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Zywicki v. Sai Nath, LLC

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division

March 24, 2017

JOHN ZYWICKI, Plaintiff,
v.
SAI NATH, LLC, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          David J. Hale, Judge United States District Court

         On November 26, 2013, Plaintiff John Zywicki was staying at a Sleep Inn and Suites when he slipped and fell in the shower. (Docket No. 32-1, PageID # 180) Defendant Sai Nath, LLC owns the Sleep Inn and Suites. (Id.; D.N. 8, PageID # 36) Zywicki alleges that his injuries were caused by Sai Nath's negligence in maintaining the property. (D.N. 1-2, PageID # 5-7)

         Zywicki originally filed suit on November 26, 2014 against only “Sleep Inn and Suites.” (D.N. 36, PageID # 250) Then, on April 24, 2015, Zywicki filed an amended complaint naming Sai Nath, LLC as the defendant. (D.N. 32-1, PageID # 183) Sai Nath filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that the amended complaint was not timely filed. (D.N. 32-1, PageID # 182-90) Zywicki contends that the amended complaint relates back to the original complaint, which was filed before the expiration of the limitations period. (D.N. 36, PageID # 250-51) After careful consideration, the Court concludes that the amended complaint does not relate back to the original complaint and the motion for summary judgment will be granted.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff John Zywicki, a resident of Wisconsin, checked in to the Sleep Inn and Suites in Shepherdsville, Kentucky on November 25, 2013. (D.N. 32-1, PageID # 180; D.N. 36, PageID # 248) The next day, on the morning of November 26, 2013, Zywicki took a shower in his hotel room. (D.N. 32-1, PageID #181) While in the shower, Zywicki “stepped on the 4-inch shower drain cover with his left foot, lost his balance, and fell in the shower.” (Id.) According to Zywicki, he fell because the drain cover was loose and improperly attached. (D.N. 1-2, PageID # 6) Zywicki claims that he injured his knees, lower back, upper back, neck, and toe because of the fall. (Id.) Zywicki also claims that he has headaches as a result of the fall. (Id.)

         On November 26, 2014, Zywicki filed suit against Sleep Inn and Suites and sent the summons to 130 Spring Pointe Drive, Shepherdsville, Kentucky, 40165, “the address listed on the incident report provided to the Plaintiff.” (D.N. 36, PageID # 250) But the hotel property is owned and operated by Sai Nath, LLC. (D.N. 1-2, PageID # 6; D.N. 9, PageID # 36) Zywicki filed an amended complaint on April 24, 2015, naming Sai Nath, LLC as the defendant, (D.N. 32-1, PageID # 183) alleging that it was negligent in maintaining the premises of the hotel. (D.N. 1-2, PageID # 6) In response, Sai Nath filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff's claims are barred by the statute of limitations, and alternatively, that it is entitled to summary judgment because a shower is an open and obvious condition. (D.N. 32-1, PageID # 182-90) The defendant also contends that Zywicki waived his damages claims by failing to provide itemized damages claims during discovery. (Id., PageID # 190-91)

         Zywicki responds that the original complaint was filed in a timely fashion and the amended complaint relates back to the initial filing. (D.N. 36, PageID # 250-51) Additionally, the plaintiff argues that the defendant is not entitled to summary judgment because Sai Nath did not keep the premises in a “reasonably safe” condition. (Id. PageID # 251-53) Finally, Zywicki states that he provided Sai Nath with a total damages claim at the settlement conference and will provide an itemized list immediately, but contends that the defendant has not been prejudiced by this failure and thus summary judgment is inappropriate. (Id., PageID # 253-54)

         II. DISCUSSION

         In Kentucky, a personal-injury claim must “commence[] within one (1) year after the cause of action accrued.” Ky Rev. Stat. § 413.140(1)(a). The parties agree that Zywicki's cause of action accrued on November 26, 2013, when he fell in the shower. (D.N. 1-2, PageID # 6; D.N. 32-1, PageID # 183) Zywicki first sued Sleep Inn and Suites on November 26, 2014, but did not name Sai Nath as a defendant. (D.N. 36, PageID # 250) Zywicki filed the instant action against Sai Nath on April 24, 2015, well past the limitations period. (Id., PageID # 5-6; D.N. 32-1, PageID # 183)

         Zywicki seeks to avoid the statute of limitations bar to his claims against Sai Nath by arguing that his claims against Sai Nath relate back to the original November 26, 2014 complaint. (D.N. 36, PageID # 250) “The question of whether an amendment to a complaint relates back to the date of the original complaint is a question of federal procedure not controlled by state law even in a diversity case.” Bishop v. Atmos Energy Corp., 161 F.R.D. 339, 341 (W.D. Ky. 1995) (citing Simmons v. South Central Skyworker's Inc., 936 F.2d 268, 270 (6th Cir. 1991)). Rule 15(c) provides that an amendment relates back when:

(A) the law that provides the applicable statute of limitations allows relation back;
(B) the amendment asserts a claim or defense that arose out of the conduct, transaction, or occurrence set out--or attempted to be set out--in the original pleading; or
(C) the amendment changes the party or the naming of the party against whom a claim is asserted, if Rule 15(c)(1)(B) is satisfied and if, within the period provided by Rule 4(m) for serving the summons and complaint, the party to be brought in by amendment:
(i) received such notice of the action that it will not be prejudiced in defending ...

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