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WYANT v. AMTRAK

April 7, 1995

SUSAN WYANT and EDWARD WYANT, Plaintiffs, against NATIONAL RAILROAD PASSENGER CORPORATION, d/b/a AMTRAK, Defendant.

John G. Koeltl, United States District Judge


The opinion of the court was delivered by: JOHN G. KOELTL

JOHN G. KOELTL, District Judge:

 For the reasons set forth below, the plaintiffs' motion to amend is granted. Because the joinder of Nelson Maintenance destroys diversity jurisdiction, the plaintiffs' motion to remand also is granted. Finally, the defendant's application to amend its notice of removal is denied.

 I.

 The plaintiffs filed their complaint in this personal injury action in New York State Supreme Court, New York County, on August 29, 1994. The case arises out of an incident in which Susan Wyant allegedly tripped and fell in the Amtrak waiting area of Pennsylvania Station in New York City on April 26, 1993. *fn1" Amtrak filed a notice of removal on October 7, 1994 pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1441 and 1332. In its notice of removal, Amtrak alleged that the Wyants are New York residents, that Amtrak is chartered under the laws of the District of Columbia and has its principal place of business there and that the amount in controversy exceeds $ 50,000. Thus, there was complete diversity between the plaintiffs and the defendant and the case properly was removed. *fn2" Following removal, the plaintiffs filed their current motion to amend and remand.

 A.

 The plaintiffs contend that they have brought this motion because they only recently have learned, through discovery in this case, that Nelson Maintenance performs maintenance work at the location where Susan Wyant allegedly tripped and fell. (Pls.' Aff. Supp. Mot. at P 3.) Nelson Maintenance, a New York corporation, works under contract with Amtrak and is responsible for, among other things, the daily cleaning of the floors.

 Rule 15(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires that leave to amend the pleadings "shall be freely given when justice so requires." Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a). The decision whether to permit an amendment is committed to the discretion of the district court. Gursky v. Northwestern Mut. Life Ins. Co., 139 F.R.D. 279, 281 (E.D.N.Y. 1991).

 Permissive joinder of parties is governed by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 20. Rule 20(a) provides, in relevant part:

 
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 defendants will arise in the action. . . .

 Fed. R. Civ. P. 20(a). As the court explained in Gursky: "Under the Federal Rules generally, 'the impulse is toward the broadest possible scope of action consistent with fairness to the parties; joinder of claims, parties and remedies is strongly encouraged.'" Gursky, 139 F.R.D. at 282 (citing United Mine Workers of Am. v. Gibbs, 383 U.S. 715, 724, 16 L. Ed. 2d 218, 86 S. Ct. 1130 (1966)).

 While permitting an amendment that destroys diversity jurisdiction requires a remand to state court, it is well-settled that a district court may, in its sound discretion, permit the addition of such new parties. Gursky, 139 F.R.D. at 281 (collecting district court cases). In exercising this discretion, courts first consider whether joinder would be appropriate under Rule 20 and then proceed to weigh the competing interests in efficient adjudication and the need to protect diversity jurisdiction from manipulation. See Amon v. Nelson, 1992 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 280, No. 91 Civ. 3844, 1992 WL 8337, *2-4 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 15, 1992) (Mukasey, J.). ...


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