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If a pleading (complaint or motion) has numerous but not excessive exhibits, then that pleading is amended; does it have to include the exhibits from the previous pleading anew or can the amended pleading incorporate the previously filed exhibits into the amended pleading by referencing the previous pleading and not actually attaching the exhibits to that amended pleading? Does it make a difference if that pleading is a motion or a complaint? And where would the rules specifying required actions be found?

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  • What jurisdiction?
    – phoog
    Aug 5, 2017 at 14:20
  • U.S. Fifth Circuit.
    – j. howdee
    Aug 6, 2017 at 13:21
  • Fifth Circuit. Your point was?
    – j. howdee
    Aug 13, 2017 at 16:09
  • @jhowdee my point was that rules vary from one jurisdiction to the next, so it's not possible to answer without knowing the jurisdiction.
    – phoog
    Aug 15, 2017 at 18:32

1 Answer 1

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Yes, include the original complaint’s exhibits if those exhibits are still being relied upon in your amended complaint. This may be different by jurisdiction, of course, but the doctrine seems pretty universal and I’m getting this from a federal case, Hoefling v. City of Miami, 811 F.3d 1271 (11th Cir., 2016). This case deals, however, with an amended complaint that contradicts the earlier complaint. This may not be the situation you are faced with. Quoting:

As a matter of law, the second amended complaint filed by Mr. Hoefling ‘supersede[d] the former pleading[s]; the original pleading[s] [were] abandoned by the amendment, and [were] no longer a part of [Mr. Hoefling’s] averments against his adversar[ies].’ So when Mr. Hoefling filed the second amended complaint, the first amended complaint (and its attached exhibits) became a legal nullity.

The fact that the doctrine seems universal to me and because it comes from a federal case does not bear upon whether this will be the same in your jurisdiction, although coming from a federal circuit court it can be used as “persuasive.” In other words, consult your local jurisdiction and/or consult an attorney in your local jurisdiction.

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  • Thanks. Your answer lead me to find something that fits my purposes better. It really made a difference. Kalyanaram v. ASS'N OF UNIVER. PROFESSORS AT NYIT, 742 F. 3d 42 (2014) Quoting from Yak v. Bank Brussels Lambert, 252 F.3d 127, 130. "... court may consider the complaint as well as "any written instrument attached to [the complaint] as an exhibit or any statements or documents incorporated in it by reference."
    – j. howdee
    Aug 13, 2017 at 16:11
  • That’s great to hear!
    – A.fm.
    Aug 13, 2017 at 20:27

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