When a plaintiff adds a party via an amended complaint, does the new defendant get 14 days to respond under FRCP 15(a)(3) (the rule for responding to an amended pleading) or 21 days to respond under FRCP 12(a)(1)(A)(i) (the rule for how long a party gets to file a responsive pleading)?

1 Answer 1


Twenty-one days from service of process per FRCP 4. The fourteen day period is for existing parties to the case from service per FRCP 5.

  • Thank you! I understand you to be saying that 1) the new defendant gets 21 days after they are served under FRCP 4, and 2) the 14-day window is only for preexisting parties responding to an amended complaint. Does anything in the rules or any other authority establish the second point?
    – Laymeno121
    Commented Apr 19 at 0:22
  • @Laymeno121 The existing parties are governed by FRCP 15 as cited in the question. A contrary reading would lead to the absurd conclusion that a new defendant would have to file an answer before being served pursuant to CRCP 4 and could be defaulted for not doing so.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Apr 19 at 0:24

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