Craig v. Ludy

In Craig v. Ludy, 95 Wn. App. 715, 976 P.2d 1248 (Wash. Ct. App. 1999) the plaintiffs had sued the defendant, unaware he had died. Craig, 976 P.2d at 1250. The trial court denied a motion filed by the plaintiffs to add the defendant's estate as a party, holding the amendment would not relate back. Id. The court explained the critical issue was whether the decedent's estate "had notice of the action and knew or should have known it would have been named as a defendant but for the plaintiffs' mistake." Id. at 1251. The court imputed the defendant's insurer's notice and knowledge to the estate and found in favor of relation back: In this case,the decedent defendant's insurer certainly had notice of this action. Presumably, counsel retained by the insurer to represent its insured would be required to defend the suit regardless of whether Mr. Ludy were alive or dead. Counsel has not alleged the amendment would cause any prejudice to the insurer or to Mr. Ludy's estate. There thus was a sufficient community of interest that notice of the action may be imputed to the estate. Finally, the estate (through its insurer) knew that, but for the plaintiffs' mistake, the action would have been brought against it. All the requirements of CR 15(c) are satisfied. Id.