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Osti v. Shaw

August 23, 2010

CLAUDIO OSTI AND THERESA ANN OSTI, PLAINTIFFS
v.
ROBERT SHAW, MCKEE FOODS CORPORATION, AND MCKEE FOODS TRANSPORTATION, LLC, DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Munley

MEMORANDUM

Before the court is the motion to dismiss from the complaint all allegations of recklessness pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). This motion was filed by Defendants Robert Shaw, McKee Foods Corporation, and McKee Foods Transportation, LLC ("defendants"). The motion has been fully briefed and is ripe for disposition.

BACKGROUND

Facts

This action arises out of a motor vehicle collision that occurred on May 14, 2008. (Doc. 1, Complaint ¶ 12). Plaintiff Claudio Osti and Defendant Robert Shaw were driving eastbound on Interstate 84 in Wawaynda, New York. (Id. ¶¶ 12-13). Claudio Osti was driving a 2007 Hyundai vehicle and Robert Shaw was driving a 2007 Volvo tractor unit, pulling an enclosed box trailer. (Id.) Plaintiffs claim that Defendant Shaw was driving a company owned vehicle within the course and scope of his agency and/or employment under the direction and control of Defendants McKee Foods Corporation and McKee Foods Transportation, LLC. (Id. ¶¶ 13-14). Plaintiffs assert that at all pertinent times, McKee Foods Transportation, LLC was a wholly-owned subsidiary of McKee Foods Corporation. (Id. ¶ 8).

Plaintiffs allege that at approximately 5:08 a.m., the tractor-trailer operated by Defendant Shaw impacted the rear of Claudio Osti's vehicle. (Id. ¶ 16). As a result, Plaintiff Claudio Osti claims to have suffered several serious injuries, and subsequently was required to have a hip replacement surgery. (Id. ¶ 23). The plaintiffs initiated this action, alleging that Plaintiff Claudio Osti sustained several "severe, painful, disabling, and permanent injuries" as a result of defendants' negligence carelessness, and/or reckless. (Id.) Theresa Ann Osti has brought a loss of consortium claim as a result of the alleged negligence, carelessness, and/or recklessness of the defendants. (Id. ¶ 31).

Procedural History

The Complaint was filed by Claudio and Theresa Ann Osti (collectively "plaintiffs") on January 25, 2010. (Doc. 1, Complaint). Waivers of service were entered by McKee Foods Transportation, LLC on April 1, 2010, and by Robert Shaw and McKee Foods Corporation on April 2, 2010. (Docs. 10-12). Defendants filed this motion on April 4, 2010 to dismiss all allegations of recklessness pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). (Doc. 15). Both parties have briefed this issue, bringing the case to its present posture.

JURISDICTION

Plaintiffs Claudio and Theresa are both citizens and residents of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. (Doc. 1, Complaint ¶¶ 1-2). Defendant Robert Shaw is a citizen and resident of the Commonwealth of Virginia. (Id. ¶ 4). Defendant Companies McKee Foods Corporation and McKee Foods Transportation, LLC are both Tennessee corporations with their principal places of business in Tennessee. (Id. ¶¶ 5-6). Thus, there is complete diversity of citizenship between the plaintiffs and the defendants. The amount in controversy in this action exceeds $75,000.00. (Id. ¶ 11). Thus, this court has diversity jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Because this court is sitting in diversity, the substantive law of Pennsylvania applies. Chamberlain v. Giampapa, 220 F.3d 154, 158 (3d Cir. 2000) (citing Erie R.R. v. Tompkins, 304 U.S. 64, 78 (1938)).

STANDARD

This case is before the court pursuant to defendants' motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted filed pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. When a 12(b)(6) motion is filed, the sufficiency of the allegations in the complaint is tested. Granting the motion is appropriate if, accepting as true all the facts alleged in the complaint, the plaintiff has not pleaded "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face," or put another way, "nudged [his or her] claims across the line from conceivable to plausible." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). The Third Circuit interprets Twombly to require the plaintiff to describe "enough facts to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of" each necessary element of the claims alleged in the complaint. Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 234 (3d Cir. 2008) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). Moreover, the plaintiff must allege facts that "justify moving the case beyond the pleadings to the next state of litigation." Id. at 234-235.

In relation to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2), the complaint need only provide "'a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief,' in order to 'give the defendant fair notice of what the... claim is and the grounds upon which it rests,'" Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (citation omitted). "[T]he factual detail in a complaint [cannot be] so undeveloped that it does not provide a defendant the type of notice of claim which is contemplated by Rule 8." Philips, 515 F.3d at 232 (citation omitted). "Rule 8(a)(2) requires a 'showing' rather than a blanket assertion of an entitlement to relief." Id.

The issue is whether the facts alleged in the complaint, if true, support a claim upon which relief can be granted. In deciding a 12(b)(6) motion, the court must accept as true all factual allegations in the complaint and give the pleader the benefit of all reasonable inferences that can fairly be drawn therefrom, and view them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Morse v. Lower Merion Sch. Dist., 132 F.3d 902, 906 (3d Cir. 1997). To decide a motion to dismiss, a court generally should consider only the allegations in the complaint, exhibits attached to the complaint, matters of public record, and documents that form the basis of a claim. See In re ...


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