Friday, June 27, 2008

News from the West Virginia Supreme Court

Our friend Alex writes in:

Not nearly as earth shaking [as Heller], but perhaps of more practical importance for those of us who rarely cite constitutional decisions, the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia ruled on Thursday that filing a "John Doe" complaint counts as a mistake under Rule 15(c).
http://www.state.wv.us/wvsca/docs/Spring08/33506.htm.

This ruling, which the Court notes goes against the weight of federal interpretation of the federal rule counterpart, will permit later, amended complaints to relate back to the John Doe complaint and thus avoid potential statute of limitation problems. Of course, the plaintiff must have clean hands, and can't fail to investigate the identity of potential defendants.

WV amendment law already liberally allowed amendments, but still -- I think this is a pretty big deal. I've had to make 5-6 Rule 15 motions in the last year. It would seem prudent (and not part of an unfair strategy) to include john doe defendants whenever there is the possibility of unknown defendants and a looming statute of limitations.

1 comment:

Alex said...

thanks for making the link clickable, Brian

I read the majority opinion in Heller but I find myself without much to say except generally applauding the decision and the originialism