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Chisesi Brothers Meat Packing Company, Inc. v. Transco Logistics, Co.

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

May 18, 2017

CHISESI BROTHERS MEAT PACKING COMPANY, INC.
v.
TRANSCO LOGISTICS CO., ET AL.

         SECTION "F"

          ORDER AND REASONS

          MARTIN L. C. FELDMAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the Court are two motions to dismiss: (1) Transco Logistics, Inc.'s and Transco Logistics, LLC's (Transco) Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss and (2) Travelers Property Casualty Company of America's Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss. For the following reasons, Trancso's motion is GRANTED IN PART and Travelers' motion is CONTINUED, to allow for supplemental briefing.

         Background

         This case arises out of an interstate shipment of a Metalquimia Movistick 5500 Boneless Injector machine (the injector) from New Jersey to Louisiana.

         Chisesi Brothers purchased the injector, which is a complex and specialized piece of equipment that is extremely limited in supply in the United States. On or about February 22, 2016, Transco transported the injector in a truck from its location in New Jersey to the Chisesi plant in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana.

         Chisesi alleges that the injector was in good condition before Transco loaded it onto the truck for delivery to Chisesi. However, Chisesi contends that when the injector arrived at its plant, the injector was severely damaged and missed several component parts.

         Chisesi alleges that the injector was negligently dropped during the loading, unloading, or transportation of the injector, all while in the care, custody, and control of Transco. This negligent handling caused extensive damaged to the injector. Moreover, Chisesi alleges that Transco engaged in even more wrongful conduct when it unloaded the injector at its plant. Chisesi contends that this caused additional component parts to break or become damaged during the unloading process at Chisesi's plant.

         Chisesi obtained an estimate to repair the injector from a local construction company, Diversified Construction, in the amount of $125, 867. After contacting the broker who arranged for the injector's transportation, the broker informed Chisesi that Transco held liability insurance with Travelers. This insurance policy allegedly covers the type of loss sustained by Chisesi; the broker provided Chisesi with the information to pursue a claim with Travelers. After receiving multiple repair estimates, Travelers allegedly failed to make any offer of settlement to Chisesi within 30 days of receiving the repair estimates.

         Chisesi originally filed its petition for damages in the 24thJudicial District Court in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana against Transco, and against Travelers under the Louisiana Direct Action Statute (LDAS). It alleged claims against Transco and Travelers for negligence and breach of contract and brought a claim against Travelers for bad faith in failing to make a written offer to settle with Chisesi within 30 days of proof of loss. The case was removed to this Court. Transco now moves this Court to dismiss the plaintiff's complaint, contending that the Carmack Amendment preempts the plaintiff's claims against it. Travelers also moves the Court to dismiss the plaintiff's claims against, contending that the plaintiff's claims are preempted by the Carmack Amendment and that the plaintiff has not properly established a right of action under Louisiana's Direct Action statute.

         I.

         Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure allows a party to move for dismissal of a complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Such a motion is rarely granted because it is viewed with disfavor. See Lowrey v. Tex. A & M Univ. Sys., 117 F.3d 242, 247 (5th Cir. 1997) (quoting Kaiser Aluminum & Chem. Sales, Inc. v. Avondale Shipyards, Inc., 677 F.2d 1045, 1050 (5th Cir. 1982)).

         Under Rule 8(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a pleading must contain a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678-79 (2009) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 8). "[T]he pleading standard Rule 8 announces does not require 'detailed factual allegations, ' but it demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation." Id. at 678 (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)).

         Thus, in considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the Court "accepts 'all well-pleaded facts as true, viewing them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.'" See Martin K. Eby Constr. Co. v. Dall. Area Rapid Transit, 369 F.3d 464 (5th Cir. 2004) (quoting Jones v. Greninger, 188 F.3d 322, 324 (5th Cir. 1999)). But, in deciding whether dismissal is warranted, the Court will not accept conclusory allegations in the complaint as true. Kaiser, 677 F.2d at 1050. Indeed, the Court must first identify allegations that are conclusory and thus not entitled to the assumption of truth. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678-79. A corollary: legal conclusions "must be supported by factual allegations." Id. at 678. ...


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