the original pleading" to relate back to the original pleading. We disagree.
First, we note that under New York law, "every distinct publication of a libelous writing or slanderous statement gives rise to a separate cause of action." Barber v. Daly, 185 A.D.2d 567, 586 N.Y.S.2d 398, 400 (3d Dept. 1992); see also 43A N.Y.Jur.2d 78; Restatement (Second) of Torts § 577A cmt.a (1977).
Since the question of relation back of amendments, however, is properly a matter of procedure, we also analyze plaintiffs' application under the federal rule. See Contemporary Mission Inc. v. the New York Times Company, 665 F. Supp. 248 (1987), aff'd, 842 F.2d 612 (1988). The main inquiry under Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(c) is whether adequate notice has been given to the opposing party "by the general fact situation alleged in the original pleading." Rosenberg v. Martin, 478 F.2d 520, 526 (2d Cir. 1973), cert. denied, 414 U.S. 872, 38 L. Ed. 2d 90, 94 S. Ct. 102 (1973). See also Schiavone v. Fortune, 477 U.S. 21, 31, 91 L. Ed. 2d 18, 106 S. Ct. 2379 (1986) (linchpin is notice within limitations period). An amendment will not relate back if it sets forth a new set of operational facts; it can only make more specific what has already been alleged. See Holdridge v. Heyer-Schulte Corp. of Santa Barbara, 440 F. Supp. 1088, 1093 (N.D.N.Y. 1977).
Here, plaintiffs set forth in their proposed amended complaint new instances of defamation. While the content of the defamatory statement in the proposed amended complaint is the same as the content of the statements in the original complaint, the new claim names a new party as well as new dates. See Rickman v. Cone Mills Corporation, 129 F.R.D. 181, 186 (D.Kan. 1989); Municipal Training Center v. National Broadcasting Corp., 87 Misc. 2d 1044, 387 N.Y.S.2d 40, 41 (Sup.Ct. 1976); compare Contemporary Mission Inc., 665 F. Supp. at 256 (one publication of several similar libelous statements found to be a single transaction for amendment purposes). Allowing these claims to relate back would, in effect, allow the plaintiff to circumvent the statute of limitations, a result proscribed by Fed.R.Civ.P 15(c).
For the reasons set forth above, Plaintiffs Mark and Donna Pruiss's motion to amend is denied.
BARRINGTON D. PARKER, JR.
Dated: White Plains, New York
January 29, 1996
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