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Amendments as a matter of right


Section 2. Amendments as a matter of right. — A party may amend his pleading once as a matter of right at any time before a responsive pleading is served or, in the case of a reply, at any time within ten (10) days after it is served. (Rule 10, Rules of Court)

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When is amendment a matter of right?

● A party may amend his pleading once as a matter of right at any time before a responsive pleading is served or, in the case of a reply, at any time within ten (10) days after it is served. (Rule 10, Sec. 2) Thus, before an answer is served on the plaintiff, the latter may amend his complaint as a matter of right. The defendant may also amend his answer, also as a matter of right, before a reply is served upon him.

● Before the service of a responsive pleading, a party has the absolute right to amend his pleading, regardless of whether a new cause of action or change in theory is introduced (substantial amendment). 


A filed a complaint against B. B filed a motion to dismiss the complaint. Can A still amend the complaint as a matter of right?

Yes. A motion to dismiss is not a responsive pleading and its filing does not preclude the exercise of the plaintiff's right to amend his complaint.


If the motion to dismiss is granted by the court, can the plaintiff still amend his complaint as a matter of right?

● Even if the motion to dismiss is granted by the court, the plaintiff may still amend his complaint as a matter of right before the dismissal becomes final as long as no answer has yet been served.

● The policy in this jurisdiction is that amendments to pleadings are favored and liberally allowed in the interests of substantial justice. Thus, amendments of the complaint may be allowed even if an order for its dismissal has been issued so long as the motion to amend is filed before the order of dismissal acquired finality. (Sps. Tirona vs. Judge Alejo, G.R. No. 129313. October 10, 2001)

Example:

A filed a complaint for sum of money against D. D filed a motion to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a cause of action because it was alleged that debt is already due and demandable at the time the complaint was filed. A filed an amendment to the complaint to correct the deficiency in its allegation. The amendment is a matter of right and hence, cannot be refused by the court.


A filed a case against X, Y and Z. X filed his Answer while Y and Z have not yet filed their Answer. May A still amend his complaint as a matter of right?

Yes. Where some but not all the defendants have answered, plaintiffs may amend their Complaint once, as a matter of right, in respect to claims asserted solely against the non-answering defendants, but not as to claims asserted against the other defendants.


What is the remedy of a party if the court refuses to admit and amended pleading when its exercise is a matter of right?

The remedy is mandamus. 


A examined his amended complaint and found that there are still some deficiencies thereunder which he now wanted to correct. Can A validly file a second amended complaint without leave of court?

 No. Because the right to amend without leave of court can be exercised only once.


Does Sec. 2 of Rule 10 apply to pleadings filed before the Court of Appeals?

No. Section 2, Rule 10 of the Rules of Court refers to an amendment made before the trial court, not to amendments before the Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals is vested with jurisdiction to admit or deny amended petitions filed before it. (Navarro Vda. de Taroma vs. Taroma, G.R. No. 160214, December 16, 2005) 


When should you file an Answer to an amended complaint?

When the plaintiff files an amended complaint as a matter of right, the defendant shall answer the same within fifteen (15) days after being served with a copy thereof.

Where its filing is not a matter of right, the defendant shall answer the amended complaint within ten (l0) days from notice of the order admitting the same. An answer earlier filed may serve as the answer to the amended complaint if no new answer is filed. (Sec. 3, Rule 11, Rules of Court)

However, new material allegations in the amended complaint which are not specifically denied are deemed admitted. (Hence, the need to file an answer).


When the complaint is amended, 2 situations may arise:
  1. If the complaint merely corrects or modifies the original complaint, then the action is deemed commenced upon the filing of the original complaint;
  2. If the amended complaint alleges a new cause of action, then the new allegedly cause of action is deemed commenced upon the filing of the amended complaint. (Laggui Remedial Law Reviewer)

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