SJ Quinney College of Law, University of Utah

Article Title

Realigning Parties


The doctrine of realignment—which permits a federal court to change a party’s litigating position from plaintiff to defendant or vice versa—has been virtually ignored in federal procedure scholarship. This stark neglect is genuinely astonishing because the federal circuit courts are split as to the appropriate standard. The source of the standard—and the circuit courts’ confusion—is a 1941 U.S. Supreme Court decision, City of Indianapolis v. Chase National Bank. In that decision, rather than focusing on realignment’s purpose, the Supreme Court focused unduly on the specific context in which the realignment issue arose. The result was a muddled articulation of the appropriate standard.

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