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Smith v. EAN Holdings, LLC

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

August 29, 2019

JESSICA E. SMITH and CHRISTOPHER S. SMITH, Plaintiffs,
v.
EAN HOLDINGS, LLC and GREGORY J. POCKL, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          KIM R. GIBSON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. Introduction

         Before the Court is Defendant EAN Holdings, LLC's ("EAN") Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim. (ECF No. 3.) This Motion is fully briefed (see ECF Nos. 4, 8) and is ripe for decision. For the following reasons, the Court will GRANT Defendant's Motion and dismiss Count III of Plaintiffs' Complaint with prejudice and Counts II and IV without prejudice.

         II. Background

         The following facts appear in Plaintiff's Complaint. (ECF No. 1-2.) The Court accepts these facts as true for purposes of deciding the instant Motion to Dismiss.

         Plaintiffs Jessica E. Smith and Christopher S. Smith (collectively "Plaintiffs") are wife and husband residing in Wells Tannery, Pennsylvania. (ECF No. 1-2 ¶ 1.) Plaintiffs allege that EAN negligently entrusted a rental car to Defendant Gregory J. Pockl, who caused a collision with Mrs. Smith while driving in Breezewood, Pennsylvania. (Id. ¶¶ 4-11, 14-16.)

         On September 18, 2017, Mrs. Smith was driving a 2015 Chevrolet Silverado, heading west on Route 30 in Breezewood, Pennsylvania. (Id. ¶¶ 4, 7.) While Mrs. Smith was driving on Route 30, Pockl, driving a 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee he had rented from EAN, pulled out of the Gateway Travel Plaza and attempted to cross the westbound lanes of traffic in front of Mrs. Smith in order to head east on Route 30. (Id. ¶¶ 6, 7, 15.) As Pockl pulled out of the travel plaza, he collided with Mrs. Smith's car, which was in the westbound traffic lanes. (Id. ¶¶ 6-8.) As a result of the collision, Mrs. Smith suffered serious injuries. (Id. ¶¶ 9-10.)

         Plaintiffs allege that Pockl was driving negligently when he exited the travel plaza and that his negligence caused the collision. (Id. ¶¶ 11-13.) Plaintiffs also allege that EAN, in allowing Pockl to rent the Jeep Grand Cherokee, negligently entrusted the car to a driver who would operate the vehicle in an unsafe manner. (Id. ¶¶ 14-16.)

         Plaintiffs initially filed this case in the Court of Common Pleas of Bedford County, Pennsylvania on April 26, 2019. (ECF No. 1.) Pockl received service via certified mail on May 2, 2019, and EAN received service in the same manner on May 3, 2019. (Id.) Defendants EAN and Pockl timely removed the case to this Court on May 29, 2019. (Id.) Plaintiffs' Complaint contains four counts. (Id. ¶¶ 12-21.) Plaintiffs allege that Pockl was negligent in operating the vehicle that he rented from EAN. (Id. ¶¶ 11-13.) Plaintiffs also allege that EAN negligently entrusted the vehicle to Pockl. (Id. ¶¶ 14-16.) Finally, Plaintiffs allege a count of joint and several liability against both EAN and Pockl (Id. ¶¶ 17-18.) Mr. Smith also alleges a count of loss of consortium against both EAN and Pockl. (Id. ¶¶ 21-22.)

         EAN filed the instant Motion to Dismiss on June 5, 2019. (ECF No. 3.)

         III. Jurisdiction and Venue

         The Court has jurisdiction over Plaintiffs' claims because the parties are diverse and the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000. 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Plaintiffs are both citizens of Pennsylvania. (ECF No. 1-2 ¶ 1.) Pockl is a citizen of Ohio. (Id. ¶ 2.) EAN is a Delaware Limited Liability Company whose sole member[1] is Enterprise Holdings, Inc., a Missouri corporation with its principal place of business in Missouri. (ECF No. 1-2 ¶ 3; ECF No. 20 ¶ 4.) EAN is accordingly a citizen of Missouri.

         Venue is proper because Bedford County, where Plaintiffs originally filed this case, lies within this District. See 28 U.S.C. § 1441.

         IV. ...


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