United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. ROSENSTENGEL United States District Judge
the Court is Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Third-Party
Defendant Martin & Bayley Inc.'s Second Amended
Counterclaim (Doc. 74), and Defendants' Motion to Dismiss
MB-MTV Properties, Charles L. Martin, and Mark F.
Bayley's Counterclaim (Doc. 83). This case originated as
a fairly straight forward allegation that a semi-truck struck
a pedestrian at a truck stop. The procedural history grew
increasingly complicated, however, once the parties conducted
discovery into the ownership of the truck stop where the
Plaintiff Judy Stepp filed her original complaint against
Defendant Bohren Logistics, Inc., an Indiana corporation, and
Jerry Beck, (collectively referred to as "Beck and
Bohren") on September 4, 2014. (Doc. 2). The complaint
revolves around an alleged accident in which an employee of
Bohren ran over the leg of Stepp in the parking lot of a
truck stop resulting in serious injuries. Id. at
2-3. On November 19, 2014, Defendants filed answers to the
complaint. (Docs. 10; 11). The Court sua sponte
ordered Stepp to file an amended complaint because the
original document failed to properly allege diversity
jurisdiction. (Doc. 12). On November 25, 2014, Stepp filed
her first amended complaint, which was followed by Defendants7
answer on December 4, 2014. (Docs. 14; 17; 18).
case experienced a significant delay due to Stepp's
medical treatment. (Doc. 31). On June 2, 2016, Defendants
filed a third-party complaint against Third-Party Defendants
Martin and Bayley, Inc., and Jacobson Transportation Company,
Inc. (Doc. 32). Defendants allege contributory negligence
under the Illinois Joint Tortfeasor Contribution Act, Chapter
740 ILCS 100/01 et seq. (Id. at 7). The Court
exercises its supplemental jurisdiction over the third party
claims because they are so related to Stepp's claims that
they form part of the same case or controversy. See Timm
v. Mead Corp., 32 F.3d 273, 277 (7th Cir. 1994) (noting
that "[s]o long as an arguable balance of [judicial
economy, convenience, fairness, and comity] points in the
direction of the district court's discretionary
determination whether or not to exercise jurisdiction, that
decision, being discretionary, will not be disturbed.")
Transportation Company ("Jacobson") employed Judy
Stepp, who was allegedly in the scope and performance of her
duties when the accident occurred. (Doc. 32, at p. 3).
Defendants allege that Jacobson breached its duty to Stepp by
failing to provide her with the training and equipment needed
to preform her job safely.
and Bayley, Inc. is one of the alleged owners and operators
of the truck stop where the accident occurred. Defendants
allege that Martin and Bayley, Inc. breached the duty owed to
Stepp by failing to regulate the parking lot traffic and
failing to provide adequate sidewalks. On August 2, 2016,
Third-Party Defendant Martin and Bayley, Inc. filed an answer
to the third-party complaint and counterclaim against
Defendants for contributory negligence under the same
Illinois statute. (Doc. 35).
discovery was conducted into the ownership of the truck stop
and the facts of the underlying accident. Based on the
additional discovery, Defendants filed their second amended
third-party complaint expanding the list of third-party
defendants to also include MB-MTV Properties, MB-MTV
Properties as land trustee, Land Trust #1995-1, the
beneficiaries of Land Trust #1995-1, Charles L. Martin, Frank
M. Bayley, Mark Bayley, and Thomas Waldron d/b/a Tom Waldron
Concrete/' (Doc. 52, at pp. 1-2).
Defendant Martin and Bayley, Inc. (hereinafter referred to as
"Martin") filed its second amended answer and
counterclaim for contribution on October 14, 2016. (Doc. 67).
Third-party Defendants MB-MTV Properties, MB-MTV Properties
as land trustee, Land Trust #1995-1, the beneficiaries of
Land Trust #1995-1, Charles L. Martin, Frank M. Bayley, and
Mark Bayley (hereinafter referred to as "MB-MTV
Properties, /), filed their answer and
counterclaim for contribution on November 18, 2016. (Doc.
counterclaims of Martin and the counterclaims of MB-MTV
Properties allege identical causes of action against
Defendants pursuant to the Illinois Joint Tortfeasor
Contribution Act. Compare (Doc. 67, at pp. 30-37)
with (Doc. 79, at pp. 34-42). Defendants seek to
dismiss Third-Party Defendant Martin's and Third-Party
Defendant MB-MTV Properties' identical counterclaims for
contribution. (Docs. 74; 83).
Court notes that although Third-Party Defendants Martin and
MB-MTV Properties filed separate answers and counterclaims,
they are represented by the same attorney. Accordingly, they
filed one unified Response to Defendants' motions on
December 8, 2016. (Doc. 88). Defendants filed a single reply
on December 15, 2016. (Doc. 93).
purpose of a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) is to
address the legal sufficiency of the plaintiffs claim for
relief, not the merits of the case or whether the plaintiff
will ultimately prevail. Camasta v. Jos. A. Bank
Clothiers, Inc., 761 F.3d 732, 736 (7th Cir. 2014);
Gibson v. City of Chicago, 910 F.2d 1510, 1520 (7th
Cir. 1990). In reviewing a motion to dismiss under Rule
12(b)(6), the court must construe the complaint in the light
most favorable to the plaintiff, accept as true all
well-pleaded facts, and draw all possible inferences in the
plaintiffs favor. See, e.g., Hecker v. Deere &
Co., 556 F.3d 575, 580 (7th Cir. 2009) (quoting
Tamayo v. Blagojevich, 526 F.3d 1074, 1081 (7th Cir.
2008)). To survive a motion to dismiss, the complaint must
allege facts sufficient to "'state a claim to relief
that is plausible on its face' and 'raise a right to
relief above the speculative level.'"
Camasta, 761 F.3d at 736 (quoting Bell Ail.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)).
answers filed by Third-Party Defendants Martin and MB-MTV
Properties deny general liability for the action and set
forth various affirmative defenses including those for
contributory negligence on the part of Plaintiff, Defendants,
and other Third-Party Defendants. See e.g. (Doc.
79). In addition to the affirmative defenses asserting
contributory negligence, Martin or MB-MTV Properties seek