Seaboard Air Line Railway v. Renn - 241 U.S. 290 (1916)
U.S. Supreme Court
Seaboard Air Line Railway v. Renn, 241 U.S. 290 (1916)
Seaboard Air Line Railway v. Renn
Argued April 4, 1916
Decided May 22, 1916
241 U.S. 290
Whether the state court, in permitting an amendment to the complaint in an action under the Employers' Liability Act, disregarded the provision in § 6 limiting the time to commence actions under the Act is a federal question, although the allowance of the amendment otherwise might rest in the discretion of the court and be a matter of local procedure.
An amendment which merely expands or amplifies what was alleged in support of the cause of action asserted in the original complaint relates back to the commencement of the action, and is not affected by the intervening lapse of time.
An amendment which introduces a new or different cause of action is the equivalent of a new suit which would be barred by § 6 if made more than two years after the cause of action arose.
Although the original complaint in this case may not have distinctly shown that the cause of action arose under the Employers' Liability Act, still, as it did not allege that the cause of action arose under the law of the state where it occurred, and did allege that defendant was engaged in operating its railroad in that and other states, held that an amendment that plaintiff's employment and defendant's engagement were both in interstate commerce at the time of the
injury did not amount to the statement of a new cause of action, but merely amplified or expanded that already stated, and related back to the commencement of the suit.
Both courts below having concurred against defendant's request for instruction that there was no evidence of actionable negligence, and there being no clear error, this Court will not disturb such conclusions. Where the charge as a whole was fair, objections made at the time, but which did not specifically draw the attention of the trial court to inaccuracies in portions of the charge respecting the measure of damages cannot, where not dealt with by the appellate court, be pressed in this Court.
86 S.E. 964 affirmed.
The facts, which involve the validity of a verdict and judgment for damages for personal injuries in an action under the Employers' Liability Act, are stated in the opinion.