Case Caption: Joseph Parris, Jr. v. Clayton Nurse and St. Croix Financial Center, Inc. D/B/A Green Cay MarinaCase Number: SCT-CIV-2020-0096Date: 03/29/2022Author: Hodge, Rhys S. Citation: 2022 VI 6Summary: In deciding whether a defendant’s counterclaims were time-barred by the statute of limitations under then-applicable provisions of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 13(a) and 5 V.I.C. § 31, applicable Rule 3 provisions define commencement of the action, and it is evident that under Rule 13 there is an inherent connection between defendant’s compulsory counterclaims and plaintiff’s complaint. By definition, they arise out of the same transaction or occurrence, and often involve the same evidence. Under the mandatory provisions of Civil Rule 13, a compulsory counterclaim cannot be asserted separately and will be lost if the defendant fails to plead it in response to plaintiff’s institution of a civil action. As a result, a compulsory counterclaim does not commence a separate civil action under 5 V.I.C. § 31 because it is reactive and can only be filed after the plaintiff has filed the underlying complaint. Therefore, the filing of plaintiff’s complaint stops the running of the statute of limitations on the defendant’s claims and compulsory counterclaims relate back to the date when plaintiff filed the complaint. Here, both the claim and counterclaim arose on the same date and at the same location and time, and it is likely that the same type of evidence and witnesses could shed light on these factual issues. Therefore, the defendant’s counterclaim is compulsory under Rule 13(a) and the Superior Court erred in dismissing it on statute of limitations grounds. The judgment is reversed, and the case is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.Attachment: Open Document or Opinion