Mann et al v. Redman Van & Storage Co., Inc. et al
ORDER denying 28 Motion to Strike ; adopting Findings and Recommendations re 41 Findings and Recommendations; and denying 25 Motion for Summary Judgment. Signed by Judge Donald W. Molloy on 11/15/2011. (dle)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF MONTANA
DAVID K. MANN, individually;
ELIZABETH S. MANN; DELANEY
MANN; and M.H.M., MINOR CHILD,
BY AND THROUGH HER FATHER
AND NEXT FRIEND, DAVID K.
REDMAN VAN & STORAGE CO.,
INC.; and ROWDY B. ANDERSON,
Defendants have filed several pretrial motions, including a motion for
summary judgment and a motion to strike. United States Magistrate Judge
Jeremiah Lynch entered Findings and Recommendation on October 17, 2011, and
recommended denying both Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment on
Plaintiffs’ Direct Negligence Claims Against Redman Van and Storage Co., Inc.
and Defendants’ Motion to Strike Plaintiffs’ Punitive Damage Claims. Defendants
did not timely object to the Findings and Recommendation, and so have waived
the right to de novo review of the record. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). This Court will
review the Findings and Recommendation for clear error. McDonnell Douglas
Corp. v. Commodore Bus. Mach., Inc., 656 F.2d 1309, 1313 (9th Cir. 1981).
Clear error exists if the Court is left with a “definite and firm conviction that a
mistake has been committed.” United States v. Syrax, 235 F.3d 422, 427 (9th Cir.
Judge Lynch concluded that Plaintiffs asserted a valid claim for punitive
damages. Plaintiffs presented sufficient evidence upon which a reasonable trier of
fact might conclude that Defendant Redman Van & Storage Co., Inc. was guilty of
actual malice in hiring, training, and supervising Defendant Rowdy Anderson.
Judge Lynch thus recommended that this Court deny Defendants’ motion to strike
the claim for punitive damages.
Defendants also moved for summary judgment on Plaintiffs’ direct
negligence claims against Redman on the ground that Redman has accepted
vicarious liability for any negligence on Anderson’s part. However, where a
plaintiff asserts a valid claim for punitive damages, negligence claims against an
employer are not merely duplicative of vicarious liability claims. Accordingly,
Judge Lynch recommended that this Court deny Defendants’ summary judgment
motion as well.
After reviewing Judge Lynch’s Findings and Recommendation, I find no
clear error. Therefore,
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Judge Lynch’s Findings and
Recommendation (dkt #41) are adopted in full. Defendants’ Motion for Summary
Judgment (dkt #25), and Defendants’ Motion to Strike (dkt #28) are DENIED.
Dated this 15th day of November, 2011.
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