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Unincorporated Associations as Parties to Action, 33 Yale Law Journal 383 (1924)

Abstract

Some Confusing Matters Relating to Arbitration under the United States Arbitration Act

The cases are remarkably in accord that, in the absence of enabling statute, an unincorporated association cannot sue or be sued in the common or association name. Like unanimity substantially obtains in the reason assigned for the general rule. The following excerpts are cited as typical:

"Since a partnership is not a person, either natural or artificial, it cannot sue as a party plaintiff in the firm name." Lister v. Vowell (1898) 122 Ala. 264, 267, 25 So. 564, 565.

"As we have said, the plaintiffs have undertaken to make three unincorporated labor unions parties defendant. That is an impossibility. There is no such entity known to the law as an unincorporated association, and consequently it cannot be made a party defendant." Pickett v. Walsh (1906) 192 Mass. 572, 589, 78 N. E. 753, 760.

"A voluntary association, being only a collection of individuals, could not, at common law, sue or be sued by its associated name. . . . .” Lewelling v. Woodworkers Underwriters (1919) 140 Ark. 124, 128, 215 S. W. 258, 259.

"There is no principle better settled than that an unincorporated association cannot, in absence of a statute authorizing it, be sued in its society or company name, but all the members must be made parties, since such bodies have, in the absence of statute, no legal entity distinct from their members." Baskins v. United Mine Workers (1921) 150 Ark. 398, 40l, 234 S. W. 464, 465.

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1924

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