Lisa Maldonado and the Estate of Jacob Maldonado, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
Dennis Pratt and Karon Pratt, a/k/a Karen M. Pratt, Defendants-Appellees.
County District Court No. 14CV30856 Honorable Kimberly Karn,
& Earl, PLLC, Collin J. Earl, Ryan T. Earl, Colorado
Springs, Colorado, for Plaintiffs-Appellants
Nathan, Bremer, Dumm & Myers, P.C., Mark H. Dumm, Kaitlin
M. Akers, Denver, Colorado, for Defendants-Appellees
1 In this appeal, we must determine whether an amended
complaint's new claim against a new defendant, asserted
after the statute of limitations has run, relates back to the
date of the original complaint.
2 Plaintiffs Lisa Maldonado and the Estate of Jacob Maldonado
(collectively, the Estate) sued Dennis Pratt II (Pratt Jr.)
for wrongful death, in connection with Pratt Jr.'s fatal
shooting of Jacob Maldonado (Maldonado). Months later, after
the statute of limitations had run on any negligence claims,
the Estate sought to amend its complaint to add a new claim
under the Premises Liability Act against Pratt Jr.'s
mother (Karen) and father Dennis Pratt (Pratt Sr.)
(collectively, the Pratts). The Estate contended that it had
recently learned that the Pratts, not Pratt Jr., owned the
property where the shooting occurred.
3 We conclude, as the district court did, that the Pratts did
not have timely notice of the original action. Accordingly,
the amended complaint does not relate back to the original
complaint and the Estate's claim is time barred.
4 We therefore affirm the district court's entry of
judgment in favor of the Pratts.
5 The Pratts and Pratt Jr. own adjacent properties in a rural
area near Pueblo, Colorado. Pratt Jr. stored used car parts
on his property, in a spot located about a quarter mile from
his parents' house.
6 Pratt Jr. began to suspect that someone was stealing the
car parts. On the night of October 16, 2012, he drove his
truck to the storage area. When he saw beams from three
flashlights approaching the area, he got out of his truck and
fired his rifle in the direction of the lights, killing
7 A jury convicted Pratt Jr. of negligent homicide and he was
sentenced to six years' imprisonment.
8 On September 16, 2014, one month before the end of the
limitations period, the Estate filed a wrongful death action
against Pratt Jr., alleging a single claim of negligence
based on his act of shooting Maldonado. The complaint was
served on Pratt Jr. at the Department of Corrections (DOC),
where he was serving his sentence.
9 On April 1, 2015, the Estate filed an amended complaint,
retaining the wrongful death claim against Pratt Jr. but
asserting an additional claim against the Pratts under the
Premises Liability Act (PLA), section 13-21-115, C.R.S. 2016.
As the Estate later explained, the Pratts' insurance
company had conducted an investigation of the Estate's
claim against Pratt Jr. in January 2015, and had determined
that the property where the shooting occurred was owned by
the Pratts, not by Pratt Jr.
10 The Pratts filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings
and/or for summary judgment, arguing that the two-year
statute of limitations had run and, therefore, the claim
against them was time barred. The Estate countered that, under
C.R.C.P. 15(c), the amended complaint related back to the
11 The district court disagreed, concluding that the Pratts
did not have notice of the original lawsuit and, even if they
had received notice, they would not have expected that, but
for a mistake in pleading, they would have been named as
defendants in the wrongful death action. Accordingly, the