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Townsend v. National Cart Corp.

United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division

January 8, 2018

TIMOTHY TOWNSEND, Plaintiff,
v.
NATIONAL CART CORPORATION, Defendant.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          David A. Baker United States Magistrate Judge

         Plaintiff Timothy Townsend brought a suit against Defendants relating to personal injury from a piece of equipment he used in the course of his employment. (Doc. 20). Defendant Win Holt Equipment Corp. (“Win Holt”) moved to dismiss the Amended Complaint for failure to state a claim. (Doc. 22). Defendant National Cart, LLC d/b/a National Cart Company (“National Cart”) filed a motion (Doc. 24) to dismiss the Amended Complaint for failure to state a claim, or in the alternative, for a more definite statement. The motions are fully briefed and taken under submission.

         I. JURISDICTION

         Subject matter jurisdiction is exercised pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332. The parties do not contest personal jurisdiction or venue, and there are adequate allegations to support both. See 28 U.S.C. § 1391. On December 20, 2017, this matter was referred to the undersigned by U.S. District Judge Myron H. Thompson for disposition or recommendation on all pretrial matters. See also 28 U.S.C. § 636(b); Rule 72, Fed. R. Civ. P.; United States v. Raddatz, 447 U.S. 667 (1980); Jeffrey S. v. State Board of Education of State of Georgia, 896 F.2d 507 (11th Cir. 1990).

         II. BACKGROUND AND STATEMENT OF FACTS [1]

         On March 18, 2015, Plaintiff was working as a merchandise stocker at a Wal-Mart in Prattville, Alabama. (Doc. 20 at ¶ 13). In the course of Plaintiff's duties, he was using a piece of equipment called a “rocket cart” that “was designed, engineered, manufactured, sold, distributed, installed, leased, inspected, maintained and/or repaired by” the Defendants. (Doc. 20 at ¶ 15). “Plaintiff was attempting to stock coffee on a rocket cart when the shelf of the cart unlatched and forcefully hit him on his head.” (Doc. 20 at ¶ 14). Plaintiff alleges that as a result of the rocket cart shelf coming unlatched, he “suffered severe injuries to his neck and head resulting in the plaintiff requiring medical treatment, and has been left with permanent injuries…” (Doc. 20 at ¶ 16). Based on these allegations, Plaintiff's Amended Complaint alleges four state law claims of liability pursuant to the Alabama Extended Manufacturer's Liability Doctrine, negligence, wantonness, and reckless/willful actions. (Doc. 20 at ¶¶ 17-33).

         III. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         A Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss tests the sufficiency of the Complaint against the legal standard set forth in Rule 8: “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2).

         When evaluating a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), the court must take “the factual allegations in the complaint as true and construe them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.” Pielage v. McConnell, 516 F.3d 1282, 1284 (11th Cir. 2008). However, “the tenet that a court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in a complaint is inapplicable to legal conclusions.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 663 (2009). “[A] plaintiff's obligation to provide the ‘grounds' of his ‘entitle[ment] to relief' requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555.

         “To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). “Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief [is] ... a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense.” Id. at 663 (alteration in original) (citation omitted). “[F]acial plausibility” exists “when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). The standard also “calls for enough facts to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence” of the claim. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556. While the complaint need not set out “detailed factual allegations, ” it must provide sufficient factual amplification “to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Id. at 555.

         “So, when the allegations in a complaint, however true, could not raise a claim of entitlement to relief, ‘this basic deficiency should ... be exposed at the point of minimum expenditure of time and money by the parties and the court.'” Twombly, 550 U.S. 558 (quoting 5 Wight & Miller § 1216, at 233-34 (quoting in turn Daves v. Hawaiian Dredging Co., 114 F.Supp. 643, 645 (D. Haw. 1953)) (alteration original). “[O]nly a complaint that states a plausible claim for relief survives a motion to dismiss.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556).

“In keeping with these principles a court considering a motion to dismiss can choose to begin by identifying pleadings that, because they are no more than conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of truth. While legal conclusions can provide the framework of a complaint, they must be supported by factual allegations. When there are well-pleaded factual allegations, a court should assume their veracity and then determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief.”

Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679.

         IV. ...


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