Diane M. Flynn and Robert Flynn, wife and husband Plaintiffs/Appellants,
Sarah W. Campbell, Defendant/Appellee.
from the Superior Court in Maricopa County The Honorable
Thomas L. LeClaire, Judge No. CV2014-055536
of the Court of Appeals, Division One 240 Ariz. 264 (App.
Manhart, Melissa Iyer Julian (argued), Burch &
Cracchiolo, P.A., Phoenix; and Thomas M. Richardson, Friedl
& Richardson, Phoenix, Attorneys for Diane Flynn and
Jonathan P. Barnes, Jr., (argued), Jones, Skelton &
Hochuli, P.L.C., Phoenix, Attorney for Sarah W. Campbell
Christopher Robbins, Hill, Hall & DeCiancio, PLC,
Phoenix, Attorney for Amicus Curiae Arizona Association of
Stanley G. Feldman, Miller, Pitt, Feldman & McAnally,
P.C., Tucson; and David L. Abney, Ahwatukee Legal Office,
P.C., Phoenix, Attorneys for Amicus Curiae Arizona
Association for Justice/Arizona Trial Lawyers Association.
JUSTICE LOPEZ authored the opinion of the Court, in which
CHIEF JUSTICE BALES, VICE CHIEF JUSTICE PELANDER, and
JUSTICES BRUTINEL, TIMMER, BOLICK and GOULD joined.
We hold that under Rule 15(c), Arizona Rules of Civil
Procedure, an amended complaint naming a new defendant
relates back to the original complaint if the newly added
defendant knew or should have known the plaintiff mistakenly
failed to name him or her as a party in the original
On October 17, 2012, Diane Flynn was injured in a car
accident with Sarah Campbell. At the accident scene, a police
officer gave Flynn a "crash report" that identified
Campbell's insurance carrier, State Farm Mutual
Automobile Insurance Company ("State Farm"), the
policy number, and the insurer's phone number. Flynn
later contacted State Farm to report the accident.
On October 16, 2014, one day before the two-year statute of
limitations expired, Flynn, representing herself, sued State
Farm. In her complaint ("original complaint"),
Flynn alleged that State Farm's insured caused the
collision by "recklessness, carelessness, and
negligence, " that State Farm had "assumed full
responsibility for its insured's actions, " and that
it had "intentionally delayed, postponed, or otherwise
disregarded the resolution of this matter; at times providing
false information to [Flynn], " resulting in
compensatory damages of $37, 500 and requesting $200, 000 in
State Farm moved to dismiss the original complaint, arguing
Flynn did not have a cause of action 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 motion, Flynn retained counsel, and, on November
24, 2014, filed an amended complaint removing State Farm,
naming Campbell (and several fictitious parties) as
defendants, and alleging negligence.
Campbell, on December 22, 2014 -still within the period to
serve the original complaint and summons under Arizona Rule
of Civil Procedure 4(i) -moved to dismiss the amended
complaint, arguing it did "not 'relate back'
under Rule 15(c)" and was therefore time-barred. The
superior court dismissed the amended complaint, finding Flynn
"committed a mistake of law [and] not a mistake of
fact" because she was "aware of the identity of the
driver." The court of appeals reversed, holding
Flynn's mistake cognizable under Rule 15(c) as "a
mistake concerning the identity of the proper party."
Flynn v. Campbell, 240 Ariz. 264, 269 ¶ 18
We granted review because the standard for allowing
"relation back" of pleadings under Rule 15(c)
presents a recurring issue of statewide importance. We have
jurisdiction under article 6, section 5(3) of ...