United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
Civil Action arises from injuries Plaintiffs Elliott and
Estrelita Miranda allegedly suffered as a result of boxes of
pineapples falling on Plaintiff Elliott Miranda as he
unloaded them from a container in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Plaintiffs filed an Amended Complaint, (ECF 64, “Am.
Compl.”), against Defendants C.H. Robinson Company,
C.H. Robinson Company, Inc., C.H. Robinson International,
Inc., C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc. (collectively “C.H.
Robinson”), Isabella Shipping Co., Ltd.
(“Isabella”),  Upala Agricola, S.A.
(“Upala”), and Transportes Grant, S.A.
(“Transportes”), alleging five Counts against all
1. Count I: Negligence under Pennsylvania
2. Count II: Maritime and Admiralty
3. Count III: Strict Liability under
Pennsylvania State Law;
4. Count IV: Negligence of Vessel under 33
U.S.C. § 905(b) of the Longshore and Harbor Workers'
Compensation Act (the “Longshore Act”); and
5. Count V: Loss of Consortium under
Pennsylvania State Law.
(Am. Compl. ¶¶ 173-210.)
this Court is Upala's Motion to Dismiss under Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2) and 12(b)(6), (ECF 70,
“Def. Upala MtD”), as well as C.H. Robinson's
Partial Motion to Dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6), (ECF 77, “Def. C.H. Robinson
MtD.”) Upala contends that this Court cannot assert
personal jurisdiction over it. Both Upala and C.H. Robinson
(the “Moving Defendants”) contend that Plaintiffs
fail to state a strict liability claim under Pennsylvania
law, or a negligence of vessel claim under the Longshore Act.
Plaintiffs concede their claims under the Longshore Act must
be dismissed, but otherwise oppose dismissal of their Amended
Complaint. For the reasons stated below, Upala and C.H.
Robinson's Motions to Dismiss will be granted as to
Plaintiffs' claim under the Longshore Act, but will
otherwise be denied.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
from Plaintiffs' Amended Complaint and the jurisdictional
discovery, the factual background is as follows. C.H.
Robinson and Upala have an ongoing agreement to ship
Upala's pineapples to C.H. Robinson in the United States.
(Am. Compl. ¶ 25.) Under the agreement, Upala was to
deliver the pineapples involved in this case to Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania. (Am. Compl. ¶ 44; Pl.'s Resp. to Def.
C.H. Robinson MtD Ex. 8-9.)
“grow[s], harvest[s], processe[s], [and]
package[s]” pineapples at its farm in Costa Rica. (Am.
Compl. ¶ 27.) Pursuant to a purchase order made by C.H.
Robinson, Upala, “loaded, palletized, secured, and
stowed” 1500 boxes of pineapples into a shipping
container provided by Transportes on April 2, 2016. (Am.
Compl. ¶¶ 10, 21, 27-28; Pl.'s Resp. to Def.
C.H. Robinson MtD Ex. 9.) While the pineapples were being
loaded, a third-party hired by C.H. Robinson inspected the
pineapples and the shipping container. (Am. Compl.
days later, Transportes drove the container filled with
pineapples to a shipping port in Puerto Limon, Costa Rica,
where the container was placed onto a ship destined for
Philadelphia. (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 26, 29-30, 34.) The
shipment left Costa Rica, and arrived in Philadelphia on
April 12, 2016. (Am. Compl. ¶ 149.) The bill of lading
associated with the shipment listed Upala as the exporter and
shipper, and C.H. Robinson as the consignee. (Am. Compl. Ex.
April 13, 2016, Plaintiff Elliott Miranda, a
stevedore in Philadelphia, opened the shipping
container to inspect the pineapples. (Am. Compl. ¶¶
154-55.) As he did so, a number of the pineapples fell onto
him uncontrollably. (Am. Compl. ¶ 155.) The impact
caused multiple injuries, including a broken ankle that
required emergency surgery. (Am. Compl. ¶ 156.)
originally filed this Action in the Philadelphia Court of
Common Pleas on September 5, 2017. (ECF 1.) Defendants
removed the Action on February 6, 2018 to this Court, and
Plaintiffs filed an Amended Complaint on July 3, 2019. (ECF
1, 64, 67.) Upala moved to dismiss the entire Amended
Complaint, and C.H. Robinson moved to dismiss two of the
Amended Complaint's five counts. (ECF 70, 77.) Plaintiffs
filed Responses in Opposition to both Motions to Dismiss.
(ECF 103, 110, 116.) Moving Defendants each filed a reply.
(ECF 118, 119.) The Court held oral argument on the Motions
to Dismiss on October 25, 2019. ...