Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Fenner v. Hannah

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

March 22, 2017

TARRELL DONTEE FENNER, Plaintiff
v.
VILEE HANNAH, et. al. Defendants

          MEMORANDUM

          MALACHY E. MANNION United States District Judge.

         In this motor vehicle accident case, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiff's claims for punitive damages pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. Rule 12(b)(6), and a motion for a more definite statement pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. Rule 12(e). (Doc. 15). The parties filed a stipulation agreeing to the dismissal of the plaintiff's claims for punitive damages. As such, the defendants' motion to dismiss the punitive damages claims shall be denied as moot. The defendants' motion for a more definite statement regarding plaintiff's amended complaint, (Doc. 10), is presently pending before the court.

         I. BACKGROUND

         This case arises out of a motor vehicle accident on June 22, 2015 in the parking lot of the Pilot Travel Center truck stop located on Route 315 in Pittston Township, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. The plaintiff, Tarrell Dontee Fenner, was sitting in his parked tractor trailer, which was owned by Bekins A-1 Movers, Inc., when the defendant, Vilee Hannah, drove his tractor trailer into the rear of plaintiff's tractor trailer while trying to exit the truck stop. Hannah was working for defendant Western Express, Inc. (“Western Express”) at the time of the incident and his tractor trailer was owned by Western Express. The plaintiff alleges that he suffered various physical and mental injuries from the accident that are permanent and require ongoing treatment. He also alleges that he has sustained damages due to the defendants' negligence, including medical expenses and loss of earning.

         II. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         This case was commenced on December 14, 2015, when the plaintiff filed a complaint, through counsel, against defendants Hanna and Western Express. (Doc. 1). On February 4, 2016, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiff's claims for punitive damages pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. Rule 12(b)(6). (Doc. 6). The defendants filed their brief in support. (Doc. 9). In response, the plaintiff filed an amended complaint on February 22, 2016. (Doc. 10). Thus, the court dismissed without prejudice the defendants' partial motion to dismiss the original complaint. (Doc. 11).

         On March 7, 2016, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiff's claims in his amended complaint for punitive damages pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. Rule 12(b)(6), and a motion for a more definite statement pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. Rule 12(e). (Doc. 15). The defendants attached a copy of the Pittston Township police report from the accident. (Doc. 15-2). The defendants filed their brief in support on March 18, 2016. (Doc. 18). On June 9, 2016, both counsel filed a stipulation to amend plaintiff's amended complaint. (Doc. 20). The parties stipulated that plaintiff's claims for punitive damages contained in Counts 3 and 4 of the amended complaint, (Doc. 10), should be dismissed without prejudice. (Doc. 20). The parties also stipulated that the plaintiff's allegations of “gross, ” “wanton” and/or “reckless conduct” throughout the amended complaint should be stricken without prejudice. On June 9, 2016, the court approved of the stipulation. (Doc. 21).

         As such, the defendants' motion to dismiss the punitive damages claims shall be denied as moot. The defendants' motion for a more definite statement with respect to the amended complaint is still pending before the court. To date, the plaintiff has not filed his brief in opposition to the defendants' motion for a more definite statement and the time within which his brief was due has expired.[1]

         The amended complaint alleges four claims. Counts One and Two assert causes of action against Hannah and Western Express, respectively, for negligence. In count Two, the plaintiff alleges that Hannah was Western Express' employee and acting within the scope of his employment at the time of the accident. “A claim of vicarious liability against a principal is indivisible and inseparable from the claim against the agent because the claim is based on one indivisible act of wrongdoing for which both the principal and the agent are liable.” Maloney v. Valley Medical Facilities, Inc., Under a theory of vicarious liability, it is as if Western Express was operating the vehicle and can be held liable for the actions of its employee. See Seamans v. Tramontana, 2013 WL 5728670 (M.D.Pa. Oct. 22, 2013). Counts Three and Four asserted claims for punitive damages against each defendant. However, as stated, the claims for punitive damages have been dismissed without prejudice.

         This court's jurisdiction is based on diversity under 28 U.S.C. §1332(a).

         III. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         The defendants' motion for a more definite statement is brought pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. Rule 12(e). Rule 12(e) allows the court to order a more definite statement when the pleading is “so vague or ambiguous that the opposing party cannot respond, even with a simple denial, without prejudice to itself.” Pozarlink v. Comelback Assoicates, Inc., 2012 WL 760582, *2 (M.D.Pa. March 8, 2012)(citations omitted).

         IV. DISCUSSION

         A. Rule 12(e)Motion for a More ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.