At common law it was usually impossible to litigate separate claims at one time even though the claims involved common issues. On the other hand, the equity court recognized that a multiplicity of suits should be avoided where there was a relationship between the claims. Therefore, a bill of peace to prevent separate trials would lie where a number of related claims were being asserted against a defendant. Unfortunately, the cases in this country have not agreed as to the nature of the relationship that must exist between the claims. Some cases, adopting the view of Professor Pomeroy,2 have held that a bill of peace will lie where the claims involve only common questions of law and fact. Other cases hold that the existence of common questions of law and fact is not enough although they do not agree as to what is necessary. The leading case for this view, which is probably the majority view, is Tribette v. Illinois Central Railroad. However, recent decisions and procedural changes indicate that the Tribette case should no longer be followed and that courts have the power to join claims that involve only common questions of law and fact to reduce the time and expense of litigation.
George B. Fraser,
Bills of Peace Revisited,
Duq. L. Rev.
Available at: https://dsc.duq.edu/dlr/vol4/iss3/3