Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 21

Rule 21. Misjoinder and Nonjoinder of Parties

Misjoinder of parties is not a ground for dismissing an action. On motion or on its own, the court may at any time, on just terms, add or drop a party. The court may also sever any claim against a party.


Essential Points

  • Misjoinder means that a claim was made against more than one defendant but there is no common question of law or fact among the defendants.  In other words, the requirements for Rule 20, permissive joinder, were not satisfied.
  • Rule 21 provides that instead of dismissing the action, a court can drop a party or sever a claim.

What does it mean to drop a party?

The party is dismissed from the case without prejudice. A similar claim can be brought against that party in another action.

What does it mean to sever a claim?

The claim against that party will proceed in a separate trial.