United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Southern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
ANNEMARIE CARNEY AXON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the court on Defendants' motion to
dismiss. (Doc. 7). Plaintiff Diane White brings this action
asserting negligence and wantonness claims against Defendants
Darrin Ray Miller and Omni Specialized, LLC.
(“Omni”) to recover damages arising from a motor
vehicle accident allegedly caused by Mr. Miller. (Doc. 1 at
1-3). In the motion, Defendants argue that Counts II, III,
and IV of Ms. White's complaint should be dismissed for
failure to state a claim. (Doc. 7 at 1). The motion has been
fully briefed and the issues are ripe for review. (Doc. 7;
Doc. 15; Doc. 16). For the reasons explained below, the court
WILL GRANT Defendants' motion and
WILL DISMISS Counts II, III, and IV of the
STANDARD OF REVIEW
to Rule 8(a)(2), a complaint must contain “a short and
plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Rule
12(b)(6) enables a defendant to move to dismiss a complaint
for “failure to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). To survive a motion to
dismiss, a complaint must “state a claim to relief that
is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). “A claim has
facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content
that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that
the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
plausible claim for relief requires “enough fact[s] to
raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal
evidence” to support the claim. Twombly, 550
U.S. at 556. A complaint need not contain detailed factual
allegations, but a complaint must contain “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. When resolving a motion to
dismiss, the court must “accept the allegations in
the complaint as true and constru[e] them in the light most
favorable to the plaintiff.” Miljkovic v. Shafritz
& Dinkin, P.A., 791 F.3d 1291, 1297 (11th Cir. 2015)
(quoting Hill v. White, 321 F.3d 1334, 1335 (11th
Cir. 2003) (per curiam)).
facts taken in the light most favorable to Ms. White are as
follows. On January 11, 2017, Ms. White was traveling on
Interstate 59 in Jefferson County, Alabama. (Doc. 1 at 2-3).
At the same time and place, Mr. Miller was driving a
tractor-trailer in the same direction. (Id.). Mr.
Miller allegedly struck the rear quarter panel of another
driver's vehicle, causing it to collide with Ms.
White's vehicle. (Id. at 2-3). Ms. White asserts
that Mr. Miller was not paying attention as he changed lanes
and failed to keep a proper lookout for other vehicles.
(Id. at 3). Ms. White claims to have suffered severe
bodily injuries. (Id.).
White filed this action against Mr. Miller and Omni on August
7, 2018. (Id. at 1). Invoking diversity of
citizenship as the predicate for federal jurisdiction, Ms.
White asserts state law claims including: negligence (Count
I); wantonness (Count II); negligent and wanton entrustment
(Count III); and negligent hiring, training, and supervision
(Count IV). (Id. at 3-6).
argue that Counts II-IV of the complaint are due to be
dismissed because the allegations consist of bare legal
conclusions and otherwise fail to allege sufficient factual
content to support a plausible inference of liability. The
Count II: Wantonness
Alabama law, wantonness is defined as “conduct which is
carried on with a reckless or conscious disregard of the
rights or safety of others.” Ala. Code §
6-11-20(b)(3). To state a claim for wanton or reckless
conduct, Ms. White must allege that Mr. Miller engaged in
some act or omitted some duty “while knowing of the
existing conditions and being conscious that, from doing or
omitting to do an act, injury [would] likely or probably
result.” Ex parte Essary, 992 So.2d 5, 9 (Ala.
2007) (citing Bozeman v. Central Bank of the South,
646 So.2d 601 (Ala. 1994)).
plead, there are no facts from which to infer Mr.
Miller's consciousness or awareness that Ms. White's
injuries would likely result from his decision to change
lanes. There is no allegation that Mr. Miller was driving at
an unsafe speed, using drugs or alcohol, ignoring traffic
signals, or otherwise conducting himself with a reckless or
conscious disregard of Ms. White's safety. Accordingly,
the court WILL GRANT Defendants' motion
as to Count II and WILL DISMISS Ms.
White's wantonness claim.
Count III: Negligent and ...