1. Williams v. Robinson, (1940); pg. 59, 14
2. Facts: Robinson’s wife filed a suit for maintenance. In his answer, Robinson filed a counterclaim for divorce, alleging that his wife had committed adultery with Williams and joining Williams as a co-respondent for his divorce claim. Williams denied all of the alleged acts of adultery.
3. Procedural Posture: Williams brought this action for libel and slander for the alleged false and malicious charges of adultery that were raised by Robinson in his counterclaim for divorce. Robinson did not file an answer, but moved for dismissal on the grounds that Williams failed to assert his claim in his answer to the counterclaim in the divorce action under rule 13(a) which relates to compulsory counterclaims that arise out of the transaction or occurrence that was the subject matter of the defendant’s counterclaim. The lower court granted the motion to dismiss.
4. Issue: Whether the slander and libel of which the π complains arose out of the transaction or occurrence that was the subject matter of the defendant’s counterclaim for divorce in the separate action.
5. Holding: No.
6. Majority Reasoning: The ∆’s counterclaim charged the π with specific acts of adultery. Thus, to arise out of the same transaction as the subject matter of the ∆’s counterclaim, the libel must have arisen from the same facts that led to the counterclaim for divorce. A “transaction” is a completed action. Furthermore, an “occurrence” is a happening or event, and is more narrow than a transaction. Thus, both of the claims must have arisen from the same completed action, the same event. The test of whether the subject matter of opposing claims is the same is whether the same evidence will support or refute both claims. Since the divorce claim arises from an alleged fact of adultery, it cannot be joined with the libel claim, which arises from the fact of the presentation of the ∆’s counterclaim. They are not supported or refuted by the same evidence. To allow the ∆’s motion would be to require π to admit that he committed adultery.
I. Responding to a counter-claim
A. π required to respond under Rule 7(a) and 12(a) in much the same way as a ∆ is required to respond to the π’s original claim.
1. New Case Brief Ques 33: P sues D on contract 1. New Case Brief D counterclaims on contract 2. P replies, denying breach of contract 2. The action is disposed of. Then P sues D for breach of contract 2 that occurred before P answered D’s counterclaim in the original suit. D can successfully defend because D’s breach of contract 2 would have been a compulsory counterclaim for P under Rule 13(a) since it occurred before his answer. If it would have occurred after his answer, P would not have lost it.
B. Recoveries on counter claims
1. New Case Brief normally the difference between the amount of the two judgments under Rule 13(c).
II. Amending the Pleadings (Rule 15)
A. Amendments before trial
1. New Case Brief Rule 15(a) allows a party to amend his pleading “once as a matter of course at any time before a responsive pleading is served.”
a. An answer is a “responsive pleading”, a motion is not. Thus, if ∆ moves under 12(b)(6), π may still amend his claim as a matter of course.
b. an amendment a pleading to which no responsive pleading is permitted is not allowed.
2. After a responsive pleading is served, the party may amend:
a. With leave of the court; or
b. with the written consent of the adverse party.
B. Amendments after trial
1. New Case Brief There is no absolute limit when a pleading may be amended – even after trial.
2. Rule 15(b) (first two sentences) treat the pleadings as amended when the opposing side failed to object to trial evidence which is unambiguously beyond the pleadings.
3. Rule 15(b) (last two sentences) provide for the case where the opposing side has successfully objected to trial evidence as going beyond the pleadings.