Harrier Technologies Inc. v. CPA Global Limited
When ruling whether a party is an "indispensable" party to a legal action, a court may consider whether: 1.) an adequate remedy exists, if the suit is dismissed; 2.) a judgment without the party will be adequate; and 3.) a judgment reached without the party would prejudice any party. Harrier Technologies sued the defendants, CPA Global and CPA North America, alleging that the defendants did not renew the plaintiff's patent filings. Harrier Technologies and CPA North America are both citizens of Delaware. Diversity of citizenship did not exist, and the defendants filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiff's suit for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. In response, Harrier moved to amend its complaint, to remove the nondiverse party, CPA North America, as a party defendant. The defendants objected that CPA North America is an "indispensable" party to the plaintiff's suit. "It is well settled that Rule 21 authorizes courts to drop a dispensable nondiverse party at any time, even after judgment has been rendered, as long as doing so would not prejudice any of the remaining parties," pursuant to Call Center Technologies v. Grand Adventures Tour & Travel Pub. Corp., a 2011 decision of the 2nd Circuit. CPA North America expressed concern that if the plaintiff is not successful in its claims against CPA Global, the plaintiff might attempt to pursue other legal theories in state court against CPA North America. CPA North America observed that an adequate remedy exists, because presumably the plaintiff could file another complaint in Connecticut Superior Court. "[W]hen federal diversity jurisdiction will exist if nondiverse parties are dropped, the bare fact that a state court forum is available does not, by itself, make it appropriate to dismiss the federal action," pursuant to Samaha v. Presbyterian Hospital, a 1985 decision of the 2nd Circuit. Here, the court found that, if the plaintiff prevails, a judgment without CPA North America as a party defendant will be adequate. The defendant did not meet its burden of establishing that CPA North America is "indispensable" and that nonjoinder of CPA North America makes a just resolution of the plaintiff's claims impossible.