Moore v. Baker
989 F. 2d 1129 (1993)

Facts:

Moore was permanently and severely disabled as a result of some complications after surgery. On the last day of the limitations period, she sued Dr. Baker for violating Georgia’s informed consent law by failing to advise her of a therapy alternative to the surgery.

History:

  • Four months later, Dr. Baker filed a motion for summary judgment:
    • The therapy was not a “generally recognized or accepted” alternative treatment for coronary surgery.
  • Fearing Dr. Baker would succeed, Moore then moved to amend her complaint to assert negligence by Dr. Baker in the performance of the surgery and in his post-operative care.
  • The court ultimately granted Dr. Baker’s motion.

Issue:

Does the amended complaint relate back to the date of the original complaint?

  • An amendment “relates back” to the original filing whenever the claim or defense asserted in the amended pleading arose out of the conduct, transaction, or occurrence set forth in the original pleading. Rule 15(c).

Holding:

No. Affirmed.

Reasoning:

  • The original complaint focused on Dr. Baker’s actions before Moore decided to undergo surgery, but the amended complaint focused on Dr. Baker’s actions during and after surgery.
    • Completely different facts would need to be proved.
    • Dr. Baker was unfairly surprised.
  • The critical issue for relating back is notice!