Rules of Civil Procedure

Rules of Civil Procedure  Civil Procedure Rule 18: Joinder of claims and remedies

Effective Date: 07/01/1974

Table of Contents

(a) Joinder of claims

A party asserting a claim to relief as an original claim, counterclaim, cross-claim, or third party claim, may join, either as independent or as alternate claims, as many claims, legal or equitable, or both, as he has against an opposing party.

(b) Joinder of remedies: Fraudulent conveyances

Whenever a claim is one heretofore cognizable only after another claim has been prosecuted to a conclusion, the two claims may be joined in a single action; but the court shall grant relief in that action only in accordance with the relative substantive rights of the parties. In particular, a plaintiff may state a claim for money and a claim to have set aside a conveyance fraudulent as to him, without first having obtained a judgment establishing the claim for money.

Reporter's notes

(1996) Prior to the merger of the District Court Rules into the Massachusetts Rules of Civil Procedure, the District Court version of Rule 18(b) contained no reference to fraudulent conveyances. Under the merged set of rules, the reference to fraudulent conveyances is maintained, but the merger itself does not serve to confer jurisdiction on the District Court which otherwise does not exist. See Rule 83.

(1973) Rule 18(a) works a major change in Massachusetts practice. Under prior law, causes of action could be joined only "when they arise out of the same matter" (Mass.G.L. c. 231 §§ 1A, 7 (part sixth)) or if they belong to the same division of actions (G.L. c. 231 § 1; Mass.G.L. c. 231 § 7 (part fifth)). Legal and equitable claims could not be joined in a single action. Although equity rules were more liberal as to joinder, "multifarious" admixture of claims was forbidden. Coughlin v. Coughlin, 312 Mass. 452, 456, 45 N.E.2d 388, 391-392 (1942); Strasnick v. American Wood Products Corp., 319 Mass. 723, 65 N.E.2d 310 (1946). Now all disputed issues between the parties may be resolved in one lawsuit.

Rule 18(b) accords with case law. In litigation under G.L. c. 214 § 3(8), a single bill in equity "to reach and apply property fraudulently conveyed combine[d] in one proceeding matters both of law and equity. The first [was] the establishment of indebtedness by the defendant to the plaintiff. The second [was] the equitable process for collecting the debt out of property fraudulently conveyed." Salvucci v. Sheehan, 349 Mass. 659, 662, 212 N.E.2d 243, 244-245 (1965).

The adoption of 18(b) does not, however, permit the plaintiff to bring a single action (1) to establish liability for a tort and (2) to reach and apply the obligation of an insurance company in satisfaction of the judgment. See G.L. c. 214 § 3(9). A specific prohibition against such telescoping is unnecessary, because  G.L. c. 214 § 3(9) prohibits a suit being maintained unless the judgment against the tortfeasor has remained unsatisfied for 30 days; see also Rogan v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., 305 Mass. 186, 188, 25 N.E.2d 188, 189 (1940).

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