United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, El Dorado Division
O. Hickey United States District Judge
the Court is the Report and Recommendation filed September
25, 2017, by the Honorable Barry A. Bryant, United States
Magistrate Judge for the Western District of Arkansas. ECF
No. 25. Defendant has responded with objections. ECF No. 26.
The Court finds the matter ripe for consideration.
complaint was filed in this matter on July 22, 2016, in the
Circuit Court of Ashley County, Arkansas. ECF No. 4.
Plaintiff was granted an extension to serve Defendant General
Motors Company until April 18, 2017. In one of her motions
for extension of time to serve Defendant, Plaintiff attached
a report from the Arkansas Secretary of State reflecting an
agent for service of process for General Motors Company and
an agent for service of process for General Motors LLC.
Plaintiff attempted to serve General Motors LLC's agent;
however, the service was rejected because the complaint was
directed to General Motors Company. ECF No. 14-1. Ultimately,
Plaintiff served General Motors Company on February 7, 2017.
March 23, 2017, Defendant General Motors Company removed
Plaintiff's case to this Court and filed a Motion to
Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction and a Motion to
Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim. ECF Nos. 6, 8. In these
motions, Defendant argues that the case against it should be
dismissed because Plaintiff has sued the wrong corporate
entity. Specifically, Defendant claims that Plaintiff
incorrectly sued General Motors Company when she should have
sued General Motors, LLC. On March 23, 2017, attached to one
of its motions to dismiss, Defendant filed an affidavit by
Jill Sutton, Corporate Secretary of General Motors Company,
detailing the corporate structure of General Motors Company
and General Motors LLC. ECF No. 7-1. General Motors Company
is a holding company for General Motors Holdings LLC, which
is a holding company for General Motors LLC.
responded to the motions to dismiss (ECF No. 13) and on April
24, 2017, filed a Motion to Amend Complaint (ECF No. 16) to
substitute General Motors LLC for General Motors Company.
Defendant argues that the Motion to Amend Complaint should be
denied because the statute of limitations against General
Motors LLC has run, and the amended complaint would not
relate back to the date of filing of the original complaint.
The magistrate judge recommends that the Court grant
Plaintiff's Motion to Amend Complaint and deny
Defendant's motions to dismiss as moot.
objects to the magistrate judge's finding that
Plaintiff's amended complaint relates back to the date of
the original complaint. Under the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure, an amended complaint relates back to the date of
the original complaint when: (1) the amendment asserts a
claim that arose out of the conduct set out in the original
pleading; (2) within the period provided by Rule 4(m) for
serving the summons and complaint, the party to be brought in
by the amendment received such notice of the action that it
will not be prejudiced in defending on the merits; and (3)
the party to be brought in knew or should have known that it
would have been a party originally if not for a mistake
concerning the proper party's identity. Fed.R.Civ.P.
argues that the record in this case shows that Plaintiff knew
of the proper party's identity and thus Plaintiff made a
deliberate choice instead of a mistake in not naming General
Motors LLC as a party in the original complaint. However,
“[t]he question under Rule 15(c)(1)(C)(ii) is not
whether [a plaintiff] knew or should have known the identity
of . . . the proper defendant, but whether [the proper
defendant] knew or should have known that it would have been
named as a defendant but for an error.” Krupski v.
Costa Crociere S.p.A., 560 U.S. 538, 548 (2010).”
Rule 15(c)(1)(C)(ii) asks what the prospective defendant knew
or should have known during the period provided for service,
not what the plaintiff knew or should have known at the time
of filing the original complaint. Id. The Court
notes that “when a plaintiff alleges a comprehensible
claim against one of a group of closely related and
functioning business entities or corporations, the other
entities in that group, barring a contrary showing, will be
charged with knowledge under Rule 15(c) . . . of the entity
properly answerable to the claim.” Goodman v.
Praxair, Inc., 494 F.3d 458, 475 (2007); see also
Schrader v. Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, Inc., 952 F.2d
1008, 1012 (8th Cir. 1991) (recognizing but not applying the
identity-of-interest doctrine, which allows for the timely
notice of a lawsuit to a parent corporation to be imputed to
present case Defendant General Motors Company argues that the
record does not support the assertion that General Motors LLC
knew or should have known that the action would have been
brought against it but for a mistake concerning the proper
party's identity. However, this is an argument for
General Motors LLC to make and not General Motors Company.
Once the proposed amended complaint is filed, General Motors
Company will no longer be a party to this lawsuit. Once
General Motors LLC has been brought into this lawsuit, should
it decide to pursue a relation-back argument, the Court will
be in a better position to assess whether General Motors LLC
knew or should have known that it would have been named a
defendant but for an error.
based on its own de novo review, for the reasons set out in
this Order, the Court overrules Defendant's objections
and adopts the Report and Recommendation in
part. ECF No. 25. Accordingly, the Court finds
that Plaintiff's Motion to Amend Complaint should be and
hereby is GRANTED. Because Plaintiff is
changing or renaming a defendant, she must file the amended
complaint conventionally, on paper, with the clerk's
office. Further, pursuant to Rule 5.5(e) of the Rules of the
United States District Courts for the Eastern and Western
Districts of Arkansas, Plaintiff shall file the amended
complaint within seven (7) days of the entry of the order
granting leave to amend.
IS SO ORDERED.
 The Court adopts the magistrate
judge's recommendation that the Motion to Amend Complaint
should be granted but does so for different reasons than
those set out by the magistrate judge in the Report and
Recommendation. ECF No. 25. At this time, the Court makes no
findings as to whether the amended complaint will relate back
to the date of the original complaint in this matter. The
Court declines to adopt the recommendation that
Defendant's Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal
Jurisdiction (ECF No. 6) and Motion to Dismiss for Failure to
State a ...