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Courtney v. Ivanov

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

August 18, 2014

EDDIE L. COURTNEY, JR. and KREILKAMP TRUCKING, INC., Plaintiffs,
v.
YURIY IVANOV a/k/a YURLY IVANOV; VICTOR MOTRYUK a/k/a VIKTOR MOTRYUK a/k/a VICKTOR MOTRYUK; FREIGHTLION LOGISTICS, LLC; PROMPT LOGISTICS (USA); PROMPT LOGISTICS (CANADA); and INTERNATIONAL PURCHASE SYSTEMS, INC., Defendants

Page 454

For EDDIE L. COURTNEY, JR., KREILKAMP TRUCKING, INC., Plaintiffs: Stephen E. Geduldig, LEAD ATTORNEY, Pion Nerone Girman Winslow & Smith PC, Harrisburg, PA.

For YURIY IVANOV, also known as YURLY IVANOV, VICTOR MOTRYUK, also known as VIKTOR MOTRYUK, also known as VICKTOR MOTRYUK, Defendants: Edward M. Vavro, Jr., Dickie, McCamey & Chilcote, Pittsburgh, PA.

For FRIEGHTLION LOGISTICS, LLC, Defendant: Chester A. Dudzinski, Rebecca Sember Izsak, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Cipriani & Werner, Pittsburgh, PA.

For PROMPT LOGISTICS (USA), PROMPT LOGISTICS (CANADA), Defendants: Jonathan Dryer, LEAD ATTORNEY, Wilson, Elser, Moskowitz, Edelman & Dicker, Philadelphia, PA; William J. Taylor, Jr., PRO HAC VICE, Wilson, Elser, Moskowitz, Edelman & Dicker, Philadelphia, PA.

For DISCOVER PROPERTY & CASUALTY INSURANCE COMPANY, Intervenor: David M. McQuiston, Thomson, Rhodes & Cowie, Pittsburgh, PA; Lisa R. Whisler, Thomson, Rhodes & Cowie, P.C., Pittsburgh, PA.

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MEMORANDUM OPINION

KIM R. GIBSON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

I. Introduction

This personal injury action arises from a traffic accident involving two tractor-trailers on Interstate 80. Presently before the Court is a motion for partial dismissal (ECF No. 7) pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) filed by Defendant Freightlion Logistics, LLC. Specifically, Freightlion moves to dismiss (1) Count X of Plaintiffs' complaint for failing to state a cognizable cause of action, and (2) Plaintiffs' claims for punitive damages for failing to allege sufficient facts. Freightlion's motion raises a question of first impression in this District: Whether 49 U.S.C. § 14704(a)(2) creates a private right of action for a personal injury claim? For the reasons below, the Court finds that it does not. Accordingly, the Court will GRANT Freightlion's motion to dismiss Count X of the complaint. However, the Court will DENY Freightlion's motion to dismiss Plaintiffs' claims for punitive damages.

II. Jurisdiction

The Court has diversity jurisdiction over this matter pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a). Venue is proper under 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b)(2) because a substantial portion of the events giving rise to the claims occurred in the Western District of Pennsylvania.

III. Background

This case involves personal injuries and property damage sustained when a tractor-trailer, owned by Plaintiff Kreilkamp Trucking, Inc. and driven by Plaintiff Eddie L. Courtney, Jr., collided with a tractor-trailer owned by Defendant Victor Motryuk and driven by Defendant Yuriy Ivanov. Plaintiffs allege the following facts in their complaint, which the Court accepts as true for the sole purpose of deciding the pending motion.

The Defendants in this case, including Freightlion, operated under certain contracts and agreements with one another to transport and deliver cargo. (ECF No. 1, Compl. ¶ ¶ 17-19). On August 2, 2012, Defendant Ivanov was driving a tractor-trailer on Interstate 80. ( Id. ¶ 22). Defendant Ivanov stopped the tractor-trailer in the West-bound, right-hand lane of Interstate 80, without warning and without activating any kind of signal device or light. ( Id. ¶ ¶ 24-25). Plaintiff Courtney, who was also driving his tractor-trailer in the West-bound, right-hand lane of Interstate 80, collided with the rear of Defendant Ivanov's tractor-trailer. ( Id. ¶ ¶ 21, 26). As a result of the collision, Plaintiff Courtney suffered personal injuries, and the tractor-trailer that he was driving sustained property damage. ( Id. ¶ ¶ 31-39). The complaint alleges that, at the time of the collision, Defendants Ivanov and Motryuk were agents or employees of Freightlion. ( Id. ¶ 29).

Plaintiffs filed an eleven-count complaint (ECF No. 1) against Defendants on September 27, 2013. Among other things, Plaintiffs assert a claim against Freightlion in Count X for damages under the Motor Carrier Act, 49 U.S.C. § § 10101 et seq.

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(" MCA" ), and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (" FMCSR" ). ( Id. ¶ ¶ 103-112). Plaintiffs also seek punitive damages against Freightlion in Counts III, IV, and X.

Freightlion has filed a motion for partial dismissal, asking the Court to dismiss both Count X of the complaint and Plaintiffs' claims for punitive damages against Freightlion. (ECF No. 7). The parties have fully briefed the Court ( see ECF Nos. 8, 12), and this matter is now ripe for adjudication.

IV. Standard of Review

Freightlion has moved to dismiss certain claims in Plaintiffs' complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6). The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require that a complaint contain " a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Rule 12(b)(6) allows a party to seek dismissal of a complaint or any portion of a complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Although the federal pleading standard has been " in the forefront of jurisprudence in recent years," the standard of ...


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