(a) Amendments. A party may amend his pleading once as a matter of course at any time before or within 30 days after a responsive pleading is served or, if the pleading is one to which no responsive pleading is required and the action has not been placed upon the trial roster, he may so amend it at any time within 30 days after it is served. Otherwise a party may amend his pleading only by leave of court or by written consent of the adverse party; and leave shall be freely given when justice so requires and does not prejudice any other party. A party shall plead in response to an amended pleading within the time remaining for response to the original pleading or within fifteen days after service of the named amended pleading, whichever period may be the longer, unless the court otherwise orders.
This Rule 15(a) is substantially the same as the Federal Rule, and preserves present State practice under Code §§ 15-13-910 and 15-13-920. The Rule increases the time to amend a pleading without court order from 20 to 30 days, and the time to plead in response to an amended pleading from 10 to 15 days. It also adds the requirement that the court not allow amendment prejudicial to another party, which is a statement of existing case law.
(b) Amendments to Conform to the Evidence. When issues not raised by the pleadings are tried by express or implied consent of the parties, they shall be treated in all respects as if they had been raised in the pleadings. Such amendment of the pleadings as may be necessary to cause them to conform to the evidence and to raise these issues may be made upon motion of any party at any time, even after judgment; but failure so to amend does not affect the result of the trial of these issues. If evidence is objected to at the trial on the ground that it is not within the issues made by the pleadings, the court may allow the pleadings to be amended and shall do so freely when the presentation of the merits of the action will be subserved thereby and the objecting party fails to satisfy the court that the admission of such evidence would prejudice him in maintaining his action or defense upon the merits. The court shall upon motion grant a continuance reasonably necessary to enable the objecting party to meet such evidence. Upon allowing any such amendment or evidence the Court shall state in the record the reason or reasons for allowing the amendment or evidence. In the event the Court should try issues not raised by the pleadings, it shall state in the record all such issues tried and the reason therefor.
This Rule 15(b) broadens the court's power to allow amendments to conform the pleadings to the evidence under Code § 15-13-920; but this is necessary if the philosophy of the Rules, that the pleadings must state the issues, is to be consistent. The Rule also circumscribes the use of amendment at late stages in a trial by requiring the court to grant continuance of the trial as necessary, and stating in the record the reasons for allowing the amendment.
(c) Relation Back of Amendments. Whenever the claim or defense asserted in the amended pleading arose out of the conduct, transaction or occurrence set forth or attempted to be set forth in the original pleadings, the amendment relates back to the date of the original pleading.
An amendment changing the party against whom a claim is asserted relates back if the foregoing provision is satisfied and, within the period provided by law for commencing the action against him the party to be brought in by amendment (1) has received such notice of the institution of the action that he will not be prejudiced in maintaining his defense on the merits, and (2) knew or should have known that, but for a mistake concerning the identity of the proper party, the action would have been brought against him.
This Rule 15(c) is the same as the Federal Rule.
(d) Supplemental Pleadings. Upon motion of a party the court may, upon reasonable notice and upon such terms as are just, permit him to serve a supplemental pleading setting forth transactions or occurrences or events which have happened since the date of the pleading sought to be supplemented, whether or not the original pleading is defective in its statement of a cause of action or defense. If the court deems it advisable that the adverse party plead thereto, it shall so order, specifying the time therefor.
This Rule 15(d) is the same as the Federal Rule. State practice since 1870 has followed this procedure. McClaslan v. Latimer, 17 S.C. 123 (1882); Francis Marion Hotel v. Chicco, 131 S.C. 344, 127 S.E. 436 (1924).