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Howell v. Gary Beard Trucking Co.

United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Western Division

December 19, 2014

JOHN T. HOWELL, Plaintiff,
v.
GARY BEARD TRUCKING COMPANY, and BRIAN ALAN WASHBURN, Defendants.

ORDER DENYING JOINT MOTION AND MEMORANDUM TO REQUIRE JOINDER OF SHELBY COUNTY HEALTHCARE D/B/A REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER (ECF NO. 34)

JON P. McCALLA, District Judge.

Before for the Court is the Parties' Joint Motion and Memorandum to Require Joinder of Shelby County Healthcare d/b/a Regional Medical Center. (ECF No. 34.) For the reasons stated below, the Motion is DENIED.

I. BACKGROUND

A. Factual Background

Plaintiff, John T. Howell, was involved in a serious car crash on January 24, 2013 in Memphis, Tennessee. (Compl. ¶¶ 2, 3, ECF No. 1-1; Answer ¶¶ 2, 3, ECF No. 4.) Plaintiff was driving a 1994 Toyota Camry, and Defendant Washburn was operating a "tractor/semi-trailer" as an agent for Defendant Gary Beard Trucking Inc. when the two vehicles collided. (Compl. ¶¶ 2, 3; Answer ¶¶ 2, 3.) Plaintiff alleges that as a result of the collision, he was admitted as a hospital patient for a long period of time and suffered painful and permanent injuries. The Parties state in the instant Motion that Shelby County Healthcare d/b/a Regional Medical Center ("RMC") filed a lien in the amount of $272, 268.19, presumably related to Plaintiff's medical bills.[1]

B. Procedural Background

Plaintiff filed his Complaint in the Circuit Court of Shelby County, Tennessee for the Thirtieth Judicial District at Memphis on December 19, 2013. (ECF No. 1-1.) Defendants filed a Notice of Removal in this Court on January 17, 2014. (ECF No. 1.)

II. LEGAL STANDARD

Rule 19 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure describes the circumstances under which an absent party must be joined in an action. The Sixth Circuit uses a three-part test to determine whether a party is indispensable under Rule 19. Laethem Equip. Co. v. Deere & Co., 485 F.Appx. 39, 43 (6th Cir. 2012). "First, the court must determine whether the person or entity is a necessary party under Rule 19(a)." Glancy v. Taubman Centers, Inc. , 373 F.3d 656, 666 (6th Cir. 2004). "Second, if the person or entity is a necessary party, the court must then decide if joinder of that person or entity will deprive the court of subject matter jurisdiction." Id . "Third, if joinder is not feasible because it will eliminate the court's ability to hear the case, the court must analyze the Rule 19(b) factors to determine whether the court should in equity and good conscience dismiss the case because the absentee is indispensable." Id . (internal citation and quotation marks omitted).

III. ANALYSIS

A party is necessary under Rule 19 if either:

(1) in the party's absence, the court cannot accord complete relief among existing parties, Fed.R.Civ.P. 19(a)(1)(A), or (2) if the party claims an interest relating to the subject of the action and disposing of the action in the party's absence may (i) as a practical matter impair or impede the party's ability to protect the interest; or (ii) leave an existing party subject to a substantial risk of incurring multiple or otherwise inconsistent obligations because of the interest, Fed.R.Civ.P. 19(a)(1)(B).

Laethem Equip. Co., 485 F.Appx. at 44 (6th Cir. 2012).

The Parties argue that RMC is a necessary party for two reasons. First, the Parties argue RMC claims an interest relating to the subject matter of the action and is so situated that disposing of the action RMC's absence may as a practical matter impair or impede the person's ability to protect the interest. (ECF No. 34 at 2.) Second, the Parties argue that proceeding in RMC's absence may leave an existing party subject to a substantial risk of incurring ...


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