United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Northern Division
BRAMLETTE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on Defendants, Roger's
Trucking, Inc. (“Roger's Trucking”) and Tammy
Nady (“Nady”)'s Motion for Judgment on the
Pleadings (Doc. 33); Plaintiff Kalvin Evans
(“Evans”)'s Response (Doc. 39); and
Defendants Roger's Trucking and Nady's Reply (Doc.
40). Having considered the motion, the response, memorandum
in support, and applicable statutory and case law, and being
otherwise fully informed in the premises, the Court GRANTS
Roger's Trucking and Nady's Motion for Judgment on
the Pleadings (Doc. 33).
case arises from a vehicular accident that occurred on or
about October 4, 2018. Plaintiff Evans was traveling north on
Terry Road while, at the same time, Defendant Nady was
traveling east bound on Highway 80. Evans alleges that Nady
failed to yield the right of way and caused a collision
between the two vehicles.
filed a complaint in state court, alleging multiple theories
of liability as to Defendant Nady and Defendant Roger's
Trucking. After removing the case, Defendants filed a motion
to dismiss all of Plaintiff's independent tort claims
against Roger's Trucking and the Plaintiff's claim
for punitive damages against Nady.
have admitted that Nady's simple negligence caused the
collision and that Roger's Trucking is vicariously
liable. However, Plaintiff Evans brings other claims of
general negligence and negligent entrustment against
Roger's as well as a punitive damage claim against
Roger's and Nady. Defendants have filed a Motion for
Judgment on the Pleadings, asserting that there is no factual
basis for the allegations to support any of the
Plaintiff's remaining claims. Doc. 40.
12(c) motions are judged by the same standards as a Rule
12(b)(6) motion. See Bass v. Hirschbach Motor Lines,
Inc., No. 3:14-cv-360-TSL-JCG, 2014 WL 5107594, *2
(S.D.Miss. Oct. 10, 2014)(citing In re Great Lakes Dredge
& Dock Co., 624 F.3d 201, 209 (5th Cir. 2010)).
Therefore, to survive a Rule 12(c) motion to dismiss, a
plaintiff must plead enough facts to state a claim to relief
that is plausible on its face. See Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 566 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). The factual allegations
must be enough to “raise a right to relief above the
speculative level, on the assumption that all the allegations
in the complaint are true.” Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). When evaluating a
motion to dismiss, the court must accept all well-pleaded
facts as true and view the facts in the light most favorable
to the plaintiff. See Great Lakes, 624 F.3d at 210.
argue that the Plaintiff's Complaint fails to assert a
factual basis for the claims of general negligence, negligent
entrustment, and punitive damages. In his Complaint, the
Plaintiff alleges that Roger's Trucking: failed to
properly train Nady; failed to develop and maintain a fleet
management program; violated state and federal laws and
regulations as to the operation of a commercial vehicle;
failed to develop, implement, and/or enforce reasonable and
prudent safety policies for the protection and safety of the
public; failed to adhere to and abide by federal and state
laws and regulations in regard to the maximum number of
driving hours and hours of work for drivers; and failed to
perform an adequate pre-employment background check before
hiring Nady. Doc. 1-1.
Negligence Claims/Negligent Entrustment
courts have “consistently dismissed independent
negligence claims against an employer who admits vicarious
liability for an employee's actions.” See
Roberts v. Ecuanic Exp., Inc., No.
2:12-cv-84-KS-MTP, 2012 WL 3052838, *2 (S.D.Miss. July 25,
2012). Courts dismiss independent claims against employers
because evidence pertaining “to issues of negligent
hiring, entrustment, supervision, or maintenance becomes
superfluous and possibly unfairly prejudicial” after an
employer has admitted vicarious liability. “Proof of
negligent entrustment or the like… is unnecessary and
duplicitous at best, and at worst, could provide unduly
prejudicial evidence that is ultimately irrelevant.”
Welch v. Loftus, 776 F.Supp.2d 222, 225 (S.D.Miss.
2011). It is “unnecessary for a plaintiff to present
evidence of negligent entrustment, or for that matter
negligent hiring or training, where the defendant employer
admits vicarious liability.” Curd v. Western
Express, Inc., Civ. Nos. 1:09-cv-610-LG-RHW,
1:09-cv-774-LG-RHW, 2010 WL 4537936, *2 (S.D.Miss. Nov. 2,
as Roger's Trucking has admitted it is liable and that
Nady acted in the course and scope of her employment at all
relevant times, the independent negligence claims against
Roger's Trucking are “superfluous and possibly
unfairly prejudicial.” As such, the independent
negligence claims against Roger's Trucking should be
dismissed. The Plaintiff failed to address this argument in
his Response to Defendants Motion for Judgment on the
Pleadings, but, in fact quoted case law that supports the
argument for dismissing the general negligence claims against