DIANE M. FLYNN and ROBERT FLYNN, wife and husband, Plaintiffs/Appellants,
SARAH W. CAMPBELL, Defendant/Appellee.
from the Superior Court in Maricopa County No. CV2014-055536
The Honorable Thomas L. LeClaire, Judge (Retired)
& Cracchiolo, P.A., Phoenix By Daryl Manhart, Melissa I.
Julian Co-Counsel for Plaintiffs/Appellants
& Richardson, Phoenix By Thomas M. Richardson Co-Counsel
Skelton & Hochuli, P.L.C., Phoenix By Jonathan P. Barnes,
Jr. Counsel for Defendant/Appellee
Patricia K. Norris delivered the opinion of the Court, in
which Presiding Judge Lawrence F. Winthrop and Judge Kenton
D. Jones joined.
This appeal arises out of an order entered by the superior
court finding plaintiff/appellant Diane Flynn's
negligence claim time barred because her amended complaint
did not "relate back" to her original complaint
under Arizona Rule of Civil Procedure 15(c). Because Flynn
sued the wrong party, defendant/appellee Sarah Campbell's
insurance carrier, based on a mistake cognizable under that
rule, we reverse and remand for further proceedings.
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
On October 17, 2012, Flynn sustained physical injuries
arising out of a car accident with Campbell. At the accident
scene, a police officer gave Flynn a "crash report"
that identified Campbell's insurance carrier, the policy
number, and the insurance carrier's telephone number.
Using this information, Flynn contacted Campbell's
insurance carrier, State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance
On October 16, 2014, one day before the two-year statute of
limitations expired, Flynn, representing herself, sued State
Farm. See Ariz. Rev. Stat. ("A.R.S.")
§ 12-542(1) (2016) (two-year limitations period for
personal injury claims). Flynn alleged that after the
collision, State Farm had "assumed full responsibility
for its insured's actions" and because of its
insured's actions, she had suffered various injuries and
State Farm moved to dismiss the complaint ("original
motion ") with prejudice under Arizona Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6), arguing Flynn did not have a cause of
action against it because "in Arizona there is no right
of direct action against an insurance carrier for damages
claimed as a result of an accident with one of its
insureds." Before the superior court could rule on the
original motion, Flynn retained counsel, and on November 24,
2014, filed an amended complaint. The amended complaint
dropped State Farm as a defendant and named Campbell (plus
several fictitious parties) as defendants.
On December 22, 2014, Campbell moved to dismiss the amended
complaint under Rule 12(b)(6), arguing it did "not
'relate back' under Rule 15(c)" and thus
Flynn's negligence claim was time barred. The superior
court granted the motion, finding Flynn "committed a
mistake of law [and] not a mistake of fact" because she
was "aware of the identity of the
driver." See infra ¶ 9.
Flynn argues she made a mistake cognizable under Rule 15(c),
and not merely a mistake of law, by naming State Farm in the
original complaint rather than Campbell, and thus, because
she met the other requirements of Rule 15(c), her amended
complaint related back to her original complaint. Reviewing
this issue of law de novo, we agree. Pargman v.
Vickers,208 Ariz. 573, 578, ...