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McCann v. Best Buy Co., Inc.

United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana

December 1, 2017

RICHARD MCCANN
v.
BEST BUY CO., INC. ET AL.

          RULING AND ORDER

          BRIAN A. JACKSON, CHIEF JUDGE.

         Before the Court is T.D. Farrell Construction, Inc.'s Motion to Dismiss Pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) (Doc. 10) and The Charter Oak Fire Insurance Company's Motion to Dismiss Pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) (Doc. 11). Third-party Defendants, T.D. Farrell Construction, Inc. ("T.D. Farrell") and The Charter Oak Fire Insurance Company ("Charter Oak") seek to dismiss the claims brought by third-party Plaintiff Best Buy Company, Inc. ("Best Buy") under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim. Best Buy filed an Opposition to the Motions to Dismiss. (Doc. 23). Charter Oak then filed a Reply in Support of the Motion to Dismiss. (Doc. 33). T.D. Farrell also filed a Reply in Support of the Motion to Dismiss. (Doc. 34). In response, Best Buy filed Sur-Replies in Opposition to the Motions to Dismiss. (Docs. 35, 36). Lastly, Charter Oak filed a Sur-Reply in Support of the Motion to Dismiss. (Doc. 37). The Court has jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Oral argument is not necessary. For the following reasons, the Motions to Dismiss (Docs. 10, 11) are DENIED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff Thomas McCann ("McCann") filed suit against Best Buy and Thomas Grace Construction, Inc. ("Thomas Grace") on June 29, 2015, which was removed to federal court on February 24, 2017. (Doc. 1). On May 25, 2017, McCann filed an amended complaint in which T.D. Farrell was added as an additional Defendant. (Doc. 38). McCann seeks to recover from Best Buy, T.D. Farrell, and Thomas Grace for injuries sustained on July 2, 2014, while remodeling a Best Buy store located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (Id. at ¶¶ 5-8). McCann alleges that he worked under the direction and supervision of Best Buy, T.D. Farrell, and Thomas Grace. (Id.). During the construction work, Best Buy and Thomas Grace allegedly directed McCann to remove and relocate a large interior wall with inadequate assistance in an area covered with construction debris. (Id. at ¶ 6). As he was performing this work, certain Best Buy employees purportedly caused the "large interior" wall to topple over onto McCann, causing his injuries. (Id. at ¶¶ 7, 10-11).

         On January 4, 2017, Best Buy was granted leave in the 19th Judicial District Court, State of Louisiana, to file a Third Party Demand against T.D. Farrell and Charter Oak. (Doc. 1-4). According to Best Buy, McCann was employed by Thomas Grace, which is the subcontractor on the Best Buy store remodeling project. (Id. at p. 3). Best Buy alleges that it entered into a "Lump Sum (LS) Remodel Construction Contract" ("the Construction Contract") with T.D. Farrell to act as general contractor on the Best Buy store remodeling project. (Id. at ¶ 3; Doc. 10-2). Best Buy further alleges that the Construction Contract between it and T.D. Farrell required T.D.

         Farrell "to fully defend, indemnify, and hold harmless Best Buy against any and all liability, claims, suits, actions, losses and expenses, including costs and attorney fees, relating to or arising out of any claim or demand ... by any employees or subcontractors performing work on the site who are injured during or arising out of the Best Buy store remodeling project. (Id. at ¶ 4). Moreover, Best Buy alleges that the Construction Contract required T.D. Farrell to name Best Buy as an additional insured on T.D. Farrell's general insurance policies to provide coverage to Best Buy for bodily injuries and damages such as the injuries allegedly sustained by McCann. (Id. at ¶ 5). Best Buy further alleges that it is entitled to defense and indemnity from the general liability insurance policy, "Commercial General Liability Policy" ("the Charter Oak Policy"), obtained by T.D. Farrell issued through Charter Oak. (Doc. 10-5). According to Best Buy, it is entitled to defense and indemnity from Charter Oak both as an additional insured under the Charter Oak Policy and the policy's purported obligation to provide contractual coverage to Best Buy for the indemnity provision contained in the Construction Contract. (Doc. 1-4 at ¶ 8). Best Buy seeks indemnity from T.D. Farrell and Charter Oak for any damages Best Buy must pay to McCann, as well as any expenses incurred defending against McCann's claims. (Id. at ¶ 10). Finally, Best Buy asserts that T.D. Farrell and Charter Oak are acting in bad faith by failing to defend it in this action. (Id. at ¶ 11).

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         A motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) tests the sufficiency of the complaint against the legal standard set forth in Rule 8, which requires "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). "To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). "Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief [is] ... a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense." Ashcroft, 556 U.S. at 679.

         "[F]acial plausibility" exists "when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id. at 678 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). Hence, the complaint need not set out "detailed factual allegations, " but something "more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action" is required. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. When conducting its inquiry, the Court "accepts all well-pleaded facts as true and views those facts in the light most favorable to the plaintiff." Bustos v. Martini Club Inc., 599 F.3d 458, 461 (5th Cir. 2010) (quotation marks omitted).

         Furthermore, in considering a Rule 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss, "the court may review the documents attached to the motion to dismiss, e.g., the contracts [at] issue here, where the complaint refers to the documents and they are central to the claim." Kane Enters, u. MacGregor (USA) Inc., 322 F.3d 371, 374 (5th Cir. 2003); see also Collins v. Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, 224 F.3d 496, 498-99 (5th Cir. 2000).

         III. DISCUSSION

         In support of their motions to dismiss, T.D. Farrell and Charter Oak attached the Construction Contract and the Charter Oak Policy at issue. (Docs. 10-2, 10-5).

         According to Section 8.15 of the Construction Contract ("the indemnity provision") between Best Buy and T.D. Farrell:

The Contractor shall indemnify and hold harmless the Owner [and the Owner's] . . . agents and employees from and against all claims, damages, losses, and expenses including attorney's fees arising on account of loss, claims, damages and expenses . . . because of bodily injury . . . sustained by any person . . . arising out of, resulting by or for Contractor in the course of fulfillment of Contractor's obligations ...

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