Hicks v. Performance Contracting Group, Inc. et al
ORDER AND MEMORANDUM: AECOM's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings (even if it is treated as a Motion for Summary Judgment) is DENIED without prejudice to AECOM's filing, after time for discovery, a properly supported Motion for Summary Judgment pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 56 and Local Rule 56.01. Signed by District Judge Aleta A. Trauger on 3/8/2017. (DOCKET TEXT SUMMARY ONLY-ATTORNEYS MUST OPEN THE PDF AND READ THE ORDER.)(eh)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF TENNESSEE
DAVID J. HICKS
GROUP, INC., et al..
ORDER AND MEMORANDUM
Pending before the court is Defendant AECOM Energy & Construction, Inc.’s Motion for
Judgment on the Pleadings (Docket No. 35). Defendant Performance Contracting Group, Inc.
(“PCG”) and Plaintiff have filed Responses in opposition to AECOM’s Motion (Docket Nos. 40 and
41), and AECOM has filed a Reply (Docket No. 42).
JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS
The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provide that after the pleadings are closed, but within
such time as not to delay the trial, any party may move for judgment on the pleadings. Fed. R. Civ.
P. 12(c). The standard of review applicable to motions for judgment on the pleadings is the same
as that applicable to motions to dismiss under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6), which requires the court to
construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the Plaintiff, accept all of the complaint’s
factual allegations as true, and determine whether the Plaintiff undoubtedly can prove no set of facts
in support of the claims that would entitle him to relief. Hayward v. Cleveland Clinic Foundation,
759 F.3d 601, 608 (6th Cir. 2014).
As with a motion to dismiss, if a party presents matters outside the pleadings on a motion
for judgment on the pleadings, the motion must be treated as one for summary judgment under Rule
56, and all parties must be given a reasonable opportunity to present all the material that is pertinent
to the motion. Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(d).
This matter arises from personal injuries allegedly sustained by Plaintiff while he was
working on a scaffolding system on a construction site in Gallatin, Tennessee. Plaintiff’s Amended
Complaint (Docket No. 15) alleges that the scaffolding system at issue was negligently erected,
maintained and/or inspected by Defendants. Plaintiff’s Amended Complaint does not allege that
AECOM was Plaintiff’s employer. This action, originally filed in the Circuit court for Wilson
County, Tennessee, was removed to this court on July 19, 2016.
AECOM has moved for judgment on the pleadings, alleging that it is immune from
Plaintiff’s negligence action because, as Plaintiff’s employer, Tennessee’s Workers’ Compensation
statutes provide Plaintiff’s only remedy against AECOM.1
AECOM has presented documents and alleged facts outside the pleadings in support of its
Motion.2 As explained above, because AECOM presented matters outside the pleadings, the court
must treat its motion as one for summary judgment. Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(d). AECOM has not,
however, complied with Local Rule 56.01 by providing a Statement of Undisputed Facts, and the
court cannot determine the disputed factual issues with regard to whether AECOM is the statutory
employer of Plaintiff without that Statement and Plaintiff’s responses thereto.
Under Tennessee law, the Workers’ Compensation Statutes provide the exclusive
remedy for accidental personal injuries to employees. Tenn. Code Ann. § 50-6-108.
For example, AECOM relies upon an incident report, a contract, and its own
General Conditions and Special Conditions documents.
The basis of liability under the Workers’ Compensation Act is the employer/employee
relationship. Slaughter v. Duck River Elec. Membership Corp., 102 S.W.3d 612, 619 (Tenn. Ct. App.
2002). To determine whether AECOM was Plaintiff’s statutory employer, and therefore entitled to
immunity under the Workers’ Compensation laws, the court must analyze several factors: (1) the
right to control the conduct of the work; (2) the right of termination; (3) the method of payment; (4)
whether the alleged employee furnishes his own helpers; (5) whether the alleged employee furnishes
his own tools; and (6) whether one is doing the “work for another.” Id.3
The pleadings do not answer these questions. Therefore, AECOM’s Motion for Judgment
on the Pleadings (even if it is treated as a Motion for Summary Judgment) is DENIED without
prejudice to AECOM’s filing, after time for discovery, a properly supported Motion for Summary
Judgment pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 56 and Local Rule 56.01.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
ALETA A. TRAUGER
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
PCP contends that the court must also determine whether there is a general
contractor -subcontractor relationship present in order to find that AECOM is Plaintiff’s
statutory employer. Such an analysis also requires resolution of factual issues. Docket No. 40,
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