Relation-back practice essay

Note: this relation-back fact pattern (to best of Professor Nathenson’s knowledge) was written initially by ALI Zachary Smith, and updated by ALI Cristina Morales.

Peter Parker and Paul Pierce are obsessed with playing video games.  Every Saturday night, Parker and Pierce play Battleship Enterprise, an intense World War II naval combat game.  Many gaming experts regard Battleship Enterprise as a revolutionary game because of its superior visual effects.  The effects are so realistic that the box says, “You’ll feel like you’re really at war!”  After 18 hours of playing Battleship Enterprise, Parker became delusional.  At one point, as Parker fired a missile into Pierce’s aircraft carrier, Parker threw his controller at Pierce, severely injuring him.

As stated on the game’s box, ABC Gaming Inc. manufactures Battleship Enterprise.  The box also made reference to a number of companies, including XYZ Graphics Corporation.  The credits did not indicate what part, if any, XYZ Graphics played in the game.  On the day the statute of limitations for torts expired, Pierce sued Parker for battery and ABC Gaming for negligent design and manufacturing.  Thirty days later, Pierce served the complaint on both defendants.  The following day, XYZ Graphics’ Chief Graphics Officer (“CGO”) (akin to the employee in charge of game graphics) was browsing on his Facebook news feed and noticed a just-published article posted from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel stating that Pierce had sued ABC Gaming for injuries resulting from playing Battleship Enterprise.  The article stated that a player had become so immersed in the game that he waged real-life war on his opponent.  The article also correctly noted that XYZ Graphics had designed the immersive graphics for the game.  The CGO responded on his Facebook wall, saying, “OMG! Signed, CGO.”

As it turned out, Paul Pierce’s lawyers also read the article in the Sun-Sentinel, and additionally saw the CGO’s posting about the article on her Facebook wall.  Ten days after the article was published, Pierce’s lawyers moved for leave to amend the complaint to add XYZ Graphics as a party for negligent design.

Question:  You are the law clerk to the judge who has to decide whether to grant leave to amend.  Your judge has asked you to assume that the motion will be granted, but only if the addition of XYZ Graphics would relate back.  Discuss whether the addition of XYZ Graphics would relate back to the original complaint.