Sunday, November 24, 2013

Chalick v. Cooper Hospital, et al. case brief

Chalick v. Cooper Hospital, et al. case brief summary
192 F.R.D. 145 (D.N.J. 2000)


CASE SYNOPSIS
On plaintiff individual's motion to amend the complaint to replace a fictitiously named John Doe defendant with a named individual defendant, pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(c), in plaintiff's medical malpractice wrongful death action against multiple defendants.

CASE FACTS
Plaintiff in medical malpractice wrongful death action moved to amend the complaint to replace a fictitiously-named John Doe defendant with a named individual defendant, pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(c). It was uncontested that the original complaint was filed within the limitations period, but the request to add the individual defendant was made after the limitations period expired.

DISCUSSION

  • The court examined whether the addition of the individual defendant related back to the filing of the original complaint. 
  • The court found that as a result of defendants' failure to comply with their obligations under Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(a), the interests of justice permitted relation back under federal law. 
  • Defendants' failure to explain the role of the individual defendant resulted in prejudice to plaintiff and defendants' compliance with Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(a) would have prevented defendants from arguing that individual defendant did not receive notice within the Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(c) period.
CONCLUSION
Plaintiff's motion to amend the complaint was granted because defendants' violations of the mandatory discovery rule precluded defendants from claiming that the individual defendant plaintiff sought to include did not receive notice and was unaware that he was a proper defendant.


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