United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
STEPHEN MCNUTT, Administrator of the Estate of Ronald D. McNutt, Deceased, Plaintiff,
R&S METALS LLC, Defendant/Crossclaim Defendant, and AECOM ENERGY & CONSTRUCTION, INC.; ALBERICI CONSTRUCTORS, INC. and WASHINGTON GROUP-ALBERICI JOINT VENTURE, Defendants/Crossclaim Plaintiffs/Third-Party Plaintiffs,
JAMES R. LANGSTON TRUCKING and RIVER METALS RECYCLING, LLC, Third-Party Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
PHIL GILBERT DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on a variety of motions to
dismiss third-party claims pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6). Before getting to the substance of the
motions, the Court reviews the genesis of this case.
case arose from an accident that occurred in connection with
hauling scrap metal from a construction project. There is no
indication any party disagrees with the basic facts set forth
Energy & Construction, Inc. (“Aecom”) and
Alberici Constructors, Inc. (“Alberici”) combined
for a joint venture, Washington Group-Alberici Joint Venture
(“WGAJV”), to perform construction work on the
Olmsted Dam in Olmsted, Illinois. WGAJV farmed out the job of
removing scrap metal from the worksite to R&S Metals LLC,
doing business as Southern Metal Processing (“Southern
Metal”), which then itself contracted with River Metals
Recycling LLC (“River Metals”) to haul the
material away. In turn, River Metals hired James R. Langston
Trucking (“Langston Trucking”) to do the heavy
lifting-actually moving the scrap metal from the dam worksite
to the River Metals facility. The plaintiff's decedent,
Ronald D. McNutt, was a Langston Trucking employee.
March 19, 2018, McNutt transported a load of scrap metal
pipes on a flatbed trailer from the dam worksite to the River
Metals facility. While McNutt was unloading the scrap metal
at River Metals, the pipes rolled off the trailer and crushed
him. He did not survive.
estate sued Aecom, Alberici, WGAJV, and Southern Metal in
wrongful death and survival actions. In turn, Aecom,
Alberici, and WGAJV (collectively, the “JV
Defendants”) brought third-party claims against
Langston Trucking, Southern Metal,  and River Metals for
contribution and implied indemnity. They also sued Southern
Metal for breach of contract and express indemnity.
motions to dismiss addressed in this order concern only the
• Southern Metal's motion to dismiss the third-party
claims for breach of contract (Count VI), express indemnity
(Count VII), and implied indemnity (Count VIII) (Doc. 46).
The JV Defendants have responded to the motion (Doc. 56);
• River Metals's motion to dismiss the third-party
claims for contribution (Count III) and implied indemnity
(Count IV) (Doc. 51). The JV Defendants have responded to the
motion (Doc. 55); and
• Langston Trucking's motion to dismiss the
third-party claims for implied indemnity (Count II) (Doc.
57). The JV Defendants have responded to the motion (Doc.
64), and Langston Trucking has replied to that response (Doc.
third-party defendants raise some common issues, which the
Court will address first before turning to issues unique to
the third-party defendants ask the Court to dismiss various
claims pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6)
for failure to state a claim for which relief can be granted.
When considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the Court
accepts as true all allegations in the complaint. Bell
Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). To
avoid dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a
claim, a complaint must contain a “short and plain
statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled
to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). This requirement is
satisfied if the complaint (1) describes the claim in
sufficient detail to give the defendant fair notice of what
the claim is and the grounds upon which it rests and (2)
plausibly suggests that the plaintiff has a right to relief
above a speculative level. Bell Atl., 550 U.S. at
555; see Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009); EEOC v. Concentra Health Servs., 496 F.3d
773, 776 (7th Cir. 2007). “A claim has facial
plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that
allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the
defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citing Bell Atl.,
550 U.S. at 556). “Determining whether a complaint
states a plausible claim for relief will . . . be a
context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to
draw on its judicial experience and common sense.”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679.
Bell Atlantic, the Supreme Court rejected the more
expansive interpretation of Rule 8(a)(2) that “a
complaint should not be dismissed for failure to state a
claim unless it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can
prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would
entitle him to relief, ” Conley v. Gibson, 355
U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957). Bell Atl., 550 U.S. at
561-63; Concentra Health Servs., 496 F.3d at 777.
Now “it is not enough for a complaint to avoid
foreclosing possible bases for relief; it must actually
suggest that the plaintiff has a right to relief . . . by
providing allegations that ‘raise a right to relief
above the speculative level.'” Concentra Health
Servs., 496 F.3d at 777 (quoting Bell Atl., 550
U.S. at 555).
Bell Atlantic did not do away with the liberal
federal notice pleading standard. Airborne Beepers &
Video, Inc. v. AT&T Mobility LLC, 499 F.3d 663, 667
(7th Cir. 2007). A complaint still need not contain detailed
factual allegations, Bell Atl., 550 U.S. at 555, and
it remains true that “[a]ny district judge (for that
matter, any defendant) tempted to write ‘this complaint
is deficient because it does not contain . . .' should
stop and think: What rule of law requires a
complaint to contain that allegation?” Doe v.
Smith, 429 F.3d 706, 708 (7th Cir. 2005) (emphasis in
original). Nevertheless, a complaint must contain “more
than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of
the elements of a cause of action will not do.”
Bell Atl., 550 U.S. at 555. If the factual detail of
a complaint is “so sketchy that the complaint does not
provide the type of notice of the claim to which the
defendant is entitled under Rule 8, ” it is subject to
dismissal. Airborne Beepers, 499 F.3d at 667.
Failure to Plead ...