2021 Georgia Code
Title 9 - Civil Practice
Chapter 11 - Civil Practice Act
Article 4 - Parties
§ 9-11-20. Permissive Joinder of Parties

Universal Citation: GA Code § 9-11-20 (2021)
  1. Permissive joinder. 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 of them 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 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 of the defendants according to their respective liabilities.
  2. 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 asserts no claim and who asserts no claim against him and may order separate trials or make other orders to prevent delay or prejudice.

(Ga. L. 1966, p. 609, § 20.)

Law reviews.

- For comment advocating joinder of insured and insurer in the same action in Georgia, in light of Shingleton v. Bussey, 223 So. 2d 713 (Fla. 1969), see 21 Mercer L. Rev. 351 (1969).


Subsection (b) of O.C.G.A. § 9-11-20 has little significance, aside from emphasizing the availability of separate trials, inasmuch as the power granted the court therein also is provided by the much broader grant of discretion set forth in O.C.G.A. § 9-11-42(b). Vitner v. Funk, 182 Ga. App. 39, 354 S.E.2d 666 (1987).

Constitutional venue provisions may not be altered or changed by the legislature or the courts; hence, adoption of procedural devices for adjudicating claims of various parties in the same action does not effect a change in the venue requirements of the Constitution. Haley v. Citizens & S. Nat'l Bank, 141 Ga. App. 13, 232 S.E.2d 362 (1977).

Essentially independent claim must satisfy venue requirements.

- If claim asserted against the codefendants or the third parties is essentially independent, rather than one ancillary to the main action, it must satisfy within itself the constitutional venue requirements. Southern Guar. Ins. Co. v. Johnson, 126 Ga. App. 134, 190 S.E.2d 136 (1972).

Indispensable prerequisite to joining a nonresident in an equity suit is a prayer for substantial equitable relief which is common to the resident and nonresident defendants. Madray v. Ogden, 225 Ga. 806, 171 S.E.2d 560 (1969).

Joinder is at plaintiff's option; joinder cannot be demanded as a matter of right by the defendant. North Carolina Nat'l Bank v. Peoples Bank, 127 Ga. App. 372, 193 S.E.2d 571 (1972), aff'd, 230 Ga. 389, 197 S.E.2d 352 (1973).

One is not required to join all joint tortfeasors in one suit to recover the damage sustained, and there is no right on the part of one joint tortfeasor who is sued for the joint tort to compel the plaintiff to bring in other tortfeasors. North Carolina Nat'l Bank v. Peoples Bank, 127 Ga. App. 372, 193 S.E.2d 571 (1972), aff'd, 230 Ga. 389, 197 S.E.2d 352 (1973).

Permissive joinder rule will not allow defendant tortfeasor to join joint tortfeasor without plaintiff's consent when the alleged joint tortfeasor objects to joinder. Freeman v. Low X-Ray Corp., 130 Ga. App. 856, 204 S.E.2d 803 (1974).

Joinder of successive tortfeasors not permitted.

- After the plaintiff was injured in two separate motor vehicle accidents four months apart, joinder in one action of the owners of the vehicles involved was improper since the defendants were not joint, but successive tortfeasors; the two accidents were insufficiently connected to constitute a "series of occurrences" giving rise to the plaintiff's claims. Brinks, Inc. v. Robinson, 215 Ga. App. 865, 452 S.E.2d 788 (1994); Ferguson v. Carver, 257 Ga. App. 849, 572 S.E.2d 700 (2002).

Joinder of claims arising out of "similar" transactions not authorized.

- Fact that evidence of a similar transaction is admissible does not authorize joinder of claims involving the similar transaction. Howard Motor Co. v. Swint, 214 Ga. App. 682, 448 S.E.2d 713 (1994).

Because the numerous claims involving the various plaintiffs did not arise out of the same transaction, occurrence, or series of transactions or occurrences, but the claims were merely similar, involving common questions of law and fact, and thus could have been consolidated in accordance with O.C.G.A. § 9-11-42(a), the trial court erred in denying the defendants' motion to sever those claims. Lincoln Elec. Co. v. Gaither, 286 Ga. App. 558, 649 S.E.2d 823 (2007).

Rule against apportionment of damages among tortfeasors.

- Georgia follows common-law rule against apportionment of damages among joint and several tortfeasors, notwithstanding the language of subsection (a) of this section, except when the statute law sanctions such apportionment in cases involving trespasses. Craven v. Allen, 118 Ga. App. 462, 164 S.E.2d 358 (1968).

Joinder of tort and contract actions permitted.

- There is now no inhibition to the joinder of actions ex contractu and those ex delicto. Continental Ins. Co. v. Mercer, 130 Ga. App. 339, 203 S.E.2d 297 (1973).

Fraudulent misjoinder did not occur.

- In a removed action seeking a declaration by former distributors as to the enforceability of non-compete and non-solicitation provisions in their respective distributorship agreements, a non-diverse corporation was not fraudulently misjoined under Fed. R. Civ. P. 20 or O.C.G.A. § 9-11-20(a), warranting a remand pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1447, because the court could not say with certainty that its claims did not arise out of the same series of transactions. Campbell v. Quixtar, Inc., F. Supp. 2d (N.D. Ga. June 13, 2008).

Cited in Peacock Constr. Co. v. Turner Concrete, Inc., 116 Ga. App. 822, 159 S.E.2d 114 (1967); New Orleans & N.E.R.R. v. Pioneer Plastics Corp., 224 Ga. 228, 161 S.E.2d 294 (1968); Bloodworth v. Bloodworth, 225 Ga. 379, 169 S.E.2d 150 (1969); Elliott v. Leavitt, 122 Ga. App. 622, 178 S.E.2d 268 (1970); Bulloch County Hosp. Auth. v. Fowler, 124 Ga. App. 242, 183 S.E.2d 586 (1971); Gill v. Myrick, 228 Ga. 253, 185 S.E.2d 72 (1971); Gamble v. Reeves Transp. Co., 126 Ga. App. 161, 190 S.E.2d 95 (1972); Bibb County v. McDaniel, 127 Ga. App. 129, 192 S.E.2d 544 (1972); Karlan v. Enloe, 129 Ga. App. 1, 198 S.E.2d 331 (1973); Decker v. Hope, 129 Ga. App. 553, 200 S.E.2d 290 (1973); Atlanta Air Fleet, Inc. v. Insurance Co. of N. Am., 130 Ga. App. 15, 202 S.E.2d 192 (1973); Coop Mtg. Invs. Assocs. v. Pendley, 134 Ga. App. 236, 214 S.E.2d 572 (1975); City of Claxton v. Claxton Poultry Co., 134 Ga. App. 679, 215 S.E.2d 718 (1975); Georgia Ports Auth. v. Central of Ga. Ry., 135 Ga. App. 859, 219 S.E.2d 467 (1975); Pendley v. Hunter, 138 Ga. App. 864, 227 S.E.2d 857 (1976); C & S Land, Transp. & Dev. Corp. v. Grubbs, 141 Ga. App. 393, 233 S.E.2d 486 (1977); Bernath v. Malloy, 238 Ga. 584, 234 S.E.2d 502 (1977); Farmers Mut. Exch. of Baxley, Inc. v. Dixon, 146 Ga. App. 663, 247 S.E.2d 124 (1978); Commercial Union Ins. Co. v. Ed V. Collins Contracting, Inc., 147 Ga. App. 183, 248 S.E.2d 220 (1978); McNeal v. Paine, Webber, Jackson & Curtis, Inc., 249 Ga. 662, 293 S.E.2d 331 (1982); Grissett v. Wilson, 181 Ga. App. 727, 353 S.E.2d 621 (1987); Washburn v. Sardi's Restaurants, 191 Ga. App. 307, 381 S.E.2d 750 (1989); Harper v. DOT, 195 Ga. App. 602, 394 S.E.2d 398 (1990); Marwede v. EQR/Lincoln L.P., 284 Ga. App. 404, 643 S.E.2d 766 (2007); Southern LNG, Inc. v. MacGinnitie, 294 Ga. 657, 755 S.E.2d 683 (2014); Ultra Group of Companies, Inc. v. Alli, 352 Ga. App. 71, 833 S.E.2d 751 (2019), cert. denied, No. S20C0336, 2020 Ga. LEXIS 421 (Ga. 2020).


Am. Jur. 2d.

- 59 Am. Jur. 2d, Parties, §§ 1, 5, 6, 124 et seq. 75 Am. Jur. 2d, Trial, §§ 92, 93.


- 35A C.J.S., Federal Civil Procedure, § 129 et seq. 67A C.J.S., Parties, § 36 et seq. 88 C.J.S., Trial, § 21 et seq.


- Right of husband and wife to maintain joint action for wrongs directly affecting both arising from same act, 25 A.L.R. 743.

Right to enjoin enforcement of illegal tax, local assessment, or license fee, upon joinder of several affected thereby, 32 A.L.R. 1266; 156 A.L.R. 319.

Joinder of grantees or transferees in different conveyances or transfers in suit to avoid them as in fraud of creditors, 69 A.L.R. 229.

Right of one to notice and hearing on motion to add him as a party, or substitute him for an original party, to pending action or proceeding, 69 A.L.R. 1247.

Right of one brought into action as a party by original defendant upon the ground that he is or may be liable to the latter in respect of the matter in suit, to raise or contest issues with plaintiff, 78 A.L.R. 327.

Right of defendant in action for personal injury or death to bring in a joint tort-feasor not made a party by plaintiff, 78 A.L.R. 580; 132 A.L.R. 1424.

May acts of independent tort-feasors, each of which alone causes or tends to produce some damage, be combined to create a joint liability, 91 A.L.R. 759.

Intervention or subsequent joinder of parties as affecting jurisdiction of federal court based upon diversity of citizenship, 134 A.L.R. 335.

Joinder or representation of several claimants in action against carrier or utility to recover overcharge, 1 A.L.R.2d 160.

Joinder as defendants, in tort action based on condition of sidewalk or highway, of municipal corporation and abutting property owner or occupant, 15 A.L.R.2d 1293.

Appealability of order with respect to motion for joinder of additional parties, 16 A.L.R.2d 1023.

Joinder of insurer and insured under policy of compulsory indemnity or liability insurance in action by injured third person, 20 A.L.R.2d 1097.

Necessary parties defendant to action to set aside conveyance in fraud of creditors, 24 A.L.R.2d 395.

Right of retailer sued by consumer for breach of implied warranty of wholesomeness or fitness of food or drink, to bring in as a party defendant the wholesaler or manufacturer from whom article was procured, 24 A.L.R.2d 913.

Necessary parties defendant to suit to prevent or remove obstruction or interference with easement of way, 28 A.L.R.2d 409.

Joinder of cause of action for pain and suffering of decedent with cause of action for wrongful death, 35 A.L.R.2d 1377.

Joinder, in injunction action to restrain or abate nuisance, of persons contributing thereto through separate and independent acts, 45 A.L.R.2d 1284.

Diversity of citizenship, for purposes of federal jurisdiction, in stockholders' derivative action, 68 A.L.R.2d 824.

Intervenor's right to disqualify judge, 92 A.L.R.2d 1110.

Right of plaintiff suing jointly with others to separate trial or order of severance, 99 A.L.R.2d 670.

Contribution or indemnity between joint tort-feasors on basis of relative fault, 53 A.L.R.3d 184.

Propriety of consideration of, and disposition as to, third persons' property claims in divorce litigation, 63 A.L.R.3d 373.

Appealability of state court order granting or denying consolidation, severance, or separate trials, 77 A.L.R.3d 1082.

Construction and application of fraudulent misjoinder exception to complete diversity rule, 65 A.L.R. Fed. 2d 527.

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