Moore v. Baker Case Brief

Summary of Moore v. Baker
989 F 2d 1129 [1993]

Pleading- S/L and Relation Back; Responding to the Complaint

Relevant Facts: Pl, Moore, consulted Df, Dr. Baker about a blockage of her carotid artery. He recommended surgery and warned her of the risks. Pl signed the consent form. The operation went bad and left Pl severely and permanently disabled. Df moved for Summary on issue of informed consent and Pl motioned to amend to include negligence.

Legal Issue(s): Whether the original complaint gave notice to the Df of the claim now being asserted which would give rise to an abuse of discretion by trial ct denial of motion to amend?

Court’s Holding: No, the new claim does not arise out of the same conduct, transaction or occurrence as the claims in the original; no abuse of discretion.

Procedure: F D Ct denied motion to amend on new ground b/c claim was barred by S/L. 11th Cir Ct of App Affirmed.

Law or Rule(s): Acts claimed in an amended complaint must arise out of the same conduct, transaction, or occurrence as the claims in the original complaint.

Court Rationale: 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 or attempted to be set forth in the original pleading. Pl filed her original complaint on the last day permitted by the S/L. Accordingly, the S/L bars the claim asserted in the proposed amendment UNLESS the amendment relates back to the original. The Pl’s amended complaint must contain assertions related to the claims in the original complaint in order that the Df would have had Notice that the new claims of negligence might be asserted.

The original complaint focuses on the Df’s actions before surgery. The amendment focuses on the Df’s actions during and after the surgery. The alleged acts of negligence occurred at different times and involved separate and distinct conduct. In order to recover on negligence Pl would have to prove completely different facts than she would otherwise have been required to prove to recover on the informed consent claim.

Plaintiff’s Argument: Df failed to inform Pl of an alternative form of therapy, was negligent in performance of surgery and post-operative care which are related to the same surgical episode.

Defendant’s Argument: There was no notice to the df contained in the original complaint that he would have to defend against after care negligence.



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