Commercial Division Blog
Amendment to Name Defendant Did Not Relate Back to Date of Original Complaint
On May 3, 2018, the First Department issued a decision in Markov v. Stack's LLC (Delaware), 2018 NY Slip Op. 03238, holding that a proposed amendment to a complaint to name a new defendant did not relate back to the date of the original complaint, explaining:
The motion court properly dismissed the complaint on the ground that it was served after the statutory limitations period had expired. Plaintiff's claims arose on January 14, 2008. The original complaint in this action, which was filed on January 6, 2014 (just days before the six-year statute of limitations expired), did not name Stack's LLC as a defendant, nor did it name defendant Stack's LLC (Delaware). The amended complaint, which for the first time named Stack's LLC (Delaware) as a defendant, was not filed until January 24, 2014 — more than a week after the statute had run. Plaintiff cannot properly rely on CPLR 1024 as a shield from the statute of limitations. Even assuming that the appellation "John Doe" referred to a corporation rather than a natural person, the complaint's description of the John Doe defendant was not described in such a way as to fairly apprise Stack's LLC (Delaware) that it was an intended defendant. Thus, the inadequate description rendered the action jurisdictionally defective.
(Internal citations omitted).
It is not unusual for the statute of limitations to be an issue in complex commercial litigation. Contact Schlam Stone & Dolan partner John Lundin at firstname.lastname@example.org if you or a client have questions regarding whether a claim is barred by the statute of limitations.