Steele v. Crook et al
ORDER granting 36 Defendant Graham L. Crook's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment. Plaintiff's claim for punitive damages is hereby DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE. Signed by Judge G. Thomas Eisele on 1/21/09. (jct)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS JONESBORO DIVISION CONNIE STEELE, as Mother and Next of Kin of Phillip T. Cameron, Deceased vs. CASE NO. 3:07-CV-00197 PLAINTIFF
GRAHAM L. CROOK, HERTZ RENTAL CAR LLC, HERTZ CORPORATION and AMERICAN FAMILY MUTUAL INSURANCE, as Uninsured Motorist Carrier
ORDER GRANTING PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT Before the Court is a Motion for Partial Summary Judgment filed by Defendant Graham L. Crook ("Crook"). The motion was filed on December 17, 2008. Plaintiff has failed to file a response or to make any request for an extension of time within which to respond. Accordingly, all the facts asserted in Crook's Statement of Undisputed Facts, (docket entry # 38), are accepted as true. Defendant Crook seeks the dismissal of Plaintiff's claim for punitive damages as a matter of law. For cause, Crook asserts that while Plaintiff has presented evidence from which a jury could find that Crook negligently caused a vehicle he was operating to collide with a vehicle sitting on the side of the interstate, thereby causing the death of Phillip T. Cameron, Plaintiff has no evidence that would permit an award of punitive damages. Under Arkansas law, punitive damages are recoverable upon a finding of "willful, wanton, or malicious conduct." South County, Inc. v. First Western Loan Co., 315 Ark. 722, 871 S.W.2d 325 (1994). Negligence, however gross, will not support an award of punitive damages. Nat'l Bank of Commerce v. McNeill Trucking Co., Inc., 309 Ark. 80, 828 S.W.2d 584 (1992).
Plaintiff has made no effort to present any evidence of willful, wanton, or malicious conduct to support a claim for punitive damages. Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT Defendant Graham L. Crook's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (docket no. 36) be, and it is hereby, GRANTED. Plaintiff's claim for punitive damages is hereby DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE. IT IS SO ORDERED this 21st day of January, 2009. /s/ Garnett Thomas Eisele UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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