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Gregg v. Lonestar Transportation, LLC

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

March 6, 2015

JOAN F. GREGG, Executrix of the Estate of DONALD J. GREGG, SR., Deceased, Plaintiff,
v.
LONESTAR TRANSPORTATION, LLC, a Texas limited liability company, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

KIM R. GIBSON, District Judge.

1. INTRODUCTION

This matter comes before the Court upon consideration of Defendant's motion for more definite statement and for partial dismissal of complaint (ECF No. 3). For the reasons that follow, the Court will grant in part and deny in part Defendant's motion.

2. BACKGROUND

a. Procedural background

Plaintiff, Joan F. Gregg, Executrix of the Estate of Donald J. Gregg, Sr., initially filed a Complaint against Defendant LoneStar Transportation, LLC, in the Court of Common Pleas of Cambria County, Pennsylvania, at No. 2014-885. (ECF No.1 at 1). The action was removed from the Court of Common Pleas to this Court pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1441 et seq. (Id. at 2).

b. Factual background

The Complaint asserts that Donald J. Gregg ("Gregg") was operating a 1998 Peterbilt truck in a proper and prudent manner on August 29, 2013, at approximately 7:20 a.m. (ECF No. 1-2 at 2). Gregg was travelling in a westerly direction on SR 422 near the SR 219 North Exit ramp, in Cambria Township, Cambria County, PA. (Id. ).

At the same place and time, John Edwards ("Edwards"), a properly authorized agent and/or employee of LoneStar, was operating a 2007 Peterbilt truck with a trailer attached thereto, which was transporting a windtower blade. (Id.)The Complaint alleges that at all times relevant thereto, Edwards was acting within the scope and course of his employment duties for LoneStar, and was acting in furtherance of LoneStar's business activity of transporting the windtower blade for profit. (Id.). The Complaint further alleges that at that place and time, Charlie E. Johns ("Johns"), a properly authorized agent and/or employee of LoneStar, was operating a Red Dodge Ram Model 1500 pickup truck, which acted as an escort vehicle for the LoneStar truck and windtower blade. (Id. at 3). The Complaint asserts that Johns was acting within the scope and course of his employment duties for LoneStar, and was acting in furtherance of LoneStar's business activity of transporting the windtower blade for profit. (Id. ).

Plaintiff asserts that LoneStar, acting through its duly authorized employees and/or agents who were acting in the scope and course of their employment duties for LoneStar, negligently, carelessly, and/or recklecssly operated LoneStar's truck from SR 219 South Exit Ramp onto the section of SR 422 that is located under the SR 219 overpass/bridge, blocking all four lanes of traffic for several minutes, at a time when extremely dense fog had settled under the bridge. (Id.). Plaintiff alleges that the windtower blade being transported by the LoneStar truck was virtually impossible to see for drivers travelling westbound on SR 422 because of its white color and the extremely dense fog that had settled in the area of the bridge. (Id. at 3-4).

The Complaint alleges that Gregg encountered the dangerous condition caused by the LoneStar truck as a direct and proximate result of the conduct of LoneStar, acting through its duly authorized employees and/or agents who were acting in the scope and course of their employment duties for LoneStar. (Id. at 7). Gregg was subjected to and/or faced with a sudden emergency, forcing Gregg to attempt to avoid a collision with the LoneStar truck blocking all four lanes of traffic and both berms. (Id. at 7-8). As a result, Gregg lost control of his truck and collided and/or impacted the bridge embankment/abutment. (Id. at 8). The Complaint states that Gregg was killed and his widow and children suffered and/or sustained other damages. (Id. at 8).

Plaintiff brings a wrongful death action pursuant to 42 Pa. C.S.A. § 8301 at Count I of the Complaint. (ECF No. 1-2 at 2). Plaintiff alleges that LoneStar violated the mandates of 67 Pa. Code § 179.1 et seq., including, but not limited to 67 Pa. Code § 179.10(6)(ii). (Id. at 8). The Complaint alleges that LoneStar's violation of 67 Pa. Code 179.10(6)(ii) was the direct and proximate cause of the collision, and the resulting injuries, death and other damages. (Id. at 11).

Plaintiff brings a survival action pursuant to 42 Pa. C.S.A. § 8302 at Count II of the Complaint, on the basis that Gregg suffered serious personal injuries as a result of the collision, suffered a pecuniary loss resulting from his inability to deliver the load of shale and other deliveries he was scheduled to make on August 20, 2013, and suffered pecuniary loss in the amount of the damage sustained to his truck. (Id. at 14-15).

Count III of the Complaint alleges that the conduct of LoneStar, acting through its duly authorized employees and/or agents who were acting in the scope and course of their employment duties for LoneStar, was intentional, willful, outrageous, reckless and deliberately indifferent to the health, safety and welfare of motorists travelling westbound on SR 422. (Id. at 16). Plaintiff asks for punitive damages based on LoneStar's alleged outrageous conduct in operating the LoneStar truck that measured approximately 160 feet in length from a place of safety on the South exit ramps of SR 219 into a place where an extremely dangerous condition was created by the truck. (Id. at 16-17). Plaintiff finally asserts that LoneStar engaged ...


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