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Matson v. BIR Truck & Trailer Repair, LLC

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Bowling Green Division

February 11, 2019

NATHAN MATSON, as the Ancillary Administrator of the ESTATE OF JORDON ALEXA MAYS, deceased; and M.A.M., an infant, by and through his father and next friend, NATHAN MATSON PLAINTIFFS
v.
BIR TRUCK & TRAILER REPAIR, LLC, et al. DEFENDANTS

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          Greg N. Stivers, Chief Judge.

         This matter is before the Court on Defendant's Partial Motion to Dismiss (DN 28).[1] The motion has been fully briefed and is ripe for adjudication. For the reasons outlined below, the motion is GRANTED.

         I. STATEMENT OF FACTS AND CLAIMS

         This is a tort action brought under diversity jurisdiction in which Plaintiffs make claims for negligence resulting in wrongful death and loss of parental consortium against Defendants, including BIR Truck & Trailer Repair, LLC (“Defendant”), following the death of Jordan Alexa Mays (“Mays” or “decedent”). (Compl. ¶¶ 1, 13-17, DN 1). Mays, a citizen of Alabama, was killed on October 20, 2015, in a motor vehicle accident in Alabama allegedly caused by a tractor-trailer whose braking system had been serviced by Defendant at its repair shop in Franklin, Kentucky. (Compl. ¶¶ 8-10). Plaintiff was appointed administrator of the decedent's estate in Alabama on November 6, 2015, and was later appointed ancillary administrator in Kentucky on October 20, 2017. (Compl. ¶¶ 11-12; Compl. Ex. A, DN 1-1; Compl. Ex. B, DN 1-2). Plaintiff filed this action on October 20, 2017, but the Summons was not issued by the clerk until October 25, 2017, due to a redaction issue. (Order, DN 3; Mot. Leave File Redacted Docs., DN 5; Summons, DN 7).

         II. JURISDICTION

         The Court has subject matter jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. §§ 2201 and 1332(a) because there is diversity of citizenship between the parties and the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000, exclusive of interest and costs.

         III. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         A complaint must contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, ” and is subject to dismissal if it “fail[s] to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), 12(b)(6). When considering a motion to dismiss, courts must presume all factual allegations in the complaint to be true and make all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving party. Total Benefits Planning Agency, Inc. v. Anthem Blue Cross & Blue Shield, 552 F.3d 430, 434 (6th Cir. 2008) (citation omitted).

         To survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the plaintiff must allege “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Traverse Bay Area Intermediate Sch. Dist. v. Mich. Dep't of Educ., 615 F.3d 622, 627 (6th Cir. 2010) (internal quotation marks omitted) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). “A complaint will be dismissed pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) if no law supports the claims made, if the facts alleged are insufficient to state a claim, or if the face of the complaint presents an insurmountable bar to relief.” Southfield Educ. Ass'n v. Southfield Bd. of Educ., 570 Fed.Appx. 485, 487 (6th Cir. 2014) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 561-64).

         IV. DISCUSSION

         Defendant seeks dismissal of Plaintiff's wrongful death claim contending that the lawsuit was not filed within the applicable statute of limitations. (Def.'s Partial Mot. Dismiss 1, 4-10, DN 28 [hereinafter Def.'s Mot.]; Def.'s Reply Partial Mot. Dismiss 5-11, DN 32 [hereinafter Def.'s Reply]). Plaintiff maintains the action was timely filed, arguing that the limitations period did not begin to run until his appointment in Kentucky as ancillary administrator of Mays' estate. (Pl.'s Resp. Def.'s Partial Mot. Dismiss 6-10, DN 31 [hereinafter Pl.'s Resp.]).

         “Federal courts sitting in diversity must apply the procedural law of the forum, here Kentucky, including its statutes of limitations.” Combs v. Int'l Ins. Co., 163 F.Supp.2d 686, 690 (E.D. Ky. 2001) (citing Elec. Power Bd. of Chattanooga v. Monsanto Co., 879 F.2d 1368, 1375 (6th Cir. 1989)). “In deciding what law applies to a particular case, one must first look to the forum state's choice of law statute.” Elec. Power Bd. of Chattanooga, 879 F.2d at 1375 (citing Erie R.R. Co. v. Tompkins, 304 U.S. 64 (1938); Day & Zimmermann, Inc. v. Challoner, 423 U.S. 3 (1975)).

         As a sister court has explained, “Kentucky has a ‘borrowing statute' that, when applicable, ‘borrows' the limitations period of another state where a cause of action accrues, when that period is shorter than Kentucky's limitations period. The borrowing statute is triggered only when the cause of action accrued in another jurisdiction.” Combs, 163 F.Supp.2d at 691 (internal citation omitted). The statute provides:

When a cause of action has arisen in another state or country, and by the laws of this state or country where the cause of action accrued the time for the commencement of an action thereon is limited to a shorter period of time than the period of limitation prescribed by the laws of this state for a like cause of action, then ...

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