United States District Court, District of Columbia
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
TIMOTHY J. KELLY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Jaime Henao, a passerby, stopped to help a delivery truck
driver unload a large x-ray scanner-only to have the scanner
fall off the truck and injure him. Almost three years later,
he sued several parties, including the scanner's
manufacturer and two companies purportedly delivering it that
unlucky day. He seeks recovery under various theories of
negligence. Before the Court are motions to dismiss filed by
the three remaining defendants named in his amended
complaint. For the reasons explained below, the Court will
grant the motions and dismiss the amended complaint, but not
purposes of the instant motions, the Court presumes the truth
of the allegations in the amended complaint. Defendant Smiths
Detection, Inc., (“Smiths”) manufactures x-ray
scanners used for building security. ECF No. 19 (“Am.
Compl.”) ¶ 1. Around December 2015, Smiths sold a
scanner to a customer in the District of Columbia and
arranged for its delivery. Id. ¶ 2. The scanner
weighed almost 900 pounds. Id. ¶ 1. Smiths
contracted Defendant CRST Specialized Transportation, Inc.
(“CRST”) to arrange for the delivery of the
scanner. Id. ¶ 4. CRST, in turn, contracted
with Defendant Valley Logistics, LLC (“Valley”)
to make the delivery. Id. ¶ 5. On December 7,
2015, Henao was walking near Columbus Circle N.E. when he
observed a delivery truck driver employed by either CRST or
Valley struggling to unload the scanner from his
truck. Id. ¶¶ 12-13. Henao
approached the driver to help. Id. As Henao
approached, the driver lost control of the scanner and it
fell off the truck's liftgate and onto Henao, injuring
September 2018, Henao filed this action in the Superior Court
for the District of Columbia against Smiths and two other
defendants purportedly responsible for the delivery of the
scanner-C. H. Robinson Transportation Company, Inc.
(“CHRTC”) and C. H. Robinson Company
(“CHRC”). ECF No. 1-1. In his original complaint,
Henao brought claims for negligence, vicarious liability,
negligent hiring, and negligence per se against each
defendant. In November 2018, CHRTC and CHRC removed this
action to this Court based on diversity jurisdiction, ECF No.
1, and Smiths consented to removal, ECF No. 9.
December 5, 2018, Henao moved for leave to file an amended
complaint that named CRST and Valley as defendants for the
first time, alleging the same four negligence claims against
them. See ECF No. 14. That same day, the Court denied the
motion without prejudice for failure to comply with Local
Rule 7(m), which requires, before filing any nondispositive
motion, counsel for the moving party to confer with opposing
counsel in a good-faith effort to determine whether there is
any opposition to the relief sought. See Minute Order of
December 5, 2019. On December 11, 2018, Henao filed a second
motion for leave to amend that complied with Local Rule 7(m),
ECF No. 16, which the Court granted, ECF No. 19. The Court
also dismissed CHRTC and CHRC as parties to the action, in
accordance with a stipulation of voluntary dismissal signed
by Henao's counsel. ECF No. 18.
CRST, and Valley now move to dismiss Henao's amended
complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12.
Smiths contends that the claims against it should be
dismissed under Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim.
ECF No. 22. CRST and Valley argue that Henao's claims
against them should be dismissed under Rule 12(b)(6) as
time-barred or, in the alternative, for failure to state a
claim. ECF Nos. 24, 26. For the reasons explained below, the
Court will grant the motions.
12(b)(6) provides for dismissal for “failure to state a
claim upon which relief can be granted.” “A court
considering such a motion presumes the factual allegations of
the complaint to be true and construes them liberally in the
plaintiff's favor.” Philogene v. District of
Columbia, 864 F.Supp.2d 127, 133 (D.D.C. 2012) (citing
United States v. Philip Morris, Inc., 116 F.Supp.2d
131, 135 (D.D.C. 2000)).
“the allegations [in a complaint] show that relief is
barred by the applicable statute of limitations, the
complaint is subject to dismissal for failure to state a
claim.” Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199, 215
(2007). But a defendant “may raise a statute of
limitations as an affirmative defense via a Rule 12(b)(6)
motion only when the facts that give rise to the defense are
clear from the face of the complaint.” Wash. Metro.
Area Transit Auth. v. Ark Union Station, Inc., 268
F.Supp.3d 196, 203 (D.D.C. 2017) (citing Mizell v.
SunTrust Bank, 26 F.Supp.3d 80, 85 (D.D.C. 2014)).
“If no reasonable person could disagree on the date on
which the cause of action accrued, the court may dismiss a
claim on statute of limitations grounds.” Id.
At 204 (quoting DePippo v. Chertoff, 453 F.Supp.2d
30, 33 (D.D.C. 2006)).
addition, to survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the
plaintiff's complaint must contain “a short and
plain statement of the claim showing that the [plaintiff] is
entitled to relief, in order to give the defendant fair
notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which
it rests.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (internal quotations omitted) (quoting
Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). Although
“detailed factual allegations” are unnecessary, a
complaint must contain “a claim that is plausible on
its face” that goes beyond “an unadorned,
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)
(internal citations and quotations omitted). That is, the
factual allegations in the complaint should allow the court
to “draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is
liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id.
“Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of
action, supported by mere conclusory statements . . . do not
suffice.” Id. And in deciding motions to
dismiss, the Court examines only those facts alleged in the
complaint, see Tabb v. District of
Columbia, 477 F.Supp.2d 185, 187 (D.D.C. 2007), and
need not consider facts alleged in later motions, see
Garabis v. Unknown Officers of Metro.
Police, 820 F.Supp.2d 32, 35-36 (D.D.C. 2011).
Whether the Amended Complaint's Claims Against CRST and
Valley are Barred by the Statute of Limitations
and Valley argue that claims against them are time-barred.
See ECF No. 24; ECF No. 26. “When deciding state-law
claims under diversity or supplemental jurisdiction, federal
courts apply the choice-of-law rules of the jurisdiction in
which they sit.” Ideal Elec. Sec. Co. v. Int'l
Fid. Ins. Co.,129 F.3d 143, 148 (D.C. Cir. 1997). As a