Superior Court Requires Plaintiff to Name Passive Co-owner of Property as a Defendant or Suit Will Be Subject to Dismissal.

Marshall Dennehey
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Simone v. Alam, 303 A.3d 140 (Pa. Super. 2023)

The plaintiff slipped and fell on an icy walkway located adjacent to a property owned by the defendant and his brother as tenants in common. The brother was not named as a party, so the defendant filed a motion to dismiss for failure to join an indispensable party.

The plaintiff argued the brother only financed the property and lacked any possession or control over the property, therefore, he was not “indispensable’” as no liability could attach to him. The Superior Court held that, as the defendant had been sued in his capacity as “owner” of the property, Pa.R.C.P. 2227 required the co-owner brother be named as a party to the action and, without him, the plaintiff had failed to join an indispensable party, requiring dismissal.

This decision highlights that great care is needed in locating and naming any co-owners of any property that form the basis of a suit.

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Marshall Dennehey
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