All persons may join in one 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 these persons will arise in the action. All persons may be joined in one 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 defendants 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.
This civil rights action arises out of an alleged series of brutal acts committed by Philadelphia policemen against the plaintiffs, Dolores Kedra, her 8 children and her son-in-law. The events set forth in the complaint span one and one-half years, from December 1975 to February or March 1977, and involve unlawful arrests, physical violence and warrantless searches and seizures. The defendants moved to dismiss on the ground that the suit of Dolores on behalf of her children, as well as the joinder of parties, was procedurally infirm.
Was the joinder of parties improper?
Although the events giving rise to plaintiffs' claims in this case occurred over a lengthy time period, they all are "reasonably related." The complaint sets forth a series of alleged unlawful detentions, searches, beatings and similar occurrences and charges defendants with "engaging in a systematic pattern of harassment, threats and coercion with the intention of . . . . depriving plaintiffs of [their] rights." Each of the incidents set forth is encompassed within the "systematic pattern." There is no logical reason why the systematic conduct alleged could not extend over a lengthy time period and, on the face of these allegations, there is nothing about the extended time span that attenuates the factual relationship among all of these events. The claims against the defendants "arise out of the same transaction, occurrence, or series of transactions or occurrences" for purposes of Rule 20(a), and therefore joinder of defendants in this case is proper.