United States District Court, D. Maryland
MARK COULSON UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
suit arises out of a motor vehicle accident involving
Plaintiffs Johna Lynn Brown and Carl Mitchell Brown
(collectively, "Plaintiffs") and Defendants David
Allen Kahl and Smith Transport, Inc. (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. 55, 56). On March 16, 2018,
Defendants filed the Motion to Dismiss Count II of
Plaintiffs' Complaint. (ECF No. 44). In considering that
Motion, the Court also reviewed Plaintiffs' Response in
Opposition thereto and Defendants' Reply in Support
thereof. (ECF Nos. 49, 58). Both parties requested a hearing
on Defendants' Motion, (ECF Nos. 45, 50), and the Court
held a motions hearing on July 23, 2018, (ECF No. 69).
See Loc. R. 105.6 (D. Md. 2016). At that hearing,
the Court granted Plaintiffs' Motion for Leave to File
Second Amended Complaint, (ECF No. 62), and treated
Defendants' Motion, (ECF No. 44), as equally applicable
to the Second Amended Complaint. In the interim, Defendants
have filed an answer to the Second Amended Complaint, (ECF
No. 70), and a revised Motion to Dismiss, (ECF No. 71),
rendering moot their previous Motion to Dismiss, (ECF No.
44), which the Court now denies as moot. Defendants' new
Motion to Dismiss, (ECF No. 71), essentially reiterates their
arguments from their prior Motion and those made at the July
23, 2018 hearing. The Court has also reviewed Plaintiffs'
Opposition to Defendants' new Motion, (ECF No. 72), as
well as Defendants' Reply, (ECF No. 74). For the reasons
that follow, Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Count II of
Plaintiffs' Second Amended Complaint, (ECF No. 71), will
April 3, 2015, Plaintiff Johna Lynn Brown was seated in the
passenger seat of a vehicle parked at a gas pump at Fair
Price Market in Allegany County, Maryland, waiting for her
husband, Plaintiff Carl Mitchell Brown, to complete a
purchase inside the store. (ECF No. 62-3, Am. Compl. at 2).
Plaintiffs allege that Defendant David Allen Kahl, in the
scope of his employment with Defendant Smith Transport, Inc.,
was driving a semi-truck and was unable to timely stop the
vehicle, rear-ending Plaintiffs' parked vehicle.
Id. Plaintiffs further allege that, as a result of
the collision, Ms. Brown sustained physical injury and was
then terminated from her employment. Id. at 3.
filed suit against Mr. Kahl and Smith Transport alleging
negligence, negligent entrustment, respondeat superior, and
loss of consortium. (ECF No. 62-3, Am. Compl.). The pending
Motion to Dismiss seeks again to dismiss Count II, negligent
entrustment for failing to state a claim.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Supreme Court's holdings in Bell Atlantic Corporation
v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007), and Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, enunciated the pleading standard
that plaintiffs must meet in order to proceed past the motion
to dismiss stage. In general, "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 Twombly,
550 U.S. at 570).
rule for pleading "requires more than labels and
conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a
cause of action will not do." McCleary-Evans v.
Maryland Dept. of Tramp., State Highway Admin., 780 F.3d
582, 585 (4th Cir. 2015) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S.
at 555). A complaint cannot be mere "threadbare recitals
of a cause of action's elements supported by mere
conclusory statements," Tobey v. Jones, 706
F.3d 379, 387 (4th Cir. 2013) (quoting Twombly, 550
U.S. at 556), and instead must contain factual
"sufficient to raise a right to relief above the
speculative level," Woods v. City of
Greensboro, 855 F.3d 639, 647 (4th Cir. 2017) (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570).
order to satisfy Twombly and Iqbal, the
plaintiff need not plead facts sufficient to establish a
prima facie case, but is "required to allege facts to
satisfy the elements of the cause of action he chooses to
bring. Id. at 648 (citing McCleary-Evans,
at 780 F.3d at 585). Thus, Plaintiffs here are required to
allege facts that satisfy each of the elements of the tort of
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 endangered by its use, is
subject to liability for physical harm resulting to them.
Curley v. General Valet Service, Inc., 270 Md. 248,
255 (1973) (quoting Restatement (Second) of Torts § 390
(1965)). Liability attaches in such situations because the
negligence in entrusting the chattel "operates as a
concurrent cause with the negligence of the entrustee."
Kohlenberg v. Goldstein, 290 Md. 477, 488 (1981).
for negligent entrustment "arises only if a reasonable
man could have foreseen the negligent acts" and
"when the foreseeability of harm stems from past
conduct, it must be conduct so repetitive as to make its
recurrence foreseeable." Essem v. Stone, Civ.
No. PWG-14-113, 2014 WL 4182615, at *2 (D. Md. Aug. 19, 2014)
(citing Curley v. General Valet Service, Inc., 270
Md. 248 (1973)). Furthermore, the Maryland Court of Appeals
has observed that where negligent entrustment involves the
entrustee's use of alcohol or drugs, or an underlying
medical condition such as epilepsy, it is also necessary for
the plaintiff to demonstrate that the particular
characteristic relied upon for the negligent entrustment is
also the ...