Naming a Third-Party Defendant As a Direct Defendant
In Duffy v. Horton Mem. Hosp., 66 NY2d 473, 476, the Court of Appeals held that "where ... a potential defendant is fully aware that a claim is being made against him with respect to the ... occurrence involved in the suit, and is, in fact, a participant in the litigation, permitting an amendment to relate back would not necessarily be at odds with the policies underlying the Statute of Limitations."
The Duffy Court permitted an amendment of the complaint to name a third-party defendant as a direct defendant when the third-party action had been commenced within the statutory period.
In contrast, a claim asserted against a person who was a complete stranger to the original litigation was held not to relate back to the commencement of the first action where the new defendant did not have knowledge of the claim against him until the new complaint was served, well after the Statute of Limitations had run. (Liverpool v. Arverne Houses, 67 NY2d 878; 1 Chase, Weinstein-Korn-Miller CPLR Manual 2.09.)