The “Relation Back Doctrine” Failed When Plaintiff Was Unable To Show That A “Unity Of Interest” Existed Between New And Original Defendants

The Supreme Court, Appellate Division, 4th Department held that an owner of underground cables failed to establish that a new defendant was vicariously liable for original defendant’s alleged damage to cables, and as a result there was no unity of interest between the new and original defendants as required for owner to assert claim against new defendant (after expiration of the statute limitations period) under the “relation back doctrine.”   Under the “relation back doctrine,” a claim may be brought against a new defendant, despite the expiration of the statute of limitations, when the new defendant is united in interest with the original defendant and as a result of such relationship, it can be found that as a result of  notice of the original lawsuit, the new defendant will not be prejudiced in its defense on the merits in the new action.   Read Verizon New York, Inc. v. Labarge Brothers Co., Inc.

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