Friday, July 15, 2016

civil procedure - complaint - right to amend - PaRCP 1033

Blackwood, Inc. v. Reading Blue Mtn. and Norther Railroad Col – Superior Court – July 15, 2016

Under Pa.R.C.P. 1033, a party can amend his pleading either with the consent of the other party or with the court’s permission. “Leave to amend lies within the sound discretion of the trial court and the right to amend should be liberally granted at any stage of the proceedings unless there is an error of law or resulting prejudice to an adverse party.” Hill v. Ofalt, 85 A.3d 540, 557 (Pa.Super. 2014) (quoting Werner v. Zazyczny, 681 A.2d 1331, 1338 (Pa. 1996)).

Under the pertinent rule: A party, either by filed consent of the adverse party or by leave of court, may at any time change the form of action, add a person as a party, correct the name of a party, or otherwise amend the pleading. The amended pleading may aver transactions or occurrences which have happened before or after the filing of the original pleading, even though they give rise to a new cause of action or defense. An amendment may be made to conform the pleading to the evidence offered or admitted. Pa.R.C.P. 1033. However, amendment is not permitted to present a new cause of action where the statute of limitations has expired. See Phillips v. Lock, 86 A.3d 906 (Pa.Super. 2014).

Generally, an abuse of discretion occurs if a complaint is dismissed without leave to amend. Hill, supra. “There may, of course, be cases where it is clear that amendment is impossible and where to extend leave to amend would be futile. However, the right to amend should not be withheld where there is some reasonable possibility that amendment can be accomplished successfully.” Id. at 557 (citation and emphasis omitted).

If the case is old, the link may have become stale and may not work, but you can use the case name, court, and date to find the opinion in another source (e.g., Westlaw, Lexis, Google Scholar)