Dortch et al v. Webb et al

Filing 14

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER that Defendant Enterprise Rent-A-Car's 2 Motion to Dismiss is GRANTED and that Plaintiffs' action against Enterprise Rent-A-Car is DISMISSED with prejudice. Signed by Honorable William Keith Watkins on 7/9/2009. (Attachments: # 1 Civil Appeals Checklist)(cc, )

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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT F O R THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF ALABAMA N O R T H E R N DIVISION C U R D Y DORTCH, SR., et al., P la in tif f s , v. E N T E R P R IS E RENT-A-CAR COMPANY, et al., D e f e n d a n ts. ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) C A S E NO. 3:09-CV-283-WKW[WO] M E M O R A N D U M OPINION AND ORDER B e f o re the court is Defendant Enterprise Rent-A-Car's Motion to Dismiss (Doc. # 2), f ile d pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Plaintiffs did not file a response to the motion within the court-imposed deadline (Doc. # 6). For the reasons to f o llo w , the motion is due to be granted. I. JURISDICTION AND VENUE J u ris d ic tio n over this action is proper pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1332 (diversity) and 28 U .S .C . 1441(a) (removal jurisdiction). There is complete diversity, and the Complaint e x p re s s ly seeks more than the jurisdictional amount. The parties do not contest personal ju ris d ic tio n or venue, and the court finds adequate allegations in support of both personal ju ris d ic tio n and venue. II. STANDARD OF REVIEW " T o survive a [Rule 12(b)(6)] motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient f a c tu a l matter, accepted as true, to `state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949 (May 19, 2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 5 5 0 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). Hence, while the complaint need not set out "detailed factual a lle g a tio n s ," Bell Atl. Corp., 550 U.S. at 555, it must provide factual amplification sufficient " to raise a right to relief above the speculative level," id. I I I . RELEVANT FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY On December 30, 2006, Plaintiff Dortch and his passenger were in a motor vehicle tra v e lin g northbound on Interstate 85. (Compl. 4 (Doc. # 3-4, Ex. C).) The Complaint a lle g e s that Mr. Webb "crossed the broken painted line while trying to pick up his cell phone a n d collided with the vehicle operated by [Mr.] Dortch," causing Mr. Dortch and his p a s s e n g e r to suffer severe injuries. (Compl. 4.) As a result of Mr. Webb's negligence, Mr. D o rtc h claims that he is "entitled to recover damages in the amount of $500,000." (Compl. 6.) Mr. Dortch's passenger also allegedly suffered injures "for which she is entitled to re c o v e r damages in the amount of $500,000.00." (Compl. 7.) Mr. Dortch and his p a s s e n g e r each ask for "judgment against [Mr.] Webb, in the amount of $500,000 for c o m p e n s a to ry damages, and medical bills." (Compl. 4.) T h is action originally was filed in state court, but was removed to this court on April 3 , 2009, based upon diversity jurisdiction. On April 6, 2009, Enterprise Rent-A-Car filed a M o tio n to Dismiss. (Mot. (Doc. # 2).) An Order subsequently was entered (Doc. # 6), d ire c tin g Plaintiffs to file a response to the motion on or before May 15, 2009. No response h a s been filed to date. 2 IV. DISCUSSION In this diversity negligence action involving a motor vehicle collision, Enterprise R e n t-A -C a r has moved to dismiss any claims asserted against it for failure to state a claim. (Mot. 1); see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). As grounds for its motion, Enterprise Rent-AC a r correctly says that the only mention of it in the Complaint is in the third paragraph, d e s c rib in g "Enterprise Rent-A-Car" as "a Missouri Corporation that can be reached for s e rv ic e in St. Louis, Missouri." (Compl. 3.) Because the Complaint "does not even assert a n yth in g that Enterprise Rent-A-Car Company did or did not do to contribute to this a c c id e n t," Enterprise Rent-A-Car says that Plaintiffs have "not asserted any claim of any n a tu re whatsoever against this Defendant." (Mot. 4.) T h e sole claim asserted in the Complaint is for the negligence,1 but that claim is p r e m is e d only upon the negligence of Mr. Webb in allegedly causing the motor vehicle c o llis io n and Plaintiffs' injuries. No allegations of negligence are made against Enterprise R e n t-A -C a r. There are absolutely no facts pertaining to Enterprise Rent-A-Car in the body o f the Complaint, and definitively none alleging any involvement by Enterprise Rent-A-Car in the wrongdoing attributed to Mr. Webb. Additionally, as pointed out by Enterprise RentA -C a r, no judgment is sought against Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Rather, the Complaint seeks o n ly a "judgment against [Mr.] Webb[.]" (Compl. 4.) Because the complaint is devoid of The elements of negligence are "(1) that the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty; (2) that the defendant breached that duty; (3) that the plaintiff suffered a loss or injury; and (4) that the defendant's breach was the actual and proximate cause of the plaintiff's loss or injury." DiBiasi v. Joe Wheeler Elec. Membership Corp., 988 So. 2d 454, 460 (Ala. 2008). 1 3 any factual matter pertaining to Enterprise Rent-A-Car, it necessarily follows that the C o m p la in t does not "contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to `state a claim to re lie f that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft, 129 S. Ct. at 1949 (quoting Bell Atl. Corp., 550 U .S . at 570). Any attempt to ascertain Plaintiffs' alleged right to relief against Enterprise R e n t- A - C a r would require total speculation. See Bell Atl. Corp., 550 U.S. at 555 (The c o m p la in t must provide factual amplification sufficient "to raise a right to relief above the s p e c u la tiv e level[.]"). For the foregoing reasons, the motion to dismiss is due to be granted. V . CONCLUSION F o r the foregoing reasons, it is ORDERED that Defendant Enterprise Rent-A-Car's M o tio n to Dismiss (Doc. # 2) is GRANTED and that Plaintiffs' action against Enterprise R e n t-A -C a r is DISMISSED with prejudice. DONE this 9th day of July, 2009. /s/ W. Keith Watkins UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 4

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