Hatemi v. M&T Bank Corporation
DECISION AND ORDER denying 50 Motion for Permissive Joinder. Signed by Hon. Hugh B. Scott on 3/5/2015. (GAI)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
DECISION AND ORDER
M&T BANK CORPORATION,
On November 26, 2014, plaintiff Lachin Hatemi (“Hatemi”) filed a motion (Dkt.
No. 50) to add defendants under Rule 20(a)(2) 1 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
Specifically, Hatemi seeks to add the following three defendants to his complaint:
Robert G. Wilmers in his official capacity as the Chairman of the Board and
Chief Executive Officer of M&T Bank;
Donna McClure in her official capacity as the Senior Vice President and
Chief Compliance Officer of M&T Bank; and
Rene F. Jones in her official capacity as the Executive Vice President and
Chief Financial Officer of the M&T Bank.
(Dkt. No. 50 at 1–2.) Hatemi wants to add these three defendants because he “believes
that the following individuals can provide vital information for the progression of this legal
action. Plaintiff also alleges that the following individuals are responsible for the alleged
violations of the Federal laws and regulations mentioned in the chief complaint.” (Id. at
Hatemi invokes Rule 20(b), but that section concerns only protective measures. Hatemi, who is
pro se, likely meant Rule 20(a)(2), which governs addition of defendants.
Defendant M & T Bank Corporation (“M & T”) opposes joinder for two reasons.
M & T asserts that the Electronic Fund Transfer Act (“EFTA”) and Regulation E govern
only financial institutions and not individuals such as the proposed new defendants. M
& T also argues that the complaint contains no allegations against the proposed
The Court will address the motion through a Decision and Order because motions
for joinder are non-dispositive. E.g., Bell v. Lockheed Martin Corp., No. CIV. 08-6292,
2010 WL 3724271, at *6 (D.N.J. Sept. 15, 2010) (“A motion to amend to add new
parties pursuant to Rule 20(a) is a nondispositive motion.”) (citations omitted); Chavez v.
Illinois State Police, No. 94 C 5307, 1999 WL 515483, at *2 (N.D. Ill. July 15, 1999)
(“A motion to join an additional party under Rule 20(a) is a nondispositive pretrial
matter.”) (citation omitted). Under Rule 20(a)(2), Hatemi can add defendants to this case
if “(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). To help courts assess the requirements of Rule 20(a)(2),
parties frequently file motions for joinder together with motions to amend complaints
under Rule 15. See, e.g., Valle v. SmithKline Beecham Corp., No. 07-CV-6514T, 2008
WL 2782855, at *2 (W.D.N.Y. July 8, 2008) (Payson, M.J.) (reviewing a proposed
amended complaint under Rules 15 and 20); R & M Jewelry, LLC v. Michael Anthony
Jewelers, Inc., 221 F.R.D. 398, 399 (S.D.N.Y. 2004) (same).
Here, a proposed amended complaint from Hatemi would help explain why he
needs to add three new defendants. The current complaint (Dkt. No. 1) does not mention
any of the proposed defendants at all. The ability of the proposed defendants to “provide
vital information” might warrant depositions or other discovery proceedings but does not
meet the standard for joinder under Rule 20(a)(2). Whether the proposed defendants are
personally responsible for bringing about Hatemi’s claimed injuries may or may not be
true, but the Court cannot decide based on the current complaint.
The Court thus must deny Hatemi’s motion for now, but without prejudice.
Hatemi will be allowed, if he wants, to file a joint motion to amend the complaint under
Rule 15 and to add parties under Rule 20(a)(2). If Hatemi files a new motion then he will
have to follow Local Civil Rule 15 and attach a copy of a proposed amended complaint.
Without deciding the issue at this time, Hatemi also should consider addressing M & T’s
argument that the EFTA and Regulation E do not govern individuals.
DATED: March 5, 2015
__/s Hugh B. Scott________
HONORABLE HUGH B. SCOTT
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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