Legal Memorandum: Relation Back of Amendments

Issue: Should an amendment to a pleading that only adds or substitutes a party be permitted as relating back to the original pleading?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: An amendment of a pleading; Relates back; Original pleading
Jurisdiction: Federal
Cited Cases: None
Cited Statutes: Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(c), 15(c)(3)
Date: 03/01/2006

Rule 15(c) provides in pertinent part:

An amendment of a pleading relates back to the date of the original pleading when

.  .  .


(2)  the claim or defense asserted in the amended pleading arose out of the conduct, transaction, or occurrence set forth or attempted to be set forth in the original pleading, or


(3) the amendment changes the party or the naming of the party against whom a claim is asserted if the foregoing provision (2) is satisfied and … the party to be brought in by amendment (A) has received such notice of the institution of the action that the party will not be prejudiced in maintaining a defense on the merits, and (B) knew or should have known that, but for a mistake concerning the identity of the proper party, the action would have been brought against the party.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(c).

Courts are “required to give the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure their plain meaning.”  Business Guides, Inc. v. Chromatic Comm. Enters., Inc., 498 U.S. 533, 540 (1991).  In the everyday world, an addition to something is generally regarded as a change to that thing.  Thus, if an employee is given added money as part of his wages his salary is said to change.  If a new member is added to a family by the birth of a baby, this is regarded as a significant […]

Subscribe to Litigation Pathfinder

To get the full-text of this Legal Memorandum ... and more!

(Month-to-month and annual subscriptions available)