Can a Technical Defect Be Corrected After the Statute of Limitations Had Run ?

In Hall v. Acme Markets, Inc., 110 Pa. Commw. 199, 532 A.2d 894 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1987), the plaintiff filed a complaint against several private parties seeking damages for injuries arising from a traffic accident. One of the original defendants joined the "Commonwealth" and "Thomas Larsen, Secretary of Transportation," as additional defendants. On appeal, this Court permitted the plaintiff to add the words "Department of Transportation" to both the caption and the body of the complaint after the statute of limitations had run. The Court reasoned that because the Secretary had been joined as a party prior to the expiration of the statute of limitations, the Secretary's agency had been involved in the litigation from the moment the suit was filed. Therefore, the omission of "Department of Transportation" was a technical defect that could be corrected after the statute of limitations had run.