The Third Department, over an extensive dissent, determined the relation-back doctrine did not save the petition challenging a use variance. The initial petition was dismissed for failure to name a necessary party, Rosa Kuehn. The subsequent amended petition, which included the necessary party, was dismissed as time-barred:
Supreme Court correctly determined that petitioners are not entitled to the benefit of the relation back doctrine. That doctrine “permits a petitioner to amend a petition to add a respondent even though the statute of limitations has expired at the time of amendment so long as the petitioner can demonstrate three things: (1) that the claims arose out of the same occurrence, (2) that the later-added respondent is united in interest with a previously named respondent, and (3) that the later-added respondent knew or should have known that, but for a mistake by petitioners as to the later-added respondent’s identity, the proceeding would have also been brought against him or her” … .
… [P]etitioners simply cannot meet the third and final condition and therefore cannot avail themselves of the doctrine. Indeed, Rosa Kuehn was appropriately named as a respondent and identified as the landowner of the subject property in petitioners’ successful challenge to the use variance issued in 2013 … ; “thus, this simply is not an instance where the identity of a respondent . . . was in doubt or there was some question regarding that party’s status” … . Matter of Nemeth v K-Tooling, 2022 NY Slip Op 03034, Second Dept 5-4-22
Practice Point: Here a necessary party was not named in the petition and the petition was dismissed for that reason. The amended petition, which named the necessary party, was time-barred. The relation-back doctrine could not be invoked to save the amended petition because the identity of the necessary party was known to the petitioners who had named her in a related petition in 2013.