Skypoint Advisors, LLC. v. 3 Amigos Productions LLC. et al
ORDER granting 123 Motion for Joinder. Signed by Judge John E. Steele on 10/9/2019. (FWH)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
FORT MYERS DIVISION
SKYPOINT ADVISORS, LLC.,
3 AMIGOS PRODUCTIONS LLC.,
BLACKBURNSTEELE LLC., ISSA
ZAROUI, and MARK C CRAWFORD,
ORDER AND OPINION
This matter comes before the Court on the defendants’ Motion
to Join Denis Dreni as Counter-Defendant (Doc. #123) filed on
August 29, 2019.
Plaintiff filed a Response in Opposition (Doc.
#126) on September 12, 2019.
For the reasons that follow, the
motion is granted.
According to the Third Amended Complaint, plaintiff Skypoint
Advisors, LLC is a Florida limited liability company by and through
its members, which include Dreni.
(Doc. #93, p. 1.)
has filed suit against Defendant 3 Amigos Productions, LLC, a
Nevada limited liability company with three managing members: (1)
defendant BlackburnSteele, LLC, whose sole managing member is
defendant Mark Crawford; (2) defendant Issa Zaroui; and (3) nonparty
defendants made misrepresentations to induce plaintiff to invest
in a film project.
(Id. pp. 4-26.)
The Third Amended Complaint
alleges the following six claims: (1) violation of Section 10(b)
thereunder; (2) violation of Florida’s Securities and Investor
Protection Act, § 517.011 et. seq., Fla. Stat.; (3) common law
fraud; (4) violation of Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade
Practices Act, § 501.201 et. seq., Fla. Stat.; (5) breach of
contract; and (6) breach of fiduciary duty.
(Id. pp. 32-47.)
first four claims are alleged against all the defendants, while
the fifth and sixth claims are alleged only against defendant 3
The defendants have filed an Answer in which the allegations
of the Third Amended Complaint are generally denied.
The defendants also raise seven affirmative defenses
and assert counterclaims against both plaintiff and Dreni.
The three counterclaims are for (1) defamation, (2)
violation of the Stored Communications Act, 18 U.S.C. §§ 27012713, and (3) tortious interference.
(Id. pp. 26-29.)
is asserted against plaintiff and Dreni jointly and severally.
The addition of a person as a party to a counterclaim is
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Fed. R. Civ. P. 13(h).
Rule 19 addresses the joinder
of required parties while Rule 20 provides for the permissive
joinder of parties.
to join Dreni.
It is under Rule 20 that the defendants seek
(Doc. #123, pp. 2-3.)
Rule 20 provides that persons may be joined in one action as
(A) any right to relief is asserted against them jointly,
severally, or in the alternative with respect to or
arising out of the same transaction, occurrence, or
series of transactions or occurrences; and
(B) any question of law or fact common to all defendants
will arise in the action.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 20(a)(2).
The defendants argue both of these
requirements are met because (1) all the causes of action in the
jointly and severally, (2) all the causes of action are identical
for plaintiff and Dreni, who acted both independently and on
plaintiff’s behalf, and (3) there are questions of law and fact
common to both Dreni and plaintiff because Dreni is “indisputably
behind all of [plaintiff’s] alleged tortious acts against the
(Doc. #123, pp. 2-3.)
The defendants also assert
that failure to join Dreni as a counter-defendant “will result in
the type of duplicative litigation that Rule 20 was intended to
(Id. p. 3.)
Per the Eleventh Circuit, in making a joinder decision a
district court is “guided by the underlying purpose of joinder,
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which is to promote trial convenience and expedite the resolution
of disputes, thereby eliminating unnecessary lawsuits.”
Ray, 293 F.3d 1252, 1253 (11th Cir. 2002) (marks and citation
omitted); see also United Mine Workers of Am. v. Gibbs, 383 U.S.
715, 724 (1966) (“Under the Rules [of Civil Procedure], the impulse
is toward entertaining the broadest possible scope of action
consistent with fairness to the parties; joinder of claims, parties
and remedies is strongly encouraged.”).
Having reviewed the
allegations in the counter-complaint, the Court finds joinder is
The three counterclaims are alleged against both
plaintiff and Dreni jointly and severally, arise out of the same
Accordingly, despite plaintiff’s argument to the contrary, the
Court finds joinder under Rule 20 is appropriate.
Ctr., LLC v. Evol Nutrition Assocs., Inc., 389 F. Supp. 3d 1281,
1289-90 (N.D. Ga. 2019) (finding joinder of plaintiff company’s
managing member was appropriate where defendant asserted member
was jointly and severally liable for company’s conduct due to his
participation in alleged false advertising).
Plaintiff requests that should the Court find joinder of Dreni
warranted under Rule 20, “protective measures should be taken to
prevent possible prejudice or unfairness.”
(Doc. #126, p. 4.)
Rule 20(b) provides for such measures in the following provision:
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(b) Protective Measures.
The Court may issue orders—
including an order for separate trials—to protect a
party against embarrassment, delay, expense, or other
prejudice that arises from including a person against
whom the party asserts no claim and who asserts no claim
against the party.
counterclaims from plaintiff’s claims is warranted “to prevent
prejudice and unfairness.”
(Doc. #126, p. 4.)
notes that the counterclaims “have no bearing on the merits of
Plaintiff’s claims and should not be tried therewith.”
The Court is unconvinced and finds severing the claims would
be inefficient and a waste of judicial resources contrary to the
purpose of Rule 20.
See Gibbs, 383 U.S. at 724; Swan, 293 F.3d
Accordingly, it is hereby
Defendants’ Motion to Join Denis Dreni as Counter-Defendant
(Doc. #123) is GRANTED.
DONE and ORDERED at Fort Myers, Florida, this
Counsel of Record
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