It isn’t easy to get the nine justices of the U.S. Supreme Court to agree on anything, but yesterday they unanimously decided that it was a natural mistake to sue "Costa Cruise Lines" instead of the real name of the company, "Costa Crociere."
The U.S. Supreme Court, in an opinion written by its newest justice, Sonia Sotomayor, decided yesterday that if a plaintiff -- in this case, cruise passenger Wanda Krupski -- sued the wrong defendant by mistaking its name, she can amend the complaint even after the statute of limitations has run out.
Krupski alleged that she was injured while on the Costa Magica in 2007, when she tripped over a cable and fractured her femur.
She purchased her ticket from "Costa Cruise Lines, N.V.," which is legally a sales and marketing agent for the cruise line, while Costa Crociere S.p.A, , wholly owned by Carnival Corp., is the actual owner of the ships and therefore the company she was supposed to file suit against.
Costa’s North America press office said that the company has "a strategically situated network of sales offices worldwide. In North America, Costa Cruise Lines N.V., a wholly owned subsidiary, acts solely as a sales and marketing agent."
In a written opinion, Sotomayor wrote that the amended complaint "relates back" to the date of a timely-filed original complaint, and is "thus itself timely even though it was filed outside an applicable statute of limitations."
Her decision reversed the judgment of the Court of Appeals.