Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 14
Rule 14. Third-Party Practice
(a) WHEN A DEFENDING PARTY MAY BRING IN A THIRD PARTY.
(1) Timing of the Summons and Complaint. A defending party may, as third-party plaintiff, serve a summons and complaint on a nonparty who is or may be liable to it for all or part of the claim against it. But the third-party plaintiff must, by motion, obtain the court’s leave if it files the third-party complaint more than 14 days after serving its original answer.
(2) Third-Party Defendant’s Claims and Defenses. The person served with the summons and third-party complaint – the “third party defendant”:
(A) must assert any defense against the third-party plaintiff’s claim under Rule 12;
(B) must assert any counterclaim against the third-party plaintiff under Rule 13(a), and may assert any counterclaim against the third-party plaintiff under Rule 13(b) or any crossclaim against another third-party defendant under Rule 13(g);
(C) may assert against the plaintiff any defense that the third-party plaintiff has to the plaintiff’s claim; and
(D) may also assert against the plaintiff any claim arising out of the transaction or occurrence that is the subject matter of the plaintiff’s claim against the third-party plaintiff.
(3) Plaintiff’s Claims Against a Third-Party Defendant. The plaintiff may assert against the third-party defendant any claim arising out of the transaction or occurrence that is the subject matter of the plaintiff’s claim against the third-party plaintiff. The third-party defendant must then assert any defense under Rule 12 and any counterclaim under Rule 13(a), and may assert any counterclaim under Rule 13(b) or any crossclaim under Rule 13(g).
(4) Motion to Strike, Sever, or Try Separately. Any party may move to strike the third-party claim, to sever it, or to try it separately.
(5) Third-Party Defendant’s Claim Against a Nonparty. A third-party defendant may proceed under this rule against a non-party who is or may be liable to the third-party defendant for all or part of any claim against it.
(6) Third-Party Complaint In Rem. If it is within the admiralty or maritime jurisdiction, a third-party complaint may be in rem. In that event, a reference in this rule to the ‘‘sum- mons’’ includes the warrant of arrest, and a reference to the defendant or third-party plaintiff includes, when appropriate, a person who asserts a right under Supplemental Rule C(6)(a)(i) in the property arrested.
(b) WHEN A PLAINTIFF MAY BRING IN A THIRD PARTY. When a claim is asserted against a plaintiff, the plaintiff may bring in a third party if this rule would allow a defendant to do so.
(c) ADMIRALTY OR MARITIME CLAIM.
(1) Scope of Impleader. If a plaintiff asserts an admiralty or
maritime claim under Rule 9(h), the defendant or a person who asserts a right under Supplemental Rule C(6)(a)(i) may, as a third-party plaintiff, bring in a third-party defendant who may be wholly or partly liable—either to the plaintiff or to the third-party plaintiff—for remedy over, contribution, or otherwise on account of the same transaction, occurrence, or series of transactions or occurrences.
(2) Defending Against a Demand for Judgment for the Plaintiff. The third-party plaintiff may demand judgment in the plaintiff’s favor against the third-party defendant. In that event, the third-party defendant must defend under Rule 12 against the plaintiff’s claim as well as the third-party plaintiff’s claim; and the action proceeds as if the plaintiff had sued both the third-party defendant and the third-party plaintiff.
- Rule 14 governs third party practice, commonly known as impleader.
- The idea behind impleader is that the defendant is saying if I am liable to the plaintiff then someone else has to reimburse me and I am want to force him to join this case. This frequently comes up in situations where there is insurance or an indemnification agreement.
- The defendant can implead a third party defendant without the court’s permission within 14 days of its original Answer. After that, the defendant will need to make a motion to get permission from the court.
- Below is a video on impleader:
- Now, the defendant that caused the other party to join the case is also a third party plaintiff and the party that is made to join the case is called a third party defendant.
- The caption of our case could now look something like this:
- Looking at this caption we can see that Bob Jones originally sued John Smith. John Smith counterclaimed against Bob Jones. But John Smith wasn’t done. He then impleaded Terry Toon. His third party complaint against Toon alleged that if Smith owes Jones any money then Toon owes Smith.
- Now, what can Toon do? His claims and defenses are also governed by Rule 14 (you might want to cross-reference with the other Federal Rules).
- First, Toon must assert any defense or may make any motion against Smith as provided by Rule 12.
- Next, as provided by Rule 13, Toon will have to assert any mandatory counterclaims against Smith and will have the option of asserting permissible counterclaims.
- Toon can also assert against Jones any claim arising out of the same transaction and occurrence as Jones’s claim against Smith.
- Can Jones assert a claim against Toon? Yes, but only if it arises out of the same transaction or occurrence as Jones’s original claim against Smith. In response Toon must assert his Rule 12 defenses against Jones and mandatory Rule 13 counterclaims. He can also assert permissive counterclaims and crossclaims.