United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Bowling Green Division
CHAD OWENS; and KRISTIE OWENS PLAINTIFFS and KENTUCKY EMPLOYERS' MUTUAL INSURANCE INTERVENOR PLAINTIFF
GLOBAL EQUIPMENT COMPANY, INC., a wholly owned subsidiary of Systemax, Inc. d/b/a Global Industrial Equipment; and HU-LIFT EQUIPMENT USA, INC. DEFENDANTS
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
N. Stivers, Chief Judge.
matter is before the Court on Third-Party Defendants'
Motions to Dismiss (DN 40, 59), and Third-Party
Defendant's Motion for a Hearing (DN 54). The motions are
ripe for adjudication. For the reasons outlined below,
Sumitomo Electric Wiring Systems, Inc.'s motion to
dismiss is GRANTED, and the remaining motions are DENIED.
STATEMENT OF FACTS AND CLAIMS
action involves a non-fatal workplace injury suffered by Chad
Owens (“Owens”) when, during the ordinary course
of business, he and two other employees of Sumitomo Electric
Wiring Systems Inc. (“Sumitomo”) were placing a
piece of equipment on the factory floor when the equipment
fell off the jacks and onto Owens's hands. (Compl.
¶¶ 8, 9, 13, DN 1-1). Owens alleges that two of the
hydraulic jacks, which bore the serial No. HM100-0001 and
1604-HM100-0006 (collectively “HM100 jacks”),
were defectively designed and caused him to sustain serious
injuries. (Compl. ¶¶ 11, 14). Sumitomo claims that
it has paid workers' compensation benefits to or on
behalf of Owens for his injuries. (Sumitomo Mot. Dismiss
Hu-Lift's 3d Party Compl. 4, DN 40). Hu-lift does not
dispute Sumitomo's contention that it paid workers'
compensation benefits to Owens. (Hu-Lift Resp. Sumitomo's
Mot. Dismiss DN 48).
Equipment Company, Inc. (“Global”) is a New York
corporation and allegedly sold the HM100 jacks to Sumitomo, a
Scottsville, Kentucky, business. (Compl. ¶¶ 4, 8,
12). Hu-Lift Equipment (USA) Inc. (“Hu-Lift”) is
a New Jersey corporation which allegedly manufactured the
HM100 jacks and admittedly shipped them to Sumitomo. (Compl.
¶¶ 5, 11; M. Guo Aff. ¶ 31, DN 59-3). I-Lift
Equipment USA Ltd (“I-Lift”) is also a New Jersey
corporation and allegedly manufactured, sold, or distributed
the HM100 jacks. (Global's 3d Party Compl. I-Lift
¶¶ 5, 8, DN 45). Hu-Lift and I-Lift both have their
principal place of businesses located at 400 Apgar Dr. Unit
F, Somerset, N.J. 08873. (M. Guo Aff. ¶¶ 4, 11).
Hu-Lift is owned by Jason Guo and managed by Ming Guo. (M.
Guo Aff. ¶¶ 2, 5). Ming Guo is also the owner and
president of I-Lift. (M. Guo Aff. ¶ 12).
October 13, 2017, Owens, his wife, and their two children
filed a lawsuit against Global and Hu-Lift (collectively
“Defendants”), which Hu-Lift removed to this
Court on November 08, 2017. The Complaint asserted claims of
negligence, strict liability, loss of parental consortium,
loss of consortium, and punitive damages against Defendants.
(Compl. ¶¶ 20-56). This Court subsequently
dismissed the claim of loss of parental consortium. (Mem. Op.
& Order, DN 18).
Amended Answer, Global asserted cross-claims against Hu-Lift
for indemnification, breach of contract, and apportionment.
(Global's Am. Answer Compl. Cross-Cl. ¶¶ 1-29,
DN 26). Hu-Lift has filed a Third-Party Complaint against
Sumitomo seeking indemnification. (Hu-Lift's 3d Party
Compl. Sumitomo ¶¶ 17-24, DN 35). Sumitomo then
moved to dismiss the third-party claim for indemnity asserted
by Hu-Lift, claiming that the claim is barred by the
exclusive remedy provision of the Kentucky Workers'
Compensation Act, KRS 342.690. (Sumitomo's Mot. Dismiss
Hu-Lift's 3d Party Compl. 3-4, DN 40). Global has filed a
third-party complaint against I-Lift seeking indemnification.
(Global's 3d Party Compl. I-Lift ¶¶ 13-21, DN
45). I-Lift filed a motion to dismiss the Third-Party
Complaint of Global for lack of personal jurisdiction,
claiming that I-Lift was not involved in directing the HM100
to Sumitomo and therefore did not purposefully avail itself
to Kentucky law.
two motions are pending before this Court. First, Sumitomo
moves to dismiss Hu-Lift's Third-Party Complaint for
failure to state a claim. (Sumitomo's Mot. Dismiss
Hu-Lift's 3d Party Compl., DN 40). Second, I-Lift moves
to dismiss Global's Third-Party Complaint for lack of
personal jurisdiction. (I-Lift Mot. Dismiss Global's 3d
Party Compl., DN 59).
Court has subject matter jurisdiction over this action under
28 U.S.C. § 1332 as there is complete diversity between
the parties and the amount in controversy exceeds the sum of
Sumitomo's Motion to Dismiss (DN 40)
Sumitomo does not cite it explicitly, Sumitomo has moved to
dismiss under Fed. R. Civ. P 12(b)(6). See Tonsetic v.
Rafferty's Inc., No. 14-CV-00170, 2016 WL 4083455,
at *1 (W.D. Ky. Aug. 1, 2016). In ruling on a motion to
dismiss pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), courts are
required “to construe the complaint in the light most
favorable to the plaintiff, accept all of the complaint's
factual allegations as true, and determine whether the
plaintiff undoubtedly can prove no set of facts in support of
the claims that would entitle relief.” Grindstaff
v. Green, 133 F.3d 416, 421 (6th Cir.1998).
motion, Sumitomo contends that the Third-Party Complaint
should be dismissed because KRS 342.690 provides the
exclusive remedy against employers which have provided
benefits to employees for work-related injuries. It is
undisputed that Sumitomo paid workers compensation benefits
to Owens. The parties disagree, ...