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Grim v. Fedex Ground Package System, Inc.

United States District Court, D. New Mexico

May 30, 2019

JOHN GRIM, Plaintiff,
v.
FEDEX GROUND PACKAGE SYSTEM, INC., BOBBY RAMON, RAFTER J BAR ENTERPRISE, INC., CURRY ENTERPRISE, LLC, and BUDGET TRUCK RENTAL, LLC, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          MARTHA VÁZQUEZ United States District Judge

         THIS MATTER comes before the Court on Defendant Budget Truck Rental, LLC's Rule 12B6 Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Original Complaint [11]. The Court, having considered the motions, briefs, and relevant law, and being otherwise fully informed, finds that the Motion is well-taken and will be granted.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff John Grim commenced the instant action on January 8, 2019, to recover damages for personal injuries he sustained as a result of an incident that occurred on or about January 22, 2016, during which a vehicle driven by Defendant Bobby Ramon struck a vehicle driven by Plaintiff. Doc. 1 ¶¶ 11-12. At the time of the incident, Ramon was in the course and scope of his employment with Defendant Rafter J Bar, a subcontractor and agent for Defendant FEDEX Ground Package System, Inc. (“FEDEX”). Id. ¶ 13. The vehicle that Ramon was driving had been rented from Defendant Budget Truck Rental, LLC (“Budget”), at a location operated by Defendant Curry Enterprise, LLC (“Curry”). Id. ¶ 13.

         Plaintiff's Original Complaint (“Complaint”) contains two causes of action, one for negligence and one for vicarious liability. The negligence cause of action alleges that Ramon breached his duty of care. Id. ¶¶ 14-17. The vicarious liability cause of action alleges that Rafter J Bar and FEDEX are vicariously liable for the negligence of Ramon. Id. ¶¶ 18-22.

         Elsewhere, the Complaint indicates that it is Plaintiff's “intention to sue the entity or entities” that “owned, rented, controlled and/or were otherwise responsible for the vehicle driven by” Ramon, and “the entity or entities” that “own and/or operate the Budget Truck Rental facility” from which that vehicle was rented. Id. ¶ 7. The Complaint also states that “Plaintiff affirmatively pleads that all Defendants are jointly and severally liable for the damages sustained by Plaintiff in this case.”

         On February 18, 2019, Budget filed the instant motion to dismiss Plaintiff's claims against it for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Doc. 11. Plaintiff did not file a response.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         Under Rule 12(b)(6), a Court may dismiss a complaint for “failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). “The nature of a Rule 12(b)(6) motion tests the sufficiency of the allegations within the four corners of the complaint.” Mobley v. McCormick, 40 F.3d 337, 340 (10th Cir. 1994). When considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the Court must accept as true all well-pleaded factual allegations in the complaint, view those allegations in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, and draw all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor. Smith v. United States, 561 F.3d 1090, 1097 (10th Cir. 2009), cert. denied, 130 S.Ct. 1142 (2010).

         “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 (2009) (citations omitted). “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. “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.'” Id. (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 557 (2007)).

         The Court in Iqbal identified “two working principles” in the context of a motion to dismiss. Id. First, “the tenet that a court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in a complaint is inapplicable to legal conclusions. Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Id. Accordingly, Rule 8 “does not unlock the doors of discovery for a plaintiff armed with nothing more than conclusions.” Id. at 678-79. “Second, only a complaint that states a plausible claim for relief survives a motion to dismiss.” Id. at 679; see Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570 (holding that a plaintiff must “nudge” her claims “across the line from conceivable to plausible”). Accordingly, “where the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged - but it has not shown - that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Id. (citation omitted).

In keeping with these two principles, the Court explained,
a court considering a motion to dismiss can choose to begin by identifying pleadings that, because they are no more than conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of truth. When there are well-pleaded factual allegations, a court should assume their veracity and then determine ...

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