Monday, June 7, 2010

SCOTUS Decision in Krupski v. Costa Crociere: Relation Back Under FRCP 15(c)

Today the Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision in Krupski v. Costa Crociere S.p.A (09-337), covered earlier here and here. The opinion, per Justice Sotomayor, begins:

"Rule 15(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure governs when an amended pleading 'relates back' to the date of a timely filed original pleading and is thus itself timely even though it was filed outside an applicable statute of limitations. Where an amended pleading changes a party or a party’s name, the Rule requires, among other things, that 'the party to be brought in by amendment . . . knew or should have known that the action would have been brought against it, but for a mistake concerning the proper party’s identity.' Rule 15(c)(1)(C). . . .  We hold that relation back under Rule 15(c)(1)(C) depends on what the party to be added knew or should have known, not on the amending party’s knowledge or its timeliness in seeking to amend the pleading."

Justice Scalia writes a one paragraph concurrence to disclaim the Court's "reliance on the Notes of the Advisory Committee as establishing the meaning of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(c)(1)(C)." He continues:

"The Advisory Committee’s insights into the proper interpretation of a Rule’s text are useful to the same extent as any scholarly commentary. But the Committee’s intentions have no effect on the Rule’s meaning. Even assuming that we and the Congress that allowed the Rule to take effect read and agreed with those intentions, it is the text of the Rule that controls."


Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Recent Decisions, Supreme Court Cases | Permalink


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