United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Paducah Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
B. Russell, Senior Judge.
matter comes before the Court upon Defendants Tevin Davis
(“Davis”) and Swift Transportation Co. of
Arizona, LLC's (“Swift”) (collectively
“Defendants”) Motion to Bifurcate or Dismiss
Negligent Hiring Claim. [DN 38.] Plaintiff Tiffany Locke
(“Locke”) has responded [DN 41] and Defendants
have replied. [DN 42.] Locke then filed an Unopposed Motion
for Leave to File Sur-Reply. [DN 46.] Locke subsequently
filed her Sur-Reply. [DN 50.] As such, this matter is ripe
for adjudication. For the reasons that follow, IT IS HEREBY
ORDERED that Locke's Unopposed Motion for Leave to File
Sur-Reply [DN 46] is GRANTED and Defendants Motion to
Bifurcate or Dismiss Negligent Hiring Claim [DN 38] is
action arises from an automobile accident on April 26, 2016
in Trigg County, Kentucky. Locke was driving eastbound in the
right lane of the interstate. Davis was driving an
eighteen-wheeler truck. Davis then merged into the right lane
of the highway and Locke subsequently crashed into the rear
of the truck causing injury.
filed this action alleging, among other things, negligent
hiring, training, retention and supervision by Swift.
Defendants brought this motion seeking dismissal of this
claim or, in the alternative, bifurcation from the proof of
considering a motion to dismiss, the Court must accept as
true all factual allegations set forth in the complaint and
make all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving
party. Davis v. Prison Health Servs., 679 F.3d 433,
440 (6th Cir. 2012). To survive a motion to dismiss, 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, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d
929 (2007)). A claim becomes plausible “when the
plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d
868 (2009) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). A
complaint will be dismissed “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
Rule of Civil Procedure 42(b) provides that a court may
bifurcate a matter into separate trials “[f]or
convenience, to avoid prejudice, or to expedite and
economize.” The decision to bifurcate is firmly within
the discretion of the trial court. Smith v. Allstate Ins.
Co., 403 F.3d 401, 407 (6th Cir. 2005). “In
determining whether separate trials are appropriate, the
court should consider several facts, including ‘the
potential prejudice to the parties, the possible confusion of
the jurors, and the resulting inconvenience and
economy.'” Wilson v. Morgan, 477 F.3d 326,
339 (6th Cir. 2007) (quoting Martin v. Heideman, 106
F.3d 1308, 1311 (6th Cir. 1997)). Courts should look to
case-specific facts to determine whether bifurcation is
proper, placing the burden on the party seeking bifurcation
to show separation of issues is the most appropriate course.
E.g. Brantley v. Safeco Ins. Co. of Am., 2011 WL
6012554, at *1 (W.D. Ky. Dec. 1, 2011); Stoudemire v.
Mich. Dep't of Corr., 2011 WL 2447992, at *2 (E.D.
Mich. June 14, 2011); Farmers Bank of Lynchburg, Tenn. v.
BancInsure, Inc., 2011 WL 2023301, at *1 (W.D. Tenn. May
Locke's response, she referenced expert testimony from
Roger Allen on “industry standards and customs of
hiring in the trucking industry”. [DN 41 at 8.] Since
Defendants have filed a motion under Fed.R.Civ.P. Rule
12(b)(6), the Court will only consider the pleadings when
deciding this motion.
argue Locke's negligent hiring, training, retention, and
supervision claim should be dismissed because a negligent
hiring claim cannot be maintained alongside a claim of
respondeat superior. In support, Defendants cite cases that
state once an employer has admitted respondeat superior
liability, evidence to support a claim of negligent hiring,
training, and supervision is unnecessary. See Southard v.
Belanger,966 F.Supp.2d 727, 746 (W.D. Ky. 2013);
Oaks v. Wiley Sanders Truck Lines, Inc., 2008 U.S.
Dist. LEXIS 10911, at *2-3 (E.D. Ky. ...