United States District Court, N.D. Georgia, Atlanta Division
OPINION & ORDER
Michael L. Brown United States District Judge.
Dixie Transport, Inc., Felix Milo Daley, and Grange Indemnity
Insurance Company move to dismiss Grange as a party defendant
and, alternatively, move to bifurcate the trial on the issues
of tort and contractual liabilities. (Dkt. 84.) Finding
neither request to have merit, the Court denies
case arises from a motor vehicle accident between Plaintiff
Guy Mitchell and Defendant Felix Daley that occurred on March
9, 2014, on I-75 South. (Dkt. 1 ¶ 23.) Defendant Daley
was driving a tractor-trailer truck owned by Defendant Dixie
Transport, Inc., and was an employee of Dixie at the time of
the crash. (Id. ¶ 50.) Plaintiff sued Felix
Milo Daley, the driver of the truck; Dixie Transport, Inc.,
his employer; and Grange Indemnity Insurance Company,
Dixie's insurance company in a single action. After a
failed mediation and unsuccessful attempts at settlement, a
denial of a motion for summary judgment based on res
judicata, and multiple extensions of time to complete
discovery, discovery has closed and Defendants now move to
dismiss Grange as a party defendant, contending that no legal
authority exists for it to be joined as a party in this
action. (Dkt. 84.)
Defendants' Failure to Comply with the Local Rules and
the Court's Standing Order
Court notes at the outset that Defendants' brief exceeds
the 25-page limit set by both the local rules and by this
Court's standing order. See LR, NDGa 7.1D.
Defendants have also not sought leave from the Court to file
excess pages. (See Dkt. 79 at 3 (“Parties
seeking an extension of the page limit must do so at least
five (5) days in advance of their filing deadline and should
explain with specificity the reasons necessitating the
extension.”).) In his response brief, Plaintiff pointed
out this failure, but Defendants, declining to file a reply
brief, did not address or attempt to remedy their
noncompliance. (See Dkt. 87 at 2-3.)
not a mere technicality, especially considering that
Plaintiff managed to address the entirety of Defendants'
excessive briefing within the prescribed page limit. As a
matter of fairness, the Court will not consider anything
beyond the required page limit. (See Dkt. 79 at 3
(“The Court will not consider any arguments made in
pages that exceed the Local Rules'
requirements.”).) This includes Defendants'
arguments regarding Daley's course and scope of
employment with Dixie and whether a plaintiff can join both
an insurer and the driver within the same action. The Court
disregards these points of argument.
both parties attached deposition excerpts and other documents
to their motions and briefing, the Court elects not to
consider these ancillary documents and declines to treat this
motion as one for summary judgment under Rule 56. See Day
v. Taylor, 400 F.3d 1272, 1275-76 (11th Cir. 2005)
(recognizing that a “district court generally must
convert a motion to dismiss into a motion for summary
judgment if it considers materials outside the
complaint”). The Court thus reviews Defendants'
motion under the usual motion to dismiss standard.
may dismiss a pleading for “failure to state a claim
upon which relief can be granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(6). At the motion to dismiss stage, “all
well-pleaded facts are accepted as true, and the reasonable
inferences therefrom are construed in the light most
favorable to the plaintiff.” Bryant v. Avado
Brands, Inc., 187 F.3d 1271, 1273 n.1 (11th Cir. 1999).
Even so, a complaint offering mere “labels and
conclusions” or a “formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action” is insufficient.
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555
survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain
sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state
a claim for relief that is plausible on its face.'
” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). Put another way, a
plaintiff must plead “factual content that allows the
court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is
liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. This
so-called “plausibility standard” is not a
probability requirement. But the plaintiff must allege enough
facts so that it is reasonable to expect that discovery will
lead to evidence supporting the claim. Id.
Motion to Dismiss
moved to dismiss “Grange Indemnity Insurance Company as
a party pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1) and (6) on the grounds that
there is no authority for Grange to be joined as a party in
this tort action with its insureds.” (Dkt. 84 at 1.) At
the outset, the Court notes that it is unclear why Defendants
have only now moved to dismiss Grange as a party defendant,
when Grange has been named as a party to this lawsuit from
its inception in February 2016 and Defendants have contested
that joinder from the very beginning. (Dkt. 8 at 3.)