Where there is a basis for a plaintiff to assert liability against a party or parties named in a complaint and there is no reason for another party to believe that the plaintiff did anything other than make a deliberate choice between potential defendants, courts have consistently held that the third requirement of Fed. R. Civ. P.15(c)(3) is not met.
A patron filed an action for damages after he had a heart attack in the corporation's casino. The corporation filed a third-party complaint against its in-house doctor. The patron filed a motion under Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(c) to add the in-house doctor as a defendant which was granted by a magistrate. The corporation then filed a motion for summary judgment. The district court granted summary judgment and reversed the order on the rule 15(c) motion.
Was the grant of summary judgment proper?
The court held that the summary judgment was proper because the corporation did not have a preexisting duty to the patron under the Good Samaritan Act to provide medical equipment and personnel to perform an intubation. The court held that the reversal of the order to include the in-house doctor was proper because the in-house doctor did not receive notice of the action within the statute of limitations under the original rule. The court further held that the patron failed to meet the requirements of the amended rule 15(c) because the in-house doctor did not know or should not have known that the action would have been brought against him.