United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
NATIONAL SPECIALTY INSURANCE COMPANY, GEMINI INSURANCE COMPANY, JWB LOGISTICS CORP., TMD LOGISTICS CORP., and T.B. CHOYA EXPRESS, INC., Plaintiffs,
TUNKHANNOCK AUTO MART, INC., Defendant, Third-Party Plaintiff,
JESSE L. PREBOLA, THOMAS W. PUNKO, et al., Third-Party Defendants.
RICHARD CAPUTO UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before this Court is a Motion to Dismiss Defendant
Tunkhannock Auto Mart, Inc.'s (“TAM”)
Third-Party Complaint (Doc. 41) filed by Third-Party
Defendant Thomas W. Punko (“Punko”). Because TAM
is not owed contribution or indemnification at this time,
Punko's Motion to Dismiss will be granted.
seeks contribution or indemnification for any claim raised by
Plaintiffs National Specialty Insurance Company, Gemini
Insurance Company, JWB Logistics Corporation, TMD Logistics
Corporation, and T.B. Choya Express, Inc. (collectively
“Plaintiffs”) related to a car accident that
occurred on October 27, 2010.
October 27, 2010, Punko was driving a tractor trailer and was
making a delivery to TAM. Pursuant to his delivery
instructions, Punko was required to pull into TAM's
parking lot, turn around in the rear of the building, and
pull out of the parking lot in a forward facing position.
But, at the time of delivery, Punko was unable to pull into
TAM's lot because there was no room for his trailer. The
lot was filled with cars, orange cones, and concrete barriers
that Punko could not avoid. As such, Punko was forced to back
his tractor trailer into the lot in order to make the
delivery. While backing the trailer into the lot, Punko
blocked the center lane of State Route 29. Unfortunately, a
car traveling northbound on Route 29 struck the trailer and
was seriously injured.
the driver of the car that struck Punko's trailer filed a
tort action against various defendants, including Punko and
TAM. The action settled on April 16, 2013 for $6, 900, 000
and was paid for in its entirety by Plaintiffs. On February
2, 2016, Plaintiffs filed a complaint against TAM seeking
contribution for TAM's share of the $6, 900, 000
TAM's failure to have Plaintiff's contribution action
dismissed (Doc. 23), TAM filed a Third-Party Complaint (Doc.
37) against all parties in the original tort action that had
not contributed to the settlement. TAM claims that the
Third-Party Defendants must be joined in Plaintiffs' suit
because they are joint tortfeasors and thus must contribute
to the settlement. On June 12, 2017, Third-Party Defendant
Punko filed a motion to dismiss the Third-Party Complaint for
failure to state a claim pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6). This Motion has been fully briefed and is
ripe for review.
Motion to Dismiss
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) provides for the dismissal
of a complaint, in whole or in part, for failure to state a
claim upon which relief can be granted. See Fed. R.
Civ. P. 12(b)(6). “Under the ‘notice
pleading' standard embodied in Rule 8 of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure, a plaintiff must come forward with
‘a short and plain statement of the claim showing that
the pleader is entitled to relief.'” Thompson
v. Real Estate Mortg. Network, 748 F.3d 142, 147 (3d
Cir. 2014) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)).
resolving a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, “a court must
consider no more than whether the complaint establishes
‘enough facts to raise a reasonable expectation that
discovery will reveal evidence of the necessary elements'
of the cause of action.” Trzaska v. L'Oreal
USA, Inc., 865 F.3d 155, 162 (3d Cir. 2017) (quoting
Connelly v. Lane Constr. Corp., 809 F.3d 780, 789
(3d Cir. 2016)). In reviewing the sufficiency of a complaint,
a court must take three steps: (1) identify the elements of
the claim; (2) identify conclusions that are not entitled to
the assumption of truth; and (3) assume the veracity of the
well-pleaded factual allegations and determine whether they
plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief. See
Connelly, 809 F.3d at 787 (citations omitted). “To
survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain
sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state
a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct.
1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009) (q uoting Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d