Krupski v. Costa Crociere S.P.A.
130 S.Ct. 2485 (2010)

Facts:
Krupski was injured during a cruise and sued Costa Cruise Lines. Costa Cruise answered that it was not the carrier and was just the booking agent.

  • Krupski moved for leave to amend, which was granted, and added Costa Crociere.
  • Costa Crociere moved to dismiss on the grounds that the amendment didn’t relate back – Rule 15(c)(1)(C).

History:

  • The district court granted the dismissal:
    • The first two elements of Rule 15(c)(1)(C) were satisfied, but not the third:
      • Krupski knew of the proper defendant and didn’t make a mistake (Costa Cruise informed her that Costa Crociere was the proper defendant and that Krupski delayed the amendment for months).
  • The Court of Appeals affirmed:
    • Also added that relation back was inappropriate because Krupski delayed seeking leave to amend.

Issue:
Was Rule 15(c)(1)(C) applied correctly?

Holding:
No. Case reversed.

Reasoning:
(1) The lower courts incorrectly focused on Krupski’s knowledge:

  • “The question under Rule 15(c)(1)(C)(ii) is NOT whether Krupski knew or should have known the identity of Costa Crociere as the proper defendant, but whether Costa Crociere knew or should have known that it would have been named as defendant but for an error.”
    • Here, because the original complaint clearly intended to sue the company that owned, operated, managed, supervised, and controlled the ship on which Krupski was injured, Costa Crociere should have known that it wasn’t included because of mistake.
      • Krupski moved to amend within the time period prescribed.
  • That a plaintiff knows of a party’s existence does NOT preclude her from making a mistake.
    • Similarly, deliberately choosing to sue one party over another doesn’t necessarily mean you cannot make a mistake in doing so.
  • Important Note: deliberately choosing to sue one party over another for tactical reasons, however, is NOT the kind of mistake that the rule was enacted to cover.

(2) Rule 15(c)(1)(c) plainly sets forth an exclusive list of requirements for relation back, and the amending party’s diligence is not among hem.

  • Remember, however, that under Rule 15(a), a court CAN consider a movant’s undue delay.