any action to which the state or an officer, agency, or employee thereof is not a party, the party asserting the unconstitutionality of the act shall notify the attorney general within such time to afford him an opportunity to intervene.

RULE 25. SUBSTITUTION OF PARTIES

    1. (a) Death (1) If a party dies and the claim is not thereby extinguished, the court may order substitution of the proper parties. The motion for substitution may be made by any party or by the successors or representatives of the deceased party and, together with the notice of hearing, shall be served on the parties as provided by Rule 5 and upon persons not parties in the manner provided in Rule 4 for the service of a summons. If no motio n for substitution is made the action shall be subject to dismissal under Rule 41(b). (2) In the event of the death of one or more of the plaintiffs or of one or more of the defendants in an action in which the right sought to be enforced survives only to the surviving plaintiffs or only against the surviving defendants, the action does not abate. The death shall be suggested on the record and the action shall proceed in favor of or against the surviving parties.
    2. (b) Incompetency. If a party becomes incompetent, the court upon motion served as provided in subdivision (a) of this rule may allow the action to be continued by or against his representative.
    3. (c) Transfer of Interest. In case of any transfer of interest, the action may be continued by or against the original party, unless the court upon motion directs the person to whom the interest is transferred to be substituted in the action or joined with the original party. Service of the motion shall be made as provided in subdivision (a) of this rule.
    4. (d) Public Officers; Death or Separation From Office.
      1. (1) When a public officer is a party to an action in his or her official capacity and during its pendency dies, resigns, or otherwise ceases to hold office, the action does not abate and the public officer's successor is automatically substituted as a party. Proceedings following the substitution shall be in the name of the substituted party, but any misnomer not affecting the substantial rights of the parties shall be disregarded. An order of substitution may be entered at any time, but the omission to enter such an order shall not affect the substitution.
      2. (2) When a public officer sues or is sued in his or her official capacity, the public officer may be described as a party by his or her official title rather than by name; but the court may require his or her name to be added.