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A cross-claim is a claim brought by a plaintiff against a co-plaintiff, or by a defendant against a co-defendant. Cross-claims are governed by Rule 13 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP)

As a general rule, cross-claims are not permitted. That said, a party may make a cross-claim against another party if that cross-claim arises out of the same transaction or occurrence of the original claim/counterclaim. A common example of a cross-claim arising out of the same transaction or occurrence is a cross-claim for indemnification. A party making a cross-claim for indemnification alleges that, should the first party be found liable for the initial claim/counterclaim, then the party against whom the cross-claim is made is liable to reimburse the cross-claiming party for some or all of the damages. Because this claim for indemnification is inherently tied to the initial claim, it is a permissible cross-claim. 

[Last updated in July of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]