law-rule-11-agreements (2023)

law-rule 11 | TRCP 11 | Tex. R. Civ. R. 11 | settlement agreements |RULE 11 CASELAW CLIPSUnder Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 11, no agreement between the attorneys or parties to a suit
is enforceable unless it is in writing, signed, and filed with the papers as part of the record, or
unless it is made in open court and entered of record. See Tex. R. Civ. P. 11.[6] A settlement
agreement must comply with Rule 11 to be enforceable. See Padilla v. LaFrance, 907 S.W.2d
454, 460 (Tex. 1995). To satisfy the “in writing” component of Rule 11, the contract principles that
are used in determining whether a “writing” satisfies the statute of frauds apply equally to Rule 11
agreements. See id. Thus, “there must be a written memorandum which is complete within itself
in every material detail, and which contains all of the essential elements of the agreement, so that
the contract can be ascertained from the writings without resorting to oral testimony.” Id. (quoting
Cohen v. McCutchin, 565 S.W.2d 230, 232 (Tex. 1978)). The written memorandum, however,
need not be contained in one document. Id.
In Padilla, the parties had exchanged a series of letters regarding terms of a settlement while a lawsuit was
pending against Enrique Padilla. See 907 S.W.2d at 455. Padilla claimed that the letters represented a
written settlement between the parties and asked the trial court to enforce the agreement. See id. at 457.
The plaintiffs, however, contended that there was no written agreement between the parties. See id.

The Texas Supreme Court concluded that the series of letters between the parties were sufficient to
constitute an agreement in writing satisfying Rule 11. See id. at 460. In doing so, the Court noted that the
letters specifically confirmed a settlement agreement between the parties and contained all the material
terms of the agreement: an agreement to pay a specified sum of money in exchange for the settlement of
all claims. See id. at 460–61.
Green v. Midland Mortgage Co., Tex: Court of Appeals, 14-09-01036-CV (Tex.App. - [14th Dist.] Apr. 12,

(Video) Family Law 101: What is a Rule 11 Agreement?

Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 11 provides that,

Unless otherwise provided in these rules, no agreement between attorneys or parties touching any suit
pending will be enforced unless it be in writing, signed and filed with the papers as part of the record, or
unless it be made in open court and entered of record.

(Video) What is a Rule 11 Agreement in Texas family cases?

Tex. R. Civ. P. 11. Rule 11 agreements “are contracts relating to litigation.” Trudy’s Tex. Star, Inc. v. City
of Austin, 307 S.W.3d 894, 914 (Tex. App.—Austin 2010, no pet.). “The purpose of Rule 11 is to ensure
that agreements of counsel affecting the interests of their clients are not left to the fallibility of human
recollection and that the agreements themselves do not become sources of controversy.” ExxonMobil
Corp. v. Valence Operating Co., 174 S.W.3d 303, 309 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 2005, pet. denied).
Trial courts have a ministerial duty to enforce valid Rule 11 agreements. Id. (citing EZ Pawn Corp. v.
Mancias, 934 S.W.2d 87, 91 (Tex. 1996) and Fed. Lanes, Inc. v. City of Houston, 905 S.W.2d 686, 690
(Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 1995, writ denied)).

“[I]t is not sufficient that a party’s consent to a Rule 11 agreement may have been given at one time;
consent must exist at the time that judgment is rendered.” Id.; see also Padilla v. LaFrance, 907 S.W.2d
454, 461 (Tex. 1995) (“[C]onsent must exist at the very moment the court undertakes to make the
agreement the judgment of the court.”). A party may revoke his consent to a Rule 11 agreement at any
time before rendition of judgment. ExxonMobil, 174 S.W.3d at 309. “A court is not precluded from
enforcing a Rule 11 agreement once it has been repudiated by one of the parties, but an action to enforce
a Rule 11 agreement to which consent has been withdrawn must be based on proper pleading and proof.”
Id.; see also Padilla, 907 S.W.2d at 462 (“An action to enforce a settlement agreement [pursuant to Rule
11], where consent is withdrawn, must be based on proper pleading and proof.”). If a party revokes his
consent to a Rule 11 agreement, the opposing party may attempt to enforce the Rule 11 agreement under
contract law. ExxonMobil, 174 S.W.3d at 309; see Staley v. Herblin, 188 S.W.3d 334, 336 (Tex. App.—
Dallas 2006, pet. denied) (“[W]here consent [to a Rule 11 agreement] has been withdrawn, a court may
not render judgment on the settlement agreement, but may enforce it only as a written contract.
Accordingly, the party seeking enforcement must pursue a separate breach of contract claim which is
subject to the normal rules of pleading and proof.”); see also Mantas v. Fifth Court of Appeals, 925 S.W.2d
656, 658 (Tex. 1996) (per curiam) (holding same).

(Video) Rule 11 Agreements

If fact issues are raised or a party has withdrawn consent, “the only method available for enforcing a [Rule
11] agreement is through summary judgment or trial.” Staley, 188 S.W.3d at 336. The non-breaching
party should raise its claim to enforce the disputed agreement “through an amended pleading or
counterclaim asserting breach of contract.” Id.; see also Padilla, 907 S.W.2d at 462 (approving of Padilla’s
counterclaim seeking enforcement of Rule 11 agreement); Baylor College of Med. v. Camberg, 247 S.W.
3d 342, 348 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 2008, pet. denied) (“[N]othing in the record indicates that
Baylor employed a proper procedure for enforcing a Rule 11 settlement agreement once the parties
proffered differing interpretations of the agreement. For example, Baylor did not file a motion for summary
judgment seeking interpretation of the Rule 11 agreement.”). “To allow enforcement of a disputed [Rule
11] agreement simply on motion and hearing would deprive a party of the right to be confronted by
appropriate pleadings, assert defenses, conduct discovery, and submit contested fact issues to a judge or
jury.” Staley, 188 S.W.3d at 336–37.

RULE 11 SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT - DID ATTORNEY HAVE AUTHORITY TO SIGN IT?“Generally, a court will indulge every reasonable presumption to support a settlement agreement made by
a duly employed attorney.” Ebner v. First State Bank of Smithville, 27 S.W.3d 287, 300 (Tex. App.—Austin
2000, pet. denied); see also Breceda v. Whi, 187 S.W.3d 148, 152 (Tex. App.—El Paso 2006, no pet.)
(“Generally, within these roles, every reasonable presumption is to be indulged in favor of the attorney
duly employed.”); Behzadpour v. Bonton, No. 14-09-01014-CV, 2011 WL 304079, at *3 n.2 (Tex. App.—
Houston [14th Dist.] Jan. 27, 2011, no pet.) (mem. op.) (“An attorney retained for litigation is presumed to
possess actual authority to enter into a settlement on behalf of a client.”). However, this presumption may
be rebutted by “affirmative proof that the client did not authorize his attorney to enter into the settlement.”
City of Roanoke v. Town of Westlake, 111 S.W.3d 617, 629 (Tex. App.—Fort Worth 2003, pet. denied).
When the evidence demonstrates that the attorney did not have the authority to enter into the settlement
agreement, the agreement will not be enforced. Ebner, 27 S.W.3d at 300; see also Kelly v. Murphy, 630 S.
W.2d 759, 761 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 1982, writ ref’d n.r.e.) (noting that presumption that
attorney is acting within authority given by client is rebuttable); Sw. Bell Tel. Co. v. Vidrine, 610 S.W.2d
803, 805 (Tex. Civ. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 1980, writ ref’d n.r.e.) (stating that “mere employment of
counsel does not clothe the counsel with authority to settle the cause without specific consent of the

A party may clothe his attorney with

(Video) Tip of The Day: Rule 11 Agreements

either actual or apparent authority to reach and sign a binding
settlement agreement. W. Beach Marina, Ltd. v. Erdeljac, 94 S.W.3d 248, 255 (Tex. App.—Austin 2002,
no pet.); see also Ebner, 27 S.W.3d at 300 (“To establish authority, the principal must make some
manifestation to the agent (actual authority) or to a third party (apparent authority) that he is conferring
such authority.”).
Actual authority is authority that the principal intentionally conferred on the agent or allowed the agent to believe was conferred. City of Roanoke, 111 S.W.3d at 627; Ebner, 27 S.W.3d at
300; see also Behzadpour, 2011 WL 304079, at *3 (“Actual authority is created through written or spoken
words or conduct of the principal communicated to the agent.”). Actual authority includes both express
and implied authority and “usually denotes that authority a principal (1) intentionally confers upon an
agent, (2) intentionally allows the agent to believe that he possesses, or (3) allows the agent to believe
that he possesses by want of due care.[7] Spring Garden 79U, Inc. v. Stewart Title Co., 874 S.W.2d 945,
948 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 1994, no writ). Implied actual authority is an “adjunct” to express
actual authority, “because implied authority is that which is proper, usual, and necessary to the exercise of
the authority that the principal expressly delegates.” Id.

Murff, MD v. Pass, No. 07-0294 (Tex. Mar. 28, 2008) (

jury selection, juror confusion, disqualification)
NEXT FRIEND OF LESLIE LEANN PASS, A MINOR; from McLennan County; 10th district (10-06-00162-CV,
___ S.W.3d ___, 02-28-07)
Pursuant to Texas Rule of Appellate Procedure 59.1, after granting the petition for review and without
hearing oral argument, the Court reverses the court of appeals' judgment and renders judgment.

(Video) Rule 11 Agreement


Law-rule-11-agreements? ›

A Rule 11 agreement is basically a settlement agreement made outside of court. Rule 11 agreements are made between the attorneys of both parties, written up, signed by both parties, and then filed with the court or read in open court into the record.

What is the Federal Rule 11 agreement? ›

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11 provides that no agreement between attorney or parties touching any suit pending will be enforced unless it is in writing and signed and filed with the papers as part of the record unless the agreement is made in court and entered of record.

What is a Rule 11 agreement in the state of Texas? ›

In a Rule 11 agreement, you and the other parent can agree about things such as how medical, psychological, and educational decisions are made. This also includes determining where your child will live and which parent will be considered the custodial parent. See Texas Family Code chapter 153.

What is Rule 11 simplified? ›

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11 provides that a district court may sanction attorneys or parties who submit pleadings for an improper purpose or that contain frivolous arguments or arguments that have no evidentiary support.

How do you get out of a Rule 11 agreement in Texas? ›

If you filed a rule 11 agreement and no longer wish to abide by its terms, it may not be too late. Either party can attempt to withdraw the agreement after filing as long as a judgment has not yet been rendered.

What is the primary purpose of rule 11? ›

Overall, Rule 11 has begun to achieve its goal of deterring frivolous filings, primarily by making lawyers more aware of their professional duty to investigate and research claims before filing.

What is rule 11 A of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure? ›

(a) Signature. Every pleading, written motion, and other paper must be signed by at least one attorney of record in the attorney's name—or by a party personally if the party is unrepresented.

What assets are protected in a divorce in Texas? ›

Real estate, personal property, financial accounts, certain retirement plans and pensions, and specific employment benefits may be divided during divorce proceedings. However, any property or asset that qualifies as a party's separate property will not be divided in a divorce case.

What makes a contract unenforceable Texas? ›

A mutual mistake—a mistake by both parties to a contract on an important issue—makes the contract unenforceable. However, a mistake by only one party does not necessarily make the contract void. A contract is not necessarily unenforceable because one party has made a miscalculation or wrong assumption.

How long can you delay a divorce in Texas? ›

The 60 day rule does not apply to actions for annulment or in cases where the marriage is declared void. Rather, this Texas divorce waiting period is a 60 day “cooling off” time for spouses to fully consider whether to dissolve their marriage.

What is the rule 11 in Texas Rules of Civil Procedure? ›

Unless otherwise provided in these rules, no agreement between attorneys or parties touching any suit pending will be enforced unless it be in writing, signed and filed with the papers as part of the record, or unless it be made in open court and entered of record.

What is under order vii rule 11 of? ›

Order VII Rule 11 CPC - Plaint Cannot Be Rejected Merely On The Ground That 'Plaintiff Is Not Entitled To Any Reliefs In The Suit': Supreme Court. The Supreme Court observed that a plaint cannot be rejected under Order VII Rule 11 CPC merely on the ground that 'the plaintiff is not entitled to any relief in the suit'.

What is Rule 11 a civil action book? ›

Rule 11 states that a lawyer should not file papers in court that are not “well-grounded in fact.” Cheeseman's “Rule 11” motion argued in essence that the plaintiff's lawsuit lacked factual support and that an adequate pre-suit investigation would have revealed that.

Can a verbal agreement stand up in court in Texas? ›

Verbal Contracts do exist and are legally enforceable in Texas, as a matter of law, if they meet necessary legal requirements and specificity. Adequate consideration must be given between the two parties of a verbal contract to make it binding.

Do I need an attorney to close on a house in Texas? ›

In Texas, it is not legally required to hire a real estate attorney in order to buy or sell property. Most other states will require the participation of an attorney. However, in Texas, we have legislation promulgated title policies, meaning that there's not much negotiation that can happen during this process.

How binding is verbal agreement in Texas? ›

Verbal contracts in Texas are legally binding and enforceable, provided they meet certain legal requirements like specificity and adequate consideration. A consideration is said to be adequate if either: It involves mutual exchange between the parties (after having bargained for it) It has a legal value.

What is Sua sponte in law? ›

Latin for "of one's own accord; voluntarily." Used to indicate that a court has taken notice of an issue on its own motion without prompting or suggestion from either party.

What is the primary purpose rule of law? ›

The rule of law is intended to promote stability, but a society that operates under the rule of law must also remain vigilant to ensure the rule of law also serves the interests of justice.

What is the rule 11 in Utah? ›

(a) Right to Counsel. Upon arraignment, except for an infraction, a defendant must be represented by counsel, unless the defendant waives counsel in open court. The defendant must not be required to plead until the defendant has had a reasonable time to confer with counsel.

What is the golden rule of pleading? ›

Golden rule argument is an argument made by a lawyer during a jury trial to ask the jurors to put themselves in the place of the victim or the injured person and deliver the verdict that they would wish to receive if they were in that person's position.

What are valid objections to interrogatories? ›

Generally, interrogatories are objectionable if they seek information that is not within the scope of discovery as defined in Maryland Rule 402 or Federal Rule 26(b). These are typically requests that are not relevant, unduly burdensome, broad, vague, privileged. or protected by the work product doctrine.

Why does a party file interrogatories? ›

Interrogatories are lists of questions sent to the other party that s/he must respond to in writing. You can use interrogatories to find out facts about a case but they cannot be used for questions that draw a legal conclusion.

Is a wife entitled to half of everything in Texas? ›

Texas is one of nine states that is a community property jurisdiction. In general, this means that any property acquired by a couple during their marriage (with a few exceptions) is equally owned by both spouses. This can have a profound effect on the dissolution of property during divorce proceedings.

What can be used against you in a divorce in Texas? ›

All financial information, including bank statements, tax returns, and pay stubs, can be used in court to determine the distribution of property and debts. Any evidence of hidden or undisclosed assets, such as offshore accounts or property, can also be used against you.

Can my wife take my inheritance in a divorce Texas? ›

The short answer to the question, “Is an inheritance considered community property in a Texas divorce” is no. According to Texas divorce law, property acquired “by gift, device, or descent” is separate property. So is property acquired before the marriage. Most personal injury awards are separate property as well.

What are the 3 unenforceable contracts? ›

Three types of capacity

When an individual enters into a contract, there are three forms of lack of capacity that are unenforceable by law: minor, a person with an unsound mind, and persons disqualified by law.

What automatically voids a contract? ›

A mistake, misrepresentation, or fraud. Undue influence or duress. One party's legal incapacity to enter a contract (e.g., a minor) One or more terms that are unconscionable.

What are two examples of unenforceable contracts? ›

Other examples of contracts (or contracts clauses) that are against public policy and therefore unenforceable include:
  • an employer forcing an employee to sign a contract that forbids workers from joining a union.
  • an employer forcing an employee to sign a contract forbidding medical leave.

What is the 10 year rule in divorce in Texas? ›

If the marriage lasted at least 10 years, a court may order spousal maintenance to a spouse who does not have sufficient property or earning ability to provide for their own minimum reasonable needs. Tex. Fam. Code Ann.

At what point is a divorce final in Texas? ›

The Hearing

The judge will then sign the divorce decree to make the divorce final. Unless there was family violence, the judge can't finalize a divorce at the hearing until 60 days after the petition for divorce was filed. Keep that in mind when "setting," or scheduling, your hearing.

What is the 60 day rule for divorce in Texas? ›

Once you file your divorce petition, you must wait at least 60 days before the court will divorce you. The Texas waiting period for divorce means that the soonest you can get a divorce is 61 days after you file. In practice, many people need to wait more than 61 days, even if they are having an uncontested divorce.

What is Rule 92 of Texas Civil Procedure? ›

P. 92. A general denial of matters pleaded by the adverse party which are not required to be denied under oath, shall be sufficient to put the same in issue.

What is Rule 57 in Texas Rules of Civil Procedure? ›

Every pleading of a party represented by an attorney shall be signed by at least one attorney of record in his individual name, with his State Bar of Texas identification number, address, telephone number, email address, and if available, fax number.

What is Rule 194 Civil Procedure Texas? ›

A party must make the initial disclosures within 30 days after the filing of the first answer or general appearance unless a different time is set by the parties' agreement or court order.

What is the rule 17 of order 6? ›

Interpretation of Rule 17 of Order 6 CPC

the applications necessary for the purpose of determining the real issue between the parties if it finds that the parties could not have raised the issue in spite of the due diligence before the commencement of the trial.

What is Order 39 Rule 1 and 2? ›

Order 39 Rule -1 of C.P.C provides that where in any suit it is proved by affidavit or otherwise a) That any property in dispute in a suit is in danger or being wasted, damaged or alienated by any party to the suit, or wrongfully sold in execution of a decree, or Page 21 21 b) That the defendant threatens or intends to ...

What is the difference between return and rejection of plaint? ›

There is a stark difference between rejection of the plaint and return of the plaint. Return of the plaint is concerned with the question of jurisdiction of the Court whereas Rejection of plaint with the maintainability of the suit.

What is Rule 23 Federal Rules of Civil Procedure? ›

(A) Time to Issue. At an early practicable time after a person sues or is sued as a class representative, the court must determine by order whether to certify the action as a class action.

What is Rule 11 in Georgia Rules of Civil Procedure? ›

(a) Every pleading of a party represented by an attorney shall be signed by at least one attorney of record in his individual name, whose address shall be stated. A party who is not represented by an attorney shall sign his pleading and state his address.

How many pages is a civil action? ›

Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. A Civil Action is a 1995 non-fiction book by Jonathan Harr about a water contamination case in Woburn, Massachusetts, in the 1980s.
A Civil Action.
Cover to the paperback edition
AuthorJonathan Harr
Media typePrint (Hardcover and Paperback)
7 more rows

Can text messages be legally binding? ›

This is the case for written contracts, digital legal documents, or agreements over text, email, or other forms of communication. As long as these conditions are met, text messages and other forms of electronic communication are considered legally enforceable contracts in court.

What makes a verbal agreement invalid? ›

A verbal agreement is legally valid provided that the basic foundations of a binding contract are in place. However, there are cases where a physical written contract is necessary for the agreement to be legally-binding, irrespective of whether or not an oral agreement contains all of the elements of a contract.

Is it hard to prove a verbal agreement? ›

It can be tough to prove breach of contract when referencing a verbal agreement because there isn't usually much tangible evidence available. An enforceable oral contract is one that the court can impose if either party breaches the contract.

Who pays attorney fees at closing in Texas? ›

In Texas, both buyers and sellers pay closing costs. Seller closing costs in Texas typically include the realtor commission, attorney fees, and mortgage payoff.

What happens if a seller refuses to close in Texas? ›

If the seller is not out by the agreed-upon date, you will likely have to go to court. You may have to evict them. You may also have to pursue a civil lawsuit if they don't compensate you for the extra time in the house.

What happens if a buyer refuses to close Texas? ›

When a buyer won't close or does not complete an agreement without cause the buyer will be responsible for making the seller “whole”. This means that the seller is entitled to be put in the same position as the seller would have been had the buyer completed the transaction as scheduled.

Are text messages legally binding in Texas? ›

But are agreements made through text messages legally binding in Texas? As long as the text messages satisfy the necessary conditions required for a contract then the agreement can be enforceable.

What voids a contract in Texas? ›

Mistake, Duress, and Fraud

A mutual mistake—a mistake by both parties to a contract on an important issue—makes the contract unenforceable.

How do you prove you had a verbal agreement? ›

Ways to prove an oral contract
  1. Call up witnesses to the oral contract. ...
  2. Actions either or both parties took that are in compliance with the contract.
  3. Receipts, email, texts, bills, or other documents that back up the terms of the contract.

What is the difference between 1927 and Rule 11? ›

§1927, and the court's companion “inherent powers.” Unlike Rule 11, though, “awards pursuant to §1927 may be imposed only against the offending attorney; clients may not be saddled with such awards.”1 Rule 11 sanctions are tied to a signed filing, while §1927 examines the attorney's course of conduct throughout the ...

What is the rule 11 in Minnesota? ›

Rule 11 does apply to search warrants and related documents filed by parties in a case. If any person filing a medical record in a civil commitment case fails to designate the medical record as non-public upon filing, the court administrator shall not reject the filing due to the failure to do so.

What is the change of plea rule 11 in Alaska? ›

A defendant may move for withdrawal of the plea without alleging innocence of the charge to which the plea has been entered. (2) Before sentencing, the trial court shall allow a defendant to withdraw a plea whenever the defendant, upon timely motion, proves that withdrawal is necessary to correct manifest injustice.

What is the Civil Rule 11 in Washington state? ›

If a pleading, motion, or legal memorandum is not signed, it shall be stricken unless it is signed promptly after the omission is called to the attention of the pleader or movant.

What is the California equivalent of rule 11? ›

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11 is the federal rule that prohibits frivolous and unwarranted contentions in litigation and allows courts to sanction attorneys for violations. California's version appears in California Code of Civil Procedure §128.7, and California courts look at Rule 11 cases when they interpret § ...

What is the 1927 federal rule? ›

§ 1927, which authorizes federal courts to shift fees and costs against any attorney who multiplies the proceedings unreasonably and vexatiously.

What are rule 37 sanctions? ›

Rule 37-Failure to Make or Cooperate in Discovery: Sanctions. (a) Motion for Order Compelling Disclosure or Discovery. A party, upon reasonable notice to other parties and all persons affected thereby, may apply for an order compelling disclosure or discovery as follows: (1) Appropriate Court.

What is Rule 11.09 in MN? ›

Rule 11.09Trial Date

(b) A defendant must be tried as soon as possible after entry of a plea other than guilty. On demand of any party after entry of such plea, the trial must start within 60 days unless the court finds good cause for a later trial date.

What is civil service rule 11 Minneapolis? ›

This policy establishes rules and procedures for disciplining or removing an employee. The Civil Service Commission establishes and supports disciplinary rules and procedures, which will provide for the orderly conduct of personnel management and for the protection of the safety and rights of all employees.

What is Rule 20 in Minnesota? ›

Rule 20 of the Minnesota Rules of Criminal Procedure governs competency proceedings in criminal court. Under Minnesota Rules of Criminal Procedure 20.01, a defendant is not competent if they cannot rationally consult with counsel, or understand the proceedings, or participate in their own defense.

What is a rule 11 plea Utah? ›

A defendant may plead not guilty, guilty, no contest, not guilty by reason of insanity, or guilty and mentally ill. A defendant may plead in the alternative not guilty or not guilty by reason of insanity.

Will plea bargaining be abolished? ›

Because of the practical benefits of plea bargaining, it is doubtful it will be eliminated anytime soon. At this time, the consensus is that any injustice and unfairness that plea bargaining may introduce into the justice process is at least offset by benefits flowing to both the state and the defendant.

What is a rule 11 plea agreement in Idaho? ›

(1) In General. A defendant may plead guilty or not guilty. If a defendant refuses to plead or if a defendant corporation fails to appear, the court must direct the entry of a plea of not guilty. (2) Conditional Pleas.

What is Rule 42 in Washington? ›

When actions involving a common question of law or fact are pending before the court, it may order a joint hearing or trial of any or all the matters in issue in the actions; it may order all the actions consolidated; and it may make such orders concerning proceedings therein as may tend to avoid unnecessary costs or ...

What is Rule 21 in Washington court? ›

Misjoinder of parties is not ground for dismissal of an action. Parties may be dropped or added by order of the court on motion of any party or of its own initiative at any stage of the action and on such terms as are just. Any claim against a party may be severed and proceeded with separately.


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