Marsh v. Coleman Company
774 F. Supp. 608 (D. Kan. 1991)
- Marsh worked for Coleman for 28 years. He was fired. He filed suit in Federal Court for breach of contract and age discrimination.
- After the initial complaint was made, Marsh attempted to amend the complaint to add a claim for fraud. Coleman opposed the amended complaint.
- Coleman noted that the fraud claim was based on an incident three years prior to the filing of the initial complaint. Under Kansas State law, there was a two year Statute of Limitations on fraud claims.
- Marsh argued that amending the complaint was legal under Federal Rule 15(c)(2).
- Federal Rule 15(c) basically says that once notice has been given of pending litigation over a particular incident, the defendant has been given all the notice required for purposes of the Statute of Limitations.
- The Appellate Court denied Marsh’s motion to amend the complaint.
- The Appellate Court found that the fraud claim was based on conduct substantially different in kind and time from the claims alleged in Marsh’s original complaint. Coleman had no reason to anticipate preparing to defend a case based on fraud.
- Basically, the Court said that the fraud claim was a totally different claim than the age discrimination claim. You can add new claims when you amend a complaint, but those new claims have to fundamentally relate to the original complaint.