Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Harrison v. Illinois Central Railroad Co.

September 28, 2009

TRAVIS HARRISON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ILLINOIS CENTRAL RAILROAD COMPANY, A CORPORATION; AND TATE & LYLE INGREDIENTS AMERICAS, INC.; ALSO D/B/A TATE & LYLE AMERICAS, INC., A CORPORATION; AND AMERITRACK RAILROAD CONTRACTORS, INC., A CORP., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Herndon, Chief Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

I. Introduction

On October 24, 2008, Plaintiff Travis Harrison filed a three count Complaint against Defendants Illinois Central Railroad, Tate & Lyle Ingredients Americas, Inc. ("Tate & Lyle"), and Ameritrack Railroad Contractors, Inc. pursuant to the Federal Employer's Liability Act (FELA), 45 U.S.C. § 51 et seq (Doc. 2). Plaintiff alleges that on October 24, 2006, while working for Defendant Illinois Central as a yardmaster on property owned by Tate & Lyle in Decatur, Illinois, Plaintiff was injured (Id. at ¶¶ 4-6). Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that while driving in Tate & Lyle's yard, Plaintiff's truck fell into a hole causing Plaintiff injuries.

On February 2, 2009, Defendant Illinois Central filed a Cross-claim against Defendant Tate & Lyle seeking contribution and/ or in the alternative implied indemnification from Defendant Tate & Lyle for the injuries that Plaintiff received (Doc. 36). Count II of Defendant Illinois Central's cross-claim seeks indemnification from Tate & Lyle, arguing that Defendant Illinois Central and Tate & Lyle had a legal relationship before Plaintiff's accident and that Illinois Central's liability to Plaintiff is solely derivative of the actions of Tate & Lyle (Id. at ¶¶ 26-36).

Now before the Court is Defendant Tate & Lyle's motion to dismiss Count II of Illinois Central's Cross-claim (Doc. 40). Specifically, Defendant Tate & Lyle argues that Defendant Illinois Central can not seek implied indemnification from Tate & Lyle because FELA requires a finding of negligence which would bar Illinois Central from seeking indemnification if it is found liable under FELA. Further, Defendant Tate & Lyle argues that Defendant Illinois Central has not alleged an adequate pre-tort relationship with Tate & Lyle. Defendant Illinois Central has filed a response to the motion (Doc. 53). Defendant Tate & Lyle has filed a reply (Doc. 68). For the following reasons, the Court DENIES Defendant Tate & Lyle's motion to dismiss Count II of Illinois Central's Cross-claim (Doc. 40).

II. Discussion

A. Motion to Dismiss

Defendant Tate & Lyle brings its motion to dismiss pursuant to FEDERAL RULE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim. When ruling on a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim under FEDERAL RULE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE 12(b)(6), the Court must look to the complaint to determine whether it satisfies the threshold pleading requirements under FEDERAL RULE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE 8. Rule 8 states that a complaint need only contain a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." FED.R.CIV.P. 8(a)(2). In a recent opinion issued on May 21, 2007, the Supreme Court held that Rule 8 requires that a complaint allege "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face" to survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion. Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1974, 167 L.Ed.2d. 929 (2007). In other words, the Supreme Court explained it was "a plaintiff's obligation to provide the 'grounds' of his 'entitle[ment] to relief'" by providing "more than labels and conclusions," because "a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do...." Id. at 555, 127 S.Ct. at 1964-65 (quoting Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286, 106 S.Ct. 2932, 92 L.Ed.2d 209 (1986)). The Seventh Circuit has read the Bell Atlantic decision to impose "two easy-to-clear hurdles":

First, the complaint must describe the claim in sufficient detail to give the defendant 'fair notice of what the...claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.' Second, its allegations must plausibly suggest that the plaintiff has a right to relief, raising that possibility above a 'speculative level'; if they do not, the plaintiff pleads itself out of court.

E.E.O.C. v. Concentra Health Services, Inc., 496 F.3d 773, 776 (7th Cir. 2007) (citations omitted).

B. Analysis

1. Liability under FELA

Defendant Tate & Lyle argues that Defendant Illinois Central can not seek indemnity for Plaintiff's injuries because Plaintiff's claims against Illinois Central are based on claims of negligence. Defendant Tate & Lyle argue that since Plaintiff alleges that Illinois Central is negligent based on actions or inactions at the time of Plaintiff's injuries, it can not seek indemnity from Defendant Tate & Lyle.

Under Illinois' theory of implied indemnity, "a promise to indemnify will be implied...where a blameless party is derivatively liable to the plaintiff based on the party's relationship with the one who actually caused the plaintiff's injury." Schulson v. D'Ancona and Pflaum LLC, 354 Ill.App.3d 572, 576, 821 N.E.2d 643, 647 (1st Dist. 2004) (citing Kerschner v. Weiss & Co., 282 Ill.App.3d 497, 503, 667 N.E.2d 1351, 1355 (1st Dist. 1996)). The premises behind implied indemnity is to allow a defendant, who is liable to a plaintiff through no fault on his own part, but who is subject to liability based solely on the legal relationship with the plaintiff or because of a "non-delegable duty arising of statutory or common law," to recover from the party actually at fault. Frazer v. A.F. Munsterman, Inc., 123 Ill.2d 245, 255, 527 N.E.2d 1248, 1252 (1988). The right to seek indemnification may arise under contract or may be implied where a promise to indemnify is implied from the relationship of the parties. Kerschner, 282 Ill.App.3d at 503, 667 N.E.2d at 1355 (citing Dixon v. Chicago & North Western Transportation Co., 151 Ill.2d 108, 118, 601 N.E.2d 704, 709 (1992)). Implied indemnity "recognizes that a blameless party (the ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.