MCR 2.112(K) Interpretation
MCR 2.112(K) creates an orderly method for adding new parties that takes into account the need for a reasonable time frame for identification of the parties and the right to not be unfairly prejudiced as a result of the parties' failure to act diligently in the pursuit of their claims.
MCR 2.1 12(K)(3)(c) provides that notice must be filed within ninety-one days after the party files its first responsive pleading.
The notice may be given by any party and serves as notice by all parties. MCR 2.1 12(K)(3)(a).
A defending party who is aware of other treating physicians who assisted in treatment has an incentive to comply with the notice time frame because fault of a nonparty will not be assessed by the trier of fact unless the notice rules are followed. MCR 2.112(K)(2).
However, late notice may be granted upon the filing of a motion explaining why a nonparty was not timely discovered, despite the exercise of reasonable diligence. MCR 2.1 12(K)(3)(c).
MCR 2.1 12(K)(4) provides that a party who receives notice of a nonparty "may" file an amended pleading against the nonparty. However, the rules of procedure governing the filing of answers and affirmative defenses, specifically MCR 2.118(B) and 2.111(F), allow a party to raise the issue of the statute of limitations. These court rules operate to ensure the orderly handling of a lawsuit and ensure that parties diligently pursue their rights in accordance with established statutes of limitation.
In Stephens v. Dixon, 449 Mich. 531, 534; 536 N.W.2d 755 (1995), the Supreme Court of Michigan explained the rationale for imposing statutes of limitation:
Statutes of limitation are procedural devices intended to promote judicial economy and the rights of defendants. for instance, they protect defendants and the courts from having to deal with cases in which the search for truth may be seriously impaired by the loss of evidence. They also prevent plaintiffs from sleeping on their rights; a plaintiff who delays bringing an action profits over an unsuspecting defendant who must prepare a defense long after the event from which the action arose.