Walls et al v. Action Resources Inc et al (PLR1)
MEMORANDUM OPINION in support of the following Judgment, dismissing case. Signed by District Judge Pamela L. Reeves on 7/31/18. (ADA)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF TENNESSEE
MARY WALLS, and MELISSA WALLS,
As next friend of JOSHUA D. DEFORD,
ACTION RESOURCES, INC., and
This lawsuit arises from a motor vehicle accident that occurred on March 11, 2016
in Bradley County, Tennessee. Defendants move to dismiss the Complaint on the grounds
plaintiffs filed the action outside the applicable statute of limitations. For the reasons that
follow, defendants’ motion is granted and this action dismissed.
Plaintiffs are residents of the State of Virginia. Defendant Michah Leavins is a
resident of the State of Florida. Defendant Action Resources is an Alabama corporation
with its principal place of business in Cullman County, Alabama. Plaintiffs allege that
Action was the owner of the commercial motor vehicle driven by Defendant Leavins that
was involved in the accident with the plaintiffs’ vehicle.
Plaintiffs filed their complaint on the basis of diversity jurisdiction in the Northern
District of Alabama, Eastern Division on June 1, 2017. On August 25, 2017, defendants
filed a motion to dismiss, or in the alternative, to transfer venue to the Eastern District of
Tennessee. On November 1, 2017, the Alabama court issued a Memorandum Opinion and
Order granting defendant’s motion to transfer venue, but did not address the motion to
dismiss on statute of limitations grounds. The case was transferred to this court from the
Northern District of Alabama on November 20, 2017.
Defendants’ filed the instant motion to dismiss based on expiration of the one-year
statute of limitations for personal injuries found in Tenn. Code Ann. § 28-3-104(a)(1).
II. Standard of Review
A motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, requires
the court to construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiffs, accept all
the complaint’s factual allegations as true, and determine whether the plaintiffs
undoubtedly can prove no set of facts in support of their claims that would entitle them to
relief. Meador v. Cabinet for Human Resources, 902 F.2d 474, 475 (6th Cir.) cert. denied,
498 U.S. 867 (1990). The court may not grant such a motion to dismiss based upon a
disbelief of a complaint’s factual allegations. Lawler v. Marshall, 898 F.2d 1196, 1198
(6th Cir. 1990); Miller v. Currie, 50 F.3d 373, 377 (6th Cir. 1995) (noting that courts should
not weigh evidence or evaluate the credibility of witnesses). The court must liberally
construe the complaint in favor of the party opposing the motion. Id. However, the
complaint must articulate more than a bare assertion of legal conclusions. Scheid v. Fanny
Farmer Candy Shops, Inc., 859 F.2d 434 (6th Cir. 1988). “[The] complaint must contain
either direct or inferential allegations respecting all the material elements to sustain a
recovery under some viable legal theory.” Id. (citations omitted).
Because the court is sitting in diversity, the court applies Tennessee choice of law
rules. English Mtn. Spring Water Co. Inc. v. AIDCO Int’l, Inc., 2008 WL 2278627 at *2
(E.D.Tenn. May 30, 2008). When a diversity case is transferred from another jurisdiction
under 28 U.S.C. § 1406(a), such as in this case, the transferee district court applies the
choice of law rules of the forum state. Martin v. Stokes, 623 F.2d 469, 472 (6th Cir. 1980)
(Following a transfer under § 1406, the transferee district court should apply its own state
law rather than the state law of the transferor district court). Therefore, because this action
was transferred to the Eastern District of Tennessee under § 1406, and because statutes of
limitation are considered procedural rules in Tennessee, the Tennessee statute of
limitations would apply. Elec. Power Bd. of Chattanooga v. Monsanto Co., 879 F.2d 1368,
1375 (6th Cir. 1989) (finding statutes of limitations are procedural rules and thus the statute
of limitation of the forum state (Tennessee) apply to claims brought by both Tennessee and
Alabama plaintiffs). Accordingly, the court finds that Tennessee law applies to determine
whether the statute of limitations has expired.
In Tennessee, actions for personal injury must be commenced within one year of
the date on which the action accrues. Tenn. Code Ann. § 28-3-104(a)(1). Here, the
accident occurred on March 11, 2016. Plaintiffs filed their Complaint on June 1, 2017,
more than one year after the accident occurred. Thus, the court finds plaintiffs’ claims are
Plaintiffs do not contend that their Complaint is timely under Tennessee law, but
instead argue that the case was erroneously transferred from the Northern District of
Alabama. Plaintiff’s argument is without merit. In an action for personal injury, the law
of the state where the injury occurred determines the rights and liabilities of the parties,
unless another state has a more significant relationship to the occurrence and the parties.
Hataway v. McKinley, 830 S.W.2d 53, 59 (Tenn. 1992). The accident occurred in Bradley
County, Tennessee, so Tennessee is the appropriate forum. Plaintiffs have not shown that
Alabama has a more significant relationship to the accident or the parties.
Because Plaintiffs filed their Complaint after the expiration of the statute of
limitations applicable to personal injury actions in the State of Tennessee, defendants’
motion to dismiss [R. 33] is GRANTED, and this action is DISMISSED, with prejudice.
_ _ _ _
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
UNITED STATES DISTRICT
A S S
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