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Christensen v. ATS, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Southern Division

May 30, 2014

ELIZABETH CHRISTENSEN, Administratrix of the Estate of Mayfield Pennington, Plaintiff,
v.
ATS, INC., et al., Defendants

Page 611

For Elizabeth Christensen, Administratrix of the Estate of Mayfield Pennington, Plaintiff: Michael Shane Hall, Shane Hall Attorney at Law, PLLC, Pikeville, KY.

For ATS, Inc., also known as Anderson Trucking Service, Inc., Edward O. Carter, Defendants: Daniel E. Murner, Elizabeth Johnson Winchell, Landrum & Shouse LLP - LEXINGTON, Lexington, KY.

For Bailey's Furniture, LLC, Defendant: Gordon B. Long, Salyersville, KY.

OPINION

Page 612

MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER

Amul R. Thapar, United States District Judge.

Just as Cerberus stood watch at the entrance to Hades, the plaintiff's many-headed theory of tort liability guards against removing this case from state to federal court. This Court lacks jurisdiction over this matter unless the defendants can demonstrate that none of the plaintiff's theories could possibly succeed against defendant Bailey's Furniture, LLC, whose presence as a defendant destroys federal diversity jurisdiction. Since the defendants have successfully defeated each of the plaintiff's theories, the Court will deny the plaintiff's motion to remand this case to the Kentucky court whence it came and dismiss Bailey's Furniture as a defendant.

BACKGROUND

The trouble started when Bailey's Furniture placed an order for mattresses with Corsicana Bedding. R. 1-2. Edward O. Carter, a truck driver employed by ATS, Inc., R. 1 at 2-3, picked up those mattresses from Corsicana Bedding and transported them to Bailey's Furniture, in Salyersville, Kentucky, R. 12-2. After Carter left Bailey's Furniture, he continued on his way toward Pikeville, Kentucky. Id. En route, he collided with Mayfield Pennington's vehicle, and Pennington died as a result of injuries sustained during the accident. R. 1-1 at 6-10; R. 12-3.

The plaintiff, as administratrix of Pennington's estate, filed suit in state court. R. 1-1 at 4. She brought state-law tort claims against three defendants: ATS, a Minnesota citizen; Carter, a Tennessee citizen; and Bailey's Furniture, a Kentucky citizen. Id. at 5. As relevant here, she alleged that Bailey's Furniture was negligent when it failed to exercise ordinary care in transacting business with ATS and Carter. Id. at 9. She also alleged, pursuant to Ky. Rev. Stat. § 446.070, that Bailey's Furniture was negligent per se because it violated a state statutory duty of care. Id. at 9-10. The defendants quickly removed the case to federal court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1441, R. 1, and the

Page 613

plaintiff moved to remand the case shortly ...


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