Amending a complaint or other pleading in California

Amending a complaint or other pleading in California is the topic of this blog post.

Common situations involving amending a pleading in California include amending an answer, complaint or cross-complaint.

California statutes that authorize amending a complaint or other pleading in California.

Amending a complaint or other pleading in California is authorized by the provisions of Code of Civil Procedure sections 473(a) and 576 which both state in pertinent part that a court may, in the furtherance of justice allow a party to amend any pleading on any terms as may be proper.

Legal requirements relating to amending a complaint or other pleading in California.

It should be noted that anyone that is contemplating amending a complaint or other pleading in California must comply with the provisions of California Rule of Court 3.1324 or risk having their motion denied.

Rule 3.1324 states that

“(a) Contents of motion

A motion to amend a pleading before trial must:

(1) Include a copy of the proposed amendment or amended pleading, which must be serially numbered to differentiate it from previous pleadings or amendments;

(2) State what allegations in the previous pleading are proposed to be deleted, if any, and where, by page, paragraph, and line number, the deleted allegations are located; and

(3) State what allegations are proposed to be added to the previous pleading, if any, and where, by page, paragraph, and line number, the additional allegations are located.

(b) Supporting declaration

A separate declaration must accompany the motion and must specify:

(1) The effect of the amendment;

2) Why the amendment is necessary and proper;

(3) When the facts giving rise to the amended allegations were discovered; and

(4) The reasons why the request for amendment was not made earlier.

(c) Form of amendment

The court may deem a motion to file an amendment to a pleading to be a motion to file an amended pleading and require the filing of the entire previous pleading with the approved amendments incorporated into it.

(d) Requirements for amendment to a pleading

An amendment to a pleading must not be made by alterations on the face of a pleading except by permission of the court. All alterations must be initialed by the court or the clerk.

Public policy favoring amending a complaint or other pleading in California.

Numerous published decisions from both the California Supreme Court and Courts of Appeal have stated that permitting amendments in the furtherance of justice is to be liberally permitted at any stage of the proceeding

One published California Court of Appeal decision stated that liberal amendment of pleadings has been the established public policy of California since at least 1901.

The policy favoring leave to amend to amend a complaint or other pleading in California is so strong that amendment must be permitted unless the party opposing the motion can show meaningful prejudice which includes the running of the statute of limitations, a delay of the trial, the loss of critical evidence, or added preparation costs.

Unless a showing of meaningful prejudice is made by the party opposing the motion even delay alone is not necessarily a sufficient reason for denying leave to amend.

An experienced civil litigation attorney can evaluate your situation and determine if you have sufficient grounds for filing a motion for leave to amend a complaint or other pleading in California.   Contact attorney Nathan Mubasher for a consultation and evaluation of your case.

Schedule a consultation today with attorney Nathan Mubasher.

Call (800) 691-2721 and let’s talk about your options.


Law Offices of Nathan Mubasher
2621 Green River Rd, Ste 105 PMB 403
Corona, CA 92882
tel 1-800-691-2721 | fax 1-310-356-3660


Thank you for reading. I hope I could have been educational as I endeavor to provide my knowledge as a free public service. Please note that all the materials and information on this blog are general analyses made available for the public’s general informational purposes only. These analyses are not in any way intended to serve as specific legal advice to be applied in your particular situation. Although I am an attorney, absent a signed retention and engagement letter, I am not your attorney. There are no exceptions to this rule. Moreover, you shall not rely on the information I am providing you, as it is only for your general knowledge and educational purposes, since this information would likely change based on any additional facts. Thus the transmission and receipt of information on this blog by anyone does not form or constitute an attorney-client relationship. My knowledge of laws is limited to California. Anyone receiving any information on this blog should not act upon the information provided without first obtaining the services of professional legal counsel licensed in their respective jurisdiction. Best of luck.


Author: nathanmubasher

Attorney Nathan Mubasher earned a post-doctorate LL.M. in International Financial Transactions with emphasis on Money Laundering and Compliance at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, a J.D. at American College of Law, and his B.A. at University of California, Riverside. He is a member of the State Bar of California and is admitted to practice before all state and federal courts in California. He is also an active member of the American Health Lawyers Association and the California Society for Healthcare Attorneys. He has performed over 1,000 mediations and has Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) training from the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR).

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