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July 25, 2011


A party may amend the party’s pleadings once as a matter of course at any time before a responsive pleading is served or, if the pleading is one to which no responsive pleading is permitted and the action has not been set for trial, the party may so amend it at any time within fifteen (15) days after it is served. Otherwise a party may amend the party’s pleadings only by written consent of the adverse party or by leave of court; and leave shall be freely given when justice so requires. For amendments adding defendants pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. §20-1-119, however, written consent of the adverse party or leave of court is not required. A party shall plead in response to an amended pleading within the time remaining for response to the original pleading or within fifteen (15) days after service of the amended pleading, whichever period may be longer, unless the court otherwise orders.


When issues not raised by the pleadings are tried by express or implied consent of the parties, they shall be treated in all respects as if they had been raised in the pleadings. Such amendment of the pleadings as may be necessary to cause them to conform to the evidence and to raise these issues may be made upon motion of any party at any time, even after judgment; but failure so to amend does not affect the result of the trial of these issues. Provided, however, amendment after verdict so as to increase the amount sued for in the action shall not be permitted. If evidence is objected to at the trial on the ground that it is not within the issues made by the pleadings, the court may allow the pleadings to be amended and shall do so freely when the presentation of the merits of the action will be subserved thereby and the objecting party fails to satisfy the court that the admission of such evidence would prejudice that party in maintaining the action or defense upon the merits. The court may grant a continuance to enable the objecting party to meet such evidence.


Whenever the claim or defense asserted in the amended pleadings arose out of the conduct, transaction or occurrence set forth or attempted to be set forth in the original pleading, the amendment relates back to the date of the original pleading. An amendment changing the party or the naming of the party by or against whom a claim is asserted relates back if the foregoing provision is satisfied and if, within the period provided by law for commencing an action or within 120 days after commencement of the action, the party to be brought in by amendment (1) has received such notice of the institution of the action that the party will not be prejudiced in maintaining a defense on the merits, and (2) knew or should have known that, but for a mistake concerning the identity of the proper party, the action would have been brought against the party.


Upon motion of a party the court may, upon reasonable notice and upon such terms as are just, permit the party to serve a supplemental pleading setting forth transactions or occurrences or events which have happened since the date of the pleading sought to be supplemented. Permission may be granted even though the original pleading is defective in its statement of a claim for relief or defense. If the court deems it advisable that the adverse party plead to the supplemental pleading, it shall so order, specifying the time therefor. [As amended by order filed February 1, 1995, effective July 1, 1995.]

Advisory Commission Comments.

15.02: Rule 15 grants a party an absolute right to amend once within a specified time, and allows amendment freely at any time by consent of the parties or by leave of court. Where issues not raised by the pleadings are actually tried, amendment may conform the pleadings to the evidence. Amendment after verdict is permitted, but it is expressly provided that no amendment after verdict may increase the amount sued for. Specified times for response to amendments are set out, but these may be changed by order of the court, and continuances may be granted when necessary.

15.04: Rule 15.04 authorizes the court to permit a supplemental pleading setting forth transactions or occurrences or events which have happened since the date of the pleading sought to be supplemented, and empowers the court to order a responsive pleading to the supplemental pleading where advisable. This Rule has especial significance in the light of Rule 7.01 which limits the pleadings which may ordinarily be filed.

Advisory Commission Comments [1995]. The amendment to Rule 15.03 incorporates language similar to that adopted in the federal version to change the unfortunate result of decisions such as Schiavone v. Fortune, 477 U.S. 21 (1986). Under the revised wording, an action commenced under a corporate defendant’s trade name just before the statute of limitations runs – but not served on the corporation’s agent until two weeks after the statute runs – could be corrected by amendment.

Advisory Commission Comment [2007]. The need for the new third sentence of Rule 15.01 was highlighted by Jones v. Professional Motorcycle Escort Service, L.L.C., 193 S.W.3d 564 (Tenn. 2006). Because Tenn. Code Ann. §20-1-119 allows potential comparative tortfeasors pleaded in the answer to be added to the complaint, there is no reason to trouble the trial court with permission to amend. The new language resolves an ambiguity created by the statute and the earlier version of the rule.

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