United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
TAMMY CONWAY, individually, and as Personal Representative of the Estate of David Conway, deceased, Plaintiff,
ADRIAN CARRIERS, LLC, and GREGORY LEE HORNE, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
R. Herndon, United States District Judge
Pending before the Court are several motions for summary
judgment filed by defendants Adrian Carriers, LLC and Gregory
Horne: motion for summary judgment on punitive damages (Docs.
107 & 113); motion for summary judgment on Counts I and
IV relative to any claims of negligent hiring, training,
supervision, retention & entrustment (Docs. 109 &
108); and motion for summary judgment on Counts IV, V and VI
related to claims under the survival act (Docs. 110 &
111). Plaintiff opposes the motions (Docs. 116; 114; and 115,
respectively). Based on the record and the applicable law,
the Court grants both the motion for summary judgment on
punitive damages and the motion for summary judgment on
Counts I and IV relative to any claims of negligent hiring,
training, supervision, retention & entrustment and denies
the motion for summary judgment as to Counts IV, V, and VI
related to claims under the survival act.
August 9, 2016, Tammy Conway, individually, and as personal
representative of the Estate of David Conway, deceased, filed
a fourth amended complaint against Adrian Carriers, LLC and
Gregory Lee Horne (Doc. 72). This case stems from a tractor
trailer on tractor trailer collusion between plaintiff's
decedent David Conway and defendant Horne, an employee of
Adrian Carriers, LLC (“Adrian Carriers”) on
August 24, 2015. David Conway died as a result of the
accident and his estate brings wrongful death claims (Count I
against Adrian Carriers, Count II against Horne & Count
III- against Adrian Carriers for vicarious liability) and
survival act claims (Count IV against Adrian Carriers, Count
V against Horne & Count VI-vicarious liability against
Adrian Carriers) under Illinois law. Plaintiff seeks both
compensatory and punitive damages.
“The court shall grant summary judgment if the movant
shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material
fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). Whether a fact is material
depends on the underlying substantive law that governs the
dispute. Carroll v. Lynch, 698 F.3d 561, 564 (7th
Cir. 2012) (citation omitted). “A factual dispute is
‘genuine' only if a reasonable jury could find for
either party.” Nichols v. Mich. City Plant
Planning Dep't, 755 F.3d 594, 599 (7th Cir.
2014) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).
Because the plaintiff bears the ultimate burden of
persuasion, the defendant's summary judgment burden
“may be discharged by ‘showing'-that is,
pointing out to the district court-that there is an absence
of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case.”
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 325, 106
S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986); see also Andrews v.
CBOCS W., Inc., 743 F.3d 230, 234 (7th Cir. 2014).
“Upon such a showing, the nonmovant must then
‘make a showing sufficient to establish the existence
of an element essential to that party's case.'”
Modrowski v. Pigatto, 712 F.3d 1166, 1168 (7th Cir.
2013) (quoting Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322, 106 S.Ct.
2548). The nonmovant must “go beyond the pleadings ...
to demonstrate that there is evidence upon which a jury could
properly proceed to find a verdict in her favor.”
Id. at 1168-69 (internal quotation marks and
citation omitted). Summary judgment is appropriate where
“no reasonable jury could rule in favor of the
nonmoving party.” See Bagwe v. Sedgwick Claims
Mgmt. Servs., Inc., 811 F.3d 866, 879 (7th Cir. 2016)
accident in this case occurred during the evening of August
24, 2015 on I-55 in Grundy County, Illinois. On the date of
the accident, Horne was driving Adrian Carrier's tractor
trailer southbound on I-55 and David Conway was driving
former third party defendant 5 Star Logistics, LLC's
tractor trailer in the same direction on I-55 behind
Horne. David Conway was returning from Chicago,
Illinois and Horne was returning from picking up a load at a
railroad yard near Wilmington, Illinois. Shortly after 8:00
p.m., the front left of the tractor trailer driven by David
Conway collided with the right rear of the tractor trailer
driven by Horne. As a result of the accident, Conway
sustained fatal injuries.
August 26, 2015, Amanda Youmans, D.O., performed an autopsy
on David Conway. Dr. Youmans determined that David
Conway's cause of death was multiple blunt force
injuries. Dr. Youmans also determined that at the time
between the blunt force trauma and death of David Conway
could have been “seconds, ” which included the
possibility of “instantaneous or immediate
death.” Dr. Youmans could not determine whether David
Conway was conscious or whether he experienced any pain or
suffering from the moment of injury until death. No witness
has testified that David Conway was conscious at any time
from the moment of injury until death.
time of the accident, Tammy Conway, David Conway, and the
four minor Conway children were Missouri
residents. 5 Star Logistics, LLC, was a Missouri
limited liability corporation, that was formed in Missouri
and that had its principal place of business in Missouri.
Conway started the trip that ended in his death in Missouri
and was headed to his home in Missouri.
defendants maintain that they are entitled to summary
judgment regarding plaintiff's claims for punitive
damages as Illinois law does not allow punitive damages under
either the Illinois Wrongful Death Act and under the Illinois
Survival Act and that Illinois law applies in this case. In
response, plaintiff counters that Missouri law applies as the
location of the crash in Illinois was merely fortuitous.
Plaintiff also states: “The parties have acknowledged
that if Missouri law applies, which it should, Plaintiff will
be allowed to submit on punitive damages. If Defendants are
correct, which they are not, and Illinois law applies,
Plaintiffs will not be allowed to submit on punitive
damages.” (Doc. 116, p. 1). Plaintiff argues that
Missouri law should apply as it has a more significant
relationship than Illinois to this case. Based on the
following, the Court agrees with Defendants.
law plainly holds that punitive damages may not be recovered
in wrongful death or survival actions. This principle was
established in a line of cases stemming from Mattyasovsky
v. West Towns Bus Co., 330 N.E.2d 509, 512 (Ill. 1975).
The Illinois Supreme Court explained that seminal decision in
Froud v. Celotex Corp., 456 N.E.2d 131, 134 (Ill.
1983): Where a death gives rise to two statutory actions,
“one permitting recovery of damages by the
decedent's estate under the Survival Act and the other
recovery by the next of kin under the Wrongful Death Act,
this court refused to impose, in addition, a common law
exaction against the defendant, under the label of exemplary
damages, which becomes a windfall for the plaintiff.”
See also Van Winkle v. Owens-Corning Fiverglass
Corp., 683 N.E.2d 985 ( Ill. App. 1997)(“Illinois
law is clear that punitive damages are not recoverable under
the Survival Act ...