Friday, April 9, 2021

Federal Court Addresses Validity of Direct Claims of Liability Asserted Against Trucking Company



In the case of Miller v. M.H. Malueg Trucking, Co., LLC, No. 2:20-CV-00413-RJC (W.D. Pa. March 8, 2021 Colville, J.), the court granted a Defendant trucking company’s Motion to Dismiss a Plaintiff’s direct negligence claim against the trucking company arising out of a motor vehicle accident after the court found that the Plaintiff had conceded that she had not pled facts sufficient to support a claim for punitive damages that could serve as the predicate for a direct negligence claim against that trucking company.

The court noted that the parties had previously filed a Stipulation agreeing that the Defendant driver was an agent of the Defendant trucking company.

The Plaintiff had alleged in her Complaint that the Defendant trucking company was vicariously liable for the driver’s negligence and was also liable for negligent hiring, training, monitoring, and supervising the driver, for failing to ensure PennDOT regulations were followed, and was also negligent for failing to maintain a proper driver safety program for its drivers.

The Defendant moved to dismiss all direct claims of liability and did not move to dismiss the vicarious liability count.

Citing the case of Sterner v. Titus Transp., 2013 WL 6506591 (M.D. Pa. 2013)[other citations omitted], the court held in this Miller case that the claims of direct corporate negligence was subject to dismissal when the agency relationship was admitted and when the Plaintiff had not pled a basis for punitive damages.

Anyone wishing to review a copy of this decision may click this LINK


Source: “Digest of Recent Opinions.” Pennsylvania Law Weekly (March 25, 2021).

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