Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Statute of Limitations Relates Back to Affiliated Entity

In Kuehn v. The Cadle Co. Inc. (08-16547), the Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's order denying the defendant's motion to dismiss. After the statute of limitations ran, the plaintiff amended the complaint and added a new party and dropped the original party.

Kuehn’s mistake as to the correct party to sue, Cadleway or Cadle, is the type of mistake contemplated by Rule 15(c)(1)(C)(ii). In Itel Capital Corp. v. Cups Coal Co., 707 F.2d 1253 (11th Cir. 1983), we concluded that there was no abuse of discretion when the district court permitted the relation back of an amended complaint which added a defendant who was at the heart of the conduct at issue and who was a 97% owner of the originally named defendant. Id. at 1258. We noted that, “In reaching this conclusion, we read the word ‘mistake’ in Rule 15(c) liberally.” Id. at 1258 n.9 (citation omitted). Here, Kuehn sued the company named on the letter giving rise to the lawsuit. The district court found that, upon learning that the letter was not sent by the company listed on the letter, but by another closely-related company, Kuehn immediately amended her Complaint. 2 (R.2-39 at 16.) The district court did not abuse its discretion in concluding that the Amended Complaint related back to the time of the filing of the original Complaint.


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