Cannon v. Sears Roebuck and Co et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION Signed by Judge William M Acker, Jr on 9/22/14. (SAC )
2014 Sep-22 PM 04:15
U.S. DISTRICT COURT
N.D. OF ALABAMA
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
SEARS ROEBUCK & CO., et al.,
CIVIL ACTION NO.
This case comes before the court on a motion to dismiss by
defendant Sears Roebuck and Co. and defendant Ortill, Inc. alleging
plaintiff fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted
for damages for mental anguish or emotional distress.
In Alabama, mental anguish damages “are subject to strict
scrutiny if the plaintiff ha[s] not suffered any physical injury,”
however where plaintiff suffers physical injuries, the “principle
. . . does not apply” and the degree of damages is left to the
discretion of the jury. Daniels v. E. Alabama Paving, Inc., 740 So.
2d 1033, 1044 (Ala. 1999). Further, while generally mental anguish
damages are not recoverable arising from breach of contract,
Alabama courts have excepted from this general rule recovery for
such damages arising under a breach of warranty theory of products
liability. Volkswagen of Am., Inc. v. Dillard, 579 So. 2d 1301,
1304 (Ala. 1991).
In this case, plaintiff alleges damages for emotional distress
and mental anguish under both a theory of physical, personal injury
emotional distress” after being “struck below the right eye by a
fragment of the hand held sledge hammer he was using.” (Doc. 1, Ex.
A at 2-3). For the purposes of a motion to dismiss for failure to
state a claim, the court accepts plaintiff’s well-pled facts as
true and draws all reasonable inferences in his favor. Am. United
Life Ins. Co. v. Martinez, 480 F.3d 1043, 1057 (11th Cir. 2007).
Therefore, plaintiff’s complaint contains factual allegation[s]
sufficient to plausibly suggest” a claim upon which recovery for
damages for emotional distress or mental anguish may be granted.
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 683 (2009). Defendants motion to
dismiss is DENIED.
DONE this 22 day of September, 2014.
WILLIAM M. ACKER, JR.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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