Statute of Limitations Defense Successful in Beaver County Motor Vehicle Case

Plaintiff, operator of motor vehicle involved in a collision with defendants vehicle, sued the defendant vehicle owners, the driver’s parents, but, not the driver, shortly before the statue of limitations expired. After the statute ran, the defendants’ answer was filed, which averred neither defendant was the operator of the vehicle. Thereafter, plaintiff sought leave of court to amend her complaint to add the driver as a new defendant and the trial court denied same. Ultimately, the trial court granted defendants’ motion for summary judgment asserting neither party was the vehicle operator and, therefore, could not be found negligent. Plaintiff appealed the MSJ.

Western PA partner, Michael Lang, argued the appeal before the Superior Court contending plaintiff was not seeking to amend her complaint to correct a misnamed party, but, to bring into the case a new and distinct party (the driver) after the statute of limitations had expired. The Court agreed, prohibiting the joinder of the vehicle operator, ending plaintiff’s suit.