Though I have never blogged about it here, dispositive motions are currently my main legal interest. I recently published a student comment, for example, arguing that summary judgment has the capacity to be granted inappropriately in factually driven inquiries and that such decisions violate the Seventh Amendment. (Yes, I posted my comment on SSRN.)
I write today to float around an idea along these lines that I am considering addressing in some form: whether increased use of party and claim joinder by plaintiffs, under Rules 13, 18 and 20 have led to an appreciable increase in granting 12(b)(6) motions and summary judgment. My (currently baseless) suspicion is that increased use of party and claim joinder may have played a contextual role in informing the Supreme Court's decisions in Celotex and its 12(b)(6) analogue in Twombly. While it is commonly understood that both decisions make it easier for defendants to prevail without going to trial, I wonder to what extent--if any--the decisions were designed as (or have been used as) tools for lower federal courts to simplify cases with multiple defendants and claims.
My current thinking is that this examination would be best conducted with an empirical analysis tracking the use of joinder over the last 30-40 years. I would be interested to hear our readers thoughts on the methodology, and the idea generally.