United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
MEMORANDUM ORDER RE: ECF NO. 19
MAUREEN P. KELLY, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Raymond Coll and Deborah Coll, his wife, initiated this
personal injury action against Defendant CSX Transportation,
Inc. ("CSX"), alleging that Mr. Coll sustained
serious and permanent injuries as a result of CSX's
negligent and reckless conduct, in causing a collision
between Mr. Coil's vehicle and an oncoming train. ECF No.
before the Court is CSX's Motion to Dismiss Requests for
Punitive Damages. ECF No. 19. For the reasons that follow,
the Motion to Dismiss will be denied without prejudice.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
14, 2018, Raymond Coll was performing weed control services
on CSX railroads in the course of his employment with DBI
Services, LLC. ECF No. 4 ¶¶ 13, 37. To perform his
job, Coll was required to enter CSX railroads using a Hi-Rail
vehicle, a truck equipped with a gear that allows a vehicle
to ride on railroad tracks as necessary. Id.
assigned one of its employees to act as a "Pilot"
to escort Coll onto its property. CSX was in radio contact
with its Pilot and stated that the portion of the railroad to
be used by Coll was clear for him to perform weed control
activities, under the escort of the Pilot.
alleges that without warning or instruction to do so, the
Pilot lowered the rail gear before the Hi-Rail was in a safe
and proper position. Coll exited the vehicle to investigate,
but heard the horn of an approaching train. Coll took refuge
in the Hi-Rail vehicle, but could not move the vehicle out of
danger because of the Pilot's actions. The oncoming train
struck the Hi-Rail vehicle, and Coll sustained serious and
permanent injuries, leaving him disabled.
alleges that CSX is vicariously liable for the conduct of its
Pilot who was negligent and reckless in, inter alia,
positioning the Hi-Rail vehicle across adjacent track,
placing Coll in danger, and failing to warn Coll of the
presence of an approaching train. Id. ¶46. Coll
further alleges that CSX was negligent in failing to alert
its Pilot of the approaching train, failing to provide
appropriate training to its Pilot to ensure Plaintiffs
safety, violating certain federal regulations regarding
safety of personnel on its property and, in so doing,
intentionally and wantonly disregarded safety measures that a
prudent company would take to prevent injury or harm.
Id. ¶¶ 51-53.
contends that the allegations set forth in the Amended
Complaint are insufficient to state a claim for punitive
damages and, accordingly, has filed the instant Motion to
STANDARD OF REVIEW
assessing the sufficiency of the complaint pursuant to a
motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6), the Court must accept as true all material
allegations in the complaint and all reasonable factual
inferences must be viewed in the light most favorable to the
plaintiff Odd v. Malone. 538 F.3d 202, 205 (3d Cir.
2008). While a complaint does not need detailed factual
allegations to survive the motion to dismiss, a complaint
must provide more than labels and conclusions. Bell
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). A
"formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of
action will not do." Id. (citing Papasan v.
Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986)). "Factual
allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above
the speculative level" and sufficient "to state a
claim to relief that is plausible on its face."
Twombly 550 U.S. at 555, 570.
plausibility standard is not akin to a 'probability
requirement,' but it asks for more than a sheer
possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.... Where a
complaint pleads facts that are 'merely consistent
with' a defendant's liability, it 'stops short of
the line between possibility and plausibility of
'entitlement to relief" Ashcroft v. Iqbal.
556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Twombly 550 U.S.
other words, at the motion to dismiss stage, a plaintiff is
required to make "a showing' rather than a blanket
assertion of an entitlement to relief." Phillips v.
County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 232 (3d Cir. 2008).
"This 'does not impose a probability requirement at
the pleading stage,' but instead 'simply calls for
enough facts to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery
will reveal evidence of the necessary element.'"
Id. at 234, quoting Twombly 550 U.S. at 556
determine the sufficiency of a complaint, "a court...
must take three steps," that include (1) taking note of
the elements a plaintiff must plead to state a claim; (2)
identifying allegations that are merely legal conclusions
"because they ... are not entitled to the assumption of
truth;" and (3) assuming the veracity of all
well-pleaded factual allegations and determining
"whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement to
relief." Connelly v. Lane Constr. Corp., 809
F.3d 780, 787 (3d Cir. 2016) (quoting Iqbal. 556
U.S. at 675, 679). If the court finds, even after construing
the complaint in the light most favorable to the ...