Home Definition Motion To Amend Complaint (Legal Definition And Examples)

Motion To Amend Complaint (Legal Definition And Examples)

What is Motion To Amend Complaint?

How do you legally define it?

What are the important elements you should know!

Keep reading as we have gathered exactly the information that you need!

Let’s dig into our civil rules of procedures!

Are you ready?

Let’s get started!

Understanding Motion To Amend Complaint

A motion to amend a complaint is a motion filed by a party in a lawsuit to change or modify its pleadings.

Under Rule 15 of the US Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP 15), a party to a lawsuit can amend its complaint before trial in the following scenarios:

  • As a matter of law within 21 days after having served the complaint or following the service of a responsive pleading
  • With the written agreement or consent of the other party
  • Based on leave granted by the court

In other words, in some cases, as a matter of law (so without the need of the other party’s consent or authorization from the court), a party may amend its complaint.

In cases where the other party does not object to the amendment, then that’s pretty straightforward.

The final case is a party that wishes to amend its complaint but will require the court’s permission or authorization (so called “leave”).

In that case, a party will need to file a motion for leave to amend seeking permission from the court to amend its complaint.

For amendments during and after trial, the court may permit the pleadings to be amended in such a way as to permit the merits of the case to be resolved while ensuring the other party’s action or defense on the merits is not affected.

Motion To Amend Complaint definition

How do you define a motion to amend complaint?

To better understand the concept, it’s worth defining the terms “motion” and “complaint” so we can then address the motion to amend the complaint.

A “motion” is a request or demand formally filed in court on a particular issue or matter.

When a motion is filed, the party filing it is looking for a court order, ruling or direction.

Moving along, a “complaint” is typically the first legal document filed in court when a lawsuit is commenced.

The complaint provides the legal reasons why a party is suing another or claiming legal rights against that person.

Now, a motion to amend the complaint is a request made by party, asking the court for a court order or leave of court, in order to make modifications to the complaint initially filed.

In essence, a motion to amend a complaint is a request submitted by a party to a lawsuit to the court to get permission to change the original court filing documents.

Motion for leave to amend complaint 

A motion for leave to amend complaint is a type of motion filed by a party who is asking the court for permission to change or modify the original complaint, pleading or document filed.

Typically, this happens when the court procedural rules impose the court’s leave or the other party has opposed the amendment.

Ultimately, the court will have to decide if the leave is granted or not.

Generally, the courts tend to favor the granting of leave to ensure that the parties to a lawsuit have a fair opportunity to present their demands to the court.

For instance, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure states that the court should freely give leave when justice so requires.

The courts will not give permission to amend a complaint if it is unreasonable, it is not done in a timely fashion depending on where the stage of legal proceedings or there are other important grounds justifying the denial.

Motion to amend complaint example 

Let’s look at an example of a motion to amend complaint.

It’s important to note that motions must be filed in compliance with the civil rules of procedure or court rules as applicable.

In this example, we are looking at a Notice of Motion and Motion to Amend Complaint filed in the Court of Common Pleas Thirteenth Judicial Circuit in the State of South Carolina, County of Greenville.

Motion to amend compliant - example
Source: Greenvillecounty.org

The format of this complaint is as follows:

  • There is a notice that the plaintiff is moving against the defendant to amend its complaint
  • The request for leave is further to Rule 15 of the South Carolina Rules of Civil Procedures
  • The reasons why the plaintiff is moving
  • The legal basis justifying why the court should consider this motion for leave
  • The assertion that there’s no prejudice to the other party 
  • Signature of the attorney of record for the plaintiff 


So what is the legal definition of Motion To Amend Complaint?

Let’s look at a summary of our findings.

Motion To Amend Complaint:

  • A motion to amend complaint is a formal request filed by a party in a lawsuit to make certain changes to its complaint document initially filed
  • When a party intends to amend its complaint, it must do so in accordance with the rules of civil procedures applicable to the case
  • In some cases, the amendment is granted as a matter of law and in other cases it’s subject to leave from the court
Amended complaint 
Amended complaints
Amended order 
Amended pleadings 
FRCP amended complaint 
Leave to amend 
Motion for leave 
Move to amend
What is an amendment 
How to file a motion to dismiss
Editorial Staffhttps://lawyer.zone
Hello Nation! I'm a lawyer and passionate about law. I've practiced law in a boutique law firm, worked in a multi-national organization and as in-house counsel. I've been around the block! On this blog, I provide you with golden nuggets of information about lawyers, attorneys, the law and legal theories. Enjoy!


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