United States District Court, D. Maryland
Mark Coulson United States Magistrate Judge.
suit arises out of a motor vehicle accident involving
Plaintiff Matthew Day and Defendants Julian Stevens, III and
TAK Trucking (“Defendant” or “TAK”),
(collectively, “Defendants”). The parties
consented to proceed before a magistrate judge pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 636(c) and Local Rule 301.4. (ECF Nos. 20, 23).
Now pending before the Court is Defendant TAK's Motion to
Dismiss or, in the Alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment
as to Counts III and IV of the Complaint. (ECF No. 26). In
considering that Motion, the Court has also reviewed
Plaintiff's Response in Opposition and Defendant's
Reply. (ECF Nos. 31, 34). The Court finds that no hearing is
necessary. (ECF No. 32); see Loc. R. 105.6 (D. Md.
2016). For the reasons that follow, Defendant TAK's
Motion will be GRANTED.
October 16, 2014, Plaintiff Matthew Day was driving a vehicle
eastbound on Interstate 70 in Howard County, Maryland. (ECF
No. 2, Compl. at 2). Mr. Day alleges that Defendant Julian
Stevens, III, who was driving a tractor-trailer behind Mr.
Day, was unable to timely stop and rear-ended Mr. Day's
vehicle. Id. Mr. Day further alleges that, as a
result of the collision, he sustained physical injury.
Id. Mr. Day filed suit against Mr. Stevens and TAK
Trucking, alleging negligence against Mr. Stevens and
vicarious liability, negligent entrustment, and negligent
hiring, training, and supervision against TAK Trucking.
Id. at 5. TAK Trucking now moves to dismiss the
claims for negligent entrustment and negligent hiring,
training, and supervision. (ECF No. 26).
STANDARD OF REVIEW
purpose of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) “is
to test the sufficiency of a complaint and not to resolve
contests surrounding the facts, the merits of a claim, or the
applicability of defenses.” Presley v. City of
Charlottesville, 464 F.3d 480, 483 (4th Cir. 2006)
(quoting Edwards v. City of Goldsboro, 178 F.3d 231,
243 (4th Cir. 1999)) (internal quotations omitted). To
survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, “detailed
factual allegations are not required, but a plaintiff must
provide the grounds of his entitlement to relief, ”
which does require “more than labels and conclusions,
or a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of
action.” Petry v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., 597
F.Supp.2d 558, 561-62 (D. Md. 2009) (quoting Bell
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 545 (2007))
(internal quotations omitted). In considering a motion to
dismiss, “the Court must accept the complaint's
allegations as true, and must liberally construe the
complaint as a whole.” Humphrey v. National Flood
Ins. Program, 885 F.Supp. 133, 136 (D. Md. 1995)
(internal citations omitted). The Court must also construe
the facts and reasonable inferences from the facts in the
light most favorable to the plaintiff. Ibarra v. United
States, 120 F.3d 472, 474 (4th Cir. 1997); see also
Petry, 597 F.Supp.2d at 562 (“Once a claim has
been stated adequately . . . it may be supported by showing
any set of facts consistent with the allegations in the
complaint.”) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at
motion to dismiss “is supported by matters outside the
pleading which the Court does not exclude, the motion shall
be treated as one for summary judgment” pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56. Humphrey, 885
F.Supp. at 136. Rule 56(a) requires the Court to “grant
summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine
dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law.” The moving party bears
the burden “to demonstrate the absence of any genuine
dispute of material fact.” Jones v. Hoffberger
Moving Servs. LLC, 92 F.Supp.3d 405, 409 (D. Md. 2015)
(internal citations omitted). A dispute as to a material fact
“is genuine if the evidence is such that a reasonable
jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.”
J.E. Dunn Const. Co. v. S.R.P. Dev. Ltd. P'ship,
115 F.Supp.35 593, 600 (D. Md. 2015) (quoting Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986)).
nonmoving party “opposing a properly supported motion
for summary judgment ‘may not rest upon the mere
allegations or denials of [his] pleadings, ' but rather
must ‘set forth specific facts showing that there is a
genuine issue for trial.'” Bouchat v. Baltimore
Ravens Football Club, Inc., 346 F.3d 514, 522 (4th Cir.
2003). The court is “required to view the facts and
draw reasonable inferences in the light most favorable
to” the nonmoving party, Iko v. Shreve, 535
F.3d 225, 230 (4th Cir. 2008) (citing Scott v.
Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 377 (2007)), but must also
“abide by the ‘affirmative obligation of the
trial judge to prevent factually unsupported claims and
defenses from proceeding to trial.'” Heckman v.
Ryder Truck Rental, Inc., 962 F.Supp.2d 792, 799-800 (D.
Md. 2013) (quoting Drewitt v. Pratt, 999 F.2d 774,
778-79 (4th Cir. 1993)).
case, the parties have submitted matters outside the
pleadings. As explained below, however, this Court did not
consider any outside exhibits and, thus, Defendant TAK's
Motion will not be converted to one for summary judgment.
See Petry, 597 F.Supp.2d at 562.
Count III: Negligent Entrustment
Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, Motion for Summary
Judgment, Defendant TAK argues that because (i)
Plaintiff's Complaint contains no factual allegations,
other than the occurrence of the collision itself, to support
his claims; and (ii) Defendant TAK has already admitted
agency, or that Defendant Stevens was in the scope of his
employment at the time of the collision, it is entitled to
dismissal of Plaintiff's Count III for negligent
Maryland Court of Appeals has adopted the doctrine of
negligent entrustment as enunciated in the Restatement
(Second) of Torts:
One who supplies directly or through a third person a chattel
for the use of another whom the supplier knows or has reason
to know to be likely because of his youth, inexperience, or
otherwise, to use it in a manner involving unreasonable risk
of physical harm to himself and others whom the supplier
should expect to share in or be ...