Notes on joinder and misjoinder of causes

Joinder of causes of action is the assertion of as many causes of action as a party may have against an opposing party in one pleading alone. It is not compulsory, but merely permissive. (Rule 2, Sec. 5)

What are the requisites for joinder of causes of action? (Rule 2, Sec. 5)

[1] There must be compliance with the rule on permissive joinder of parties under Rule 3, Sec. 6.

Must arise out of the same transaction or series of transactions AND there is a common question of law or fact. Ex. A, owner of a property, can file an ejectment complaint against B, C and D who are occupying his property without his consent.

[2] A party cannot join in an ordinary action any of the special civil actions.

What is the reason for this? Well, special civil actions are governed by special rules. For example, a P500,000 collection cannot be joined with partition because the latter is a special civil action.

[3] Where the causes of action are between the same parties but pertain to different venues or jurisdictions, the joinder may be allowed in the RTC, provided ONE OF THE CAUSES OF ACTION falls within the jurisdiction of the RTC and the venue lies therein.

What is the exception? Ejectment cases may not be joined with an action within the jurisdiction of the RTC as the same comes within the exclusive jurisdiction of the MTC.Unless the defendant did not object thereto, answered the complaint, and went to trial because he is precluded from assailing any judgment against him on the ground of estoppel or laches.  (Valderrama vs. CA, 252 SCRA 406 [1996])

Another note: As to joinder in the MTC, it must have jurisdiction over ALL THE CAUSES OF ACTION and must have common venue.

[4] Where the claims in all the causes of action are principally for recovery of money, jurisdiction is determined by the aggregate or total amount claimed. This is known as the totality rule.

Please note that the totality rule applies only to the MTC. Totality of claims cannot exceed the jurisdictional amount of the MTC.

There is no totality rule for the RTC because its jurisdictional amount is without limit. For example, in tax cases where the limit is below P1 million. Amounts of P1 million or more fall within the jurisdiction of the CTA.

Misjoinder of causes of action is not ground for dismissal of an action.

A misjoined cause may, on motion of a party or on the initiative of the court, be severed and proceeded with separately. (Rule 2, Sec. 6)

Please note that, unlike splitting of a cause of action, a misjoinder is not a ground for the dismissal of an action.