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Permissive joinder of parties


Sec. 6. Permissive joinder of parties. —  All persons in whom or against whom any right to relief in respect to or arising out of the same transaction or series of transactions is alleged to exist, whether jointly, severally, or in the alternative, may, except as otherwise provided in these Rules, join as plaintiffs or be joined as defendants in one complaint, where any question of law or fact common to all such plaintiffs or to all such defendants may arise in the action; but the court may make such orders as may be just to prevent any plaintiff or defendant from being embarrassed or put to expense in connection with any proceedings in which he may have no interest(Rule 3, Rules of Court)


What is the rule on joinder of parties?

● The rule contemplates a situation where there are two or more persons in whom a right to relief exist or against whom a right to relief exist. These two or more persons can join in one complaint or can be joined as defendants in one complaint provided that there exist between them a question of law common to both of them. As the term suggests, joinder is not mandatory. It may be availed of by parties as plaintiffs if they want to. If they do not want to join as parties, they cannot be compelled. (Laggui)

Several plaintiffs vs. 1 defendant
1 plaintiff vs. several defendants


What are the requisites of 

Permissive joinder of parties requires that:
  1. the right to relief arises out of the same transaction or series of transactions; 
  2. there is a question of law or fact common to all the plaintiffs or defendants; and 
  3. such joinder is not otherwise proscribed by the provisions of the Rules on jurisdiction and venue. (Pantranco vs. Standard Insurance Company, Inc., G.R. No. 140746, March 16, 2005)

Example 1:

A, B and C are owners of adjoining houses. X is a driver of a gasoline tanker. X struck a Meralco Post, resulting to its explosion. The fire burned the houses of A, B, and C. A can sue X for the loss of his house. B can sue X for the loss of his own house. C can sue X for the burning of his own house. There will be now, 3 complaints against X. On the other hand, A, B and C or A and B alone, or A and C, or B and C, sued X in one complaint. A and C sued X in one complaint, B and C sued X in one complaint, or better still, they joined in one complaint against X.

Q.   Can they validly do that?
A.   Yes, they have each a separate cause of action against X. Under the rule on joinder of parties, all of them can join in only one complaint.

Q.   Why?
A.   Right to relief exists in favor of all of them, A, B and C.

Q.   What is the basis of their right to relief of A against X?
A.   The basis of the right of A against X is the negligent act of X in driving.

Q.    What is the basis of the right of B against X?
A.    The same. The negligent act of X.

Q.    What is the basis of the right of relief of C against X?
A.    The same, the negligent act of X in driving.

If A, B and C filed separately the case, there will be only one issue that the court will resolve, which is common to all of them. So they can join as parties. This is the rule on permissive joinder of parties.

Q.   Can A, B and C be required or compelled to join in one complaint?
A.   No. whether they will join or they will not join is a matter of them alone to decide. They cannot be forced to join.


Example 2:

C is the creditor of D for P350,000.00 and also of E for P375,000.00. Both debts are due and have been contracted separately. May C join D and E as defendants in the same complaint? No. Where a party sues two or more defendants, it is necessary for the causes of action to arise out of the same transaction or series of transactions and that there should be a common question of law or fact. The debt of D is a transaction different from the debt of E.


Example 3:

P is a passenger in a bus owned by O and driven by D. Because of the negligence of D, P sustained injuries when the vehicle fell into a ditch by the roadside. May P join O and D as defendants in the same complaint based on torts? Yes. The liability of O and that of D arose out of the same accident which gives rise to a common question of law or fact. Note that the existence of a contractual relationship does not preclude a suit based on tort. O may be sued under a quasi-delict, as an employer of D if P so desires (Art. 2180, Civil Code; Air France vs. Carrascoso, 18 SCRA 155).


Example 4:

If A and B both sign a promissory note for P1 million and bind themselves to be jointly liable for the debt in favor of C, there are two distinct obligations within the same promissory note, namely: (a) the obligation of A to C for P500,000.00; and (b) the obligation of B to C for P500,000,00. Under Art. 2108 of the Civil Code, unless otherwise indicated by the obligation or by law, the debt or credit shall be presumed divided into as many equal shares as there are creditors or debtors. In other words the obligation under the promissory note in the illustration is joint, not solidary. If the obligation is joint, C may sue A alone or sue B alone. This is because the debts are separate and distinct causes of action. May C however, join A and B under one complaint and thereby join the causes of action against them? Yes. The debt of A and the debt of B arose out of the same transaction, i.e., the same promissory note and would necessarily give rise to a common question of law or fact.

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