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Supreme Court hears arguments on meaning of 'mistake' in civil procedure case

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] heard oral arguments [day call, PDF; merit briefs] Wednesday in Krupski v. Costa Crociere [oral arguments transcript, PDF; JURIST report] on the appropriate construction of "mistake" in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(c)(1)(C) [text]. The rule permits an amended complaint to "relate back" for statute of limitation purposes when the amendment corrects a mistake concerning the proper party's identity. The US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit held [opinion, PDF] that the rule does not apply to substitution of the correct defendant for a related corporation with a similar name where the plaintiff has imputed knowledge of the identity of the added defendant prior to filing suit. Counsel for the petitioner argued that the rule should apply when substituting the correct defendant. Counsel for the respondent argued that there can be no mistake where the plaintiff knows all the facts. There is a circuit split on the issue.

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