Articles Tagged with misjoinder

If you’re going to file a lawsuit, it’s always a good idea to first do the necessary research to determine the correct identity of the person or corporate entity you’re suing. Failure to do so could result in permanent dismissal. The likelihood of this happening depends largely on the nature of the mistaken identity. The term “misnomer” refers to the situation where a plaintiff has used the wrong name to refer to an otherwise correctly identified party. In these situations, courts typically allow the plaintiff to amend the pleadings to correct the mistake. The term “misjoinder,” on the other hand, refers to the situation where a plaintiff names a completely incorrect party. In this situation, the plaintiff has filed a lawsuit against a person or entity who should not have been included in the lawsuit. This is the more serious mistake that often results in dismissal.

By way of example, take a look at the case of Dawn Monroe v. Mary Washington Healthcare. Ms. Monroe suffered a fall and injury while on the premises of the Tompkins-Martin Medical Plaza in Fredericksburg, Virginia. She filed a lawsuit against two defendants: Mary Washington Hospital, Inc., and Mary Washington Healthcare, both of which she believed were the owners of the Medical Plaza. She was wrong about that. The defendants were able to show (by directing the court’s attention to publicly available information online) that the Medical Plaza was actually owned by Tompkins-Martin Medical Plaza LLP, a separate corporate entity. Ms. Monroe then moved to simply substitute the correct defendant for the incorrectly named defendant and move on with the case. The trial court wouldn’t allow the amendment and dismissed the case with prejudice. On appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed this decision.

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