Supreme Court Holds That “Close Enough” Counts When Naming Parties to Suit

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On June 7, 2010, in Krupski v. Costa Crociere S.p.A., No. 09-337, slip op. at 1 (U.S. June 7, 2010), the Supreme Court of the United States held that “relation back under Rule 15(c)(1)(C) depends on what the party knew or should have known, not on the amending party’s knowledge or its timeliness in seeking to amend the pleading.” Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(c) governs the circumstances under which an amendment is considered to take effect on the original date of filing, and not on the date the amendment is actually made. Specifically, Rule 15(c)(1)(C) governs amendments that change the party being sued or the naming of the party being sued. State rules and statutes concerning amendments to correct misnomer or misjoinder often contain language similar to Rule 15(c). Virginia Code section 8.01-6, for example, contains language identical to the Federal Rule. The Krupski decision, therefore, may have far-reaching implications for state civil procedure as well.

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