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The uniting of several causes of action or parties in one civil lawsuit.
The putting two or more causes of action in the same declaration.
It is a general rule that in real actions there can never be but one count. A count in a real and a count in a mixed action, cannot be joined in the same declaration; nor a count in a mixed action and a count in a personal action; nor a count in a mixed action with a count in another, as ejectment and trespass.
In mixed actions, there may be two counts in the same declaration; for example, waste lies upon several leases and ejectment upon several demises and ousters. Strictly, however, ejectment at common law, is a personal action and a count in trespass for an assault and battery, may be joined with it; for both sound in trespass and the same judgment is applicable to both.
In personal actions the use of several counts in the same declaration is quite common. Sometimes they are applied to distinct causes of actions, as upon several promissory notes; but it more frequently happens that the various counts introduced, do not really relate to different claims, but are adopted merely as so many different forms of propounding the same demand. The joinder in action depends on the form of action rather than on the subject-matter of it; in an action against a carrier for example, if the plaintiff declare in assumpsit, he cannot join a count in trover as he may if he declare against him in case. The rule as to joinder is that when the same plea may be pleaded and the same judgment given on all the counts of the declaration or when the counts are all of the same nature and the same judgment is to be given upon them all, though the pleas be different, as in the case of debt upon bond and simple contract, they may be joined. 117, c. When the same form of action may be adopted, th may join as many causes of action as he may choose, though he acquired the rights affected by different titles; but the rights of the plaintiffs and the liabilities of the defendant, must be in his own character or in his representative capacity, exclusively. A plaintiff cannot sue, therefore, for a cause of, action in his own right and another cause in his character as executor and join them; nor can he sue the defendant for a debt due by himself and another due, by him as executor.
In criminal cases, different offences may be joined in the same indictment if of the same nature, but an indictment may be quashed, at the discretion of the court, when the counts are joined in such a manner as will confound the evidence.
When a demurrer is offered by one party, the adverse party joins with him in demurrer and the answer which he makes is called a joinder in demurrer. But this is a mere formality.
The act by which the parties to a cause arrive at that stage of it in their pleadings, that one asserts a fact to be so and the other denies it. For example, when one party denies the fact pleaded by his antagonist who has tendered the issue thus, "And this he prays may be inquired of by the country," or "And of this he puts himself upon the country," the party denying the fact may immediately subjoin, "And the said A B does the like;" when the issue is said to be joined.
It is a rule in actions ex contractu that all who have a legal interest in the contract and no others, must join in action founded on a breach of such contract; whether the parties are too many or too few, it is equally fatal.
In actions ex contractu all obligors jointly and not severally liable and no others, must be made defendants.
In actions ex. delicto, when an injury is done to the property of two or more joint owners, they must join in the action.
When a tort is of such a nature that it may be committed by several, they may all be joined in an action ex delicto or they may be sued severally. But when the tort cannot be committed jointly as for example, slander, two or more persons cannot be sued jointly, although they may have uttered the same words.