Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Effort To Amend Complaint To Join Defendant Driver After Expiration of Statute of Limitations Denied

In the case of Fick v. Barbon, 12 Berks 280 (C.P. Berks Co. Feb. 14, 2020), the court denied a Plaintiff’s Motion for Leave to File an Amended Complaint to name a new Defendant after the expiration of the statute of limitations. 

According to the Opinion, the Plaintiff named the owner of the vehicle in the Complaint but not the driver of the vehicle involved in the subject accident.

The record before the court confirmed that personal information was exchanged by the parties at the scene of the accident. It was also noted that a police officer was present at the accident. The record therefore convinced the court that the Plaintiff knew or should have known the identity of the driver prior to the expiration of the statute of limitations.

In denying the Plaintiff’s motion for leave of court to join the driver to the matter, the court additionally took into consideration the potential prejudice to the Defendant driver in allowing him to be named to a lawsuit after the expiration of the statute of limitations where that driver was now enrolled in college and where the fact that the suit was filed only against the grandparent of the driver supported a reasonable expectation of the driver that he would not be sued. 

A copy of the trial court's decision could not be located online, but here is a LINK to a copy of the Non-precedential Opinion by the Pennsylvania Superior Court in the same case.  The Superior Court's decision lays out the law in great detail.  Too bad they did not mark such a thorough Opinion as precedential.  But you can still cite to it anyway under the revised Rules.

Source: "Court Summaries” by Timothy L. Clawges of the Pennsylvania Bar News (Nov. 9, 2020).

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