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Supreme Court Holds That Relation Back Doctrines Depends on Knowledge of Defendant, Not Plaintiff

On February 21, 2007, Wanda Krupski tripped over a cable and fractured her leg while she was on board the cruise ship Costa Magica. The ticket identified the carrier as "Costa Crociere S. p. A., an Italian corporation." It further provided that lawsuits had to be "filed within one year after the date of injury." On February 1, 2008--three weeks before the one-year limitations period expired--Krupski filed a negligence action against Costa Cruise. The complaint alleged that Costa Cruise "owned, operated, managed, supervised and controlled" the ship on which Krupski had injured herself.

Over the next several months, after the limitations period had expired, Costa Cruise brought Costa Crociere's existence to Krupski's attention. Krupski ultimately amended the complaint under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 15 to add Costa Crociere and then dismissed Costa Cruise. Shortly thereafter, Costa Crociere, represented by the same counsel who had represented Costa Cruise, moved to dismiss, contending that the amended complaint did not relate back under Rule 15(c) and was therefore untimely.

David Zaslowsky

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