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I have the following in my notes regarding the joinder of parties:

Rule 20(a)(1) allows persons to join as plaintiffs if they assert any right jointly, severally, or alternatively arising from the same transaction or occurrence, or if the case presents any question of law or fact, to all plaintiffs. Similarly, Rule 20(a)(2) allows persons to be joined as defendants if any right is asserted against them jointly, severally, or alternatively arising from the same transaction or occurrence, or if the case presents any question of law or fact common to all defendants.

I know that jointly means together. And severally means separately. What does alternatively mean here?

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  • Maybe it means "alternately" -- they take turns asserting the right.
    – Barmar
    Commented May 19 at 0:57

2 Answers 2

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“Alternatively” means the same facts but under a different cause of action

For example, if I contract you to modify my commercial building and you don’t finish by the time required, I could sue you for breach of contract for the delay. If my tenant was damaged by your breach, they might sue you for negligence for the same delay.

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Jointly and severally refer to the concept of Joint and Several Liability. The plaintiff proves the defendants were liable under this concept.

It means that if sued, the parties are responsible to pay together or separately.

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Alternatively refers to the legal concept of Alternative Liability.

It means that if a plaintiff can not show which defendants are responsible, the group of defendants must show which defendants are responsible.

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