United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Texarkana Division
O. Hickey United States District Judge
the Court is Separate Defendants Dakota Shipley and Joanne
Shipley’s Motion to Dismiss and Alternatively Answer to
Plaintiff’s Complaint. (ECF No. 5). Plaintiff has filed
a response. (ECF No. 7). The Court finds this matter ripe for
December 15, 2015, this case was removed to this Court from
the Circuit Court of Miller County, Arkansas. (ECF No. 1).
Plaintiff’s Complaint arises from an automobile
collision that occurred on August 4, 2014. Plaintiff alleges
that each Defendant’s acts of negligence proximately
caused her injuries. Specific to the Separate Defendants who
filed this Motion to Dismiss, Plaintiff alleges that
Defendant Dakota Shipley was the driver of a vehicle that was
involved in the collision. Plaintiff further alleges that
this vehicle was owned by Defendant Joanne Shipley and that,
“as a result of the relationship of Defendant Dakota
Shipley and Defendant Joanna Shipley, all actions of
Defendant Dakota Shipley are…imputed to Defendant
Joanne Shipley.” (ECF No. 4, ¶ 25). Defendant
Joanne Shipley was a passenger in the vehicle at the time of
the accident and had allegedly given Defendant Dakota Shipley
permission to operate the vehicle.
form of Separate Defendants’ pleadings requires some
clarification. Rather than file a standalone motion to
dismiss, Separate Defendants filed a motion to dismiss and an
answer within the same document. The Motion to Dismiss and
Answer (ECF No. 5) states that Plaintiff’s Complaint
should be dismissed due to “insufficiency of process,
insufficiency of service of process, and…failure to
state facts upon which relief can be granted.” (ECF No.
5, ¶ 1). The Motion to Dismiss and Answer goes on to
state that the claims against Separate Defendant Joanne
Shipley should be dismissed because “there is no
specific relationship pled in Plaintiff’s Complaint
that would impute any actions of Separate Defendant Dakota
Shipley, to Separate Defendant Joanne Shipley.” (ECF
No. 5, ¶ 2). The brief (ECF No. 6) in support of the
motion addresses only the claims against Separate Defendant
Joanne Shipley and the “relationship” issue.
Accordingly, the Court’s analysis will be limited to
Court should grant a motion to dismiss if the plaintiff fails
to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
require a complaint to state “a short and plain
statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled
to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). When considering a
motion to dismiss, the Court assumes that all the facts in
the complaint are true. Leatherman v. Tarrant Cnty.
Narcotics Intelligence & Coordination Unit, 507 U.S.
163, 164 (1993). The Court is free, however, to ignore
“sweeping legal conclusions” and
“unwarranted inferences.” Wiles v. Capitol
Indem. Corp., 280 F.3d 868, 870 (8th Cir. 2002). The
Court may consider the complaint’s legal sufficiency,
but not the weight of the evidence supporting it.
Court should not require “heightened fact pleading of
specifics, but only enough facts to state a claim to relief
that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atlantic Corp.
v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). The plaintiff must
“nudge their claims across the line from conceivable to
plausible.” Id. “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.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
support of her Motion to Dismiss, Separate Defendant Joanne
Shipley states that Dakota Shipley was an adult at the time
of the collision and that “there is no theory of
negligent entrustment or any other legal theory pled in
Plaintiff's Complaint against Joanne Shipley that would
create a relationship for Dakota Shipley's conduct to be
imputed to her.” (ECF No. 6, p. 1). Separate
Defendant’s brief does not elaborate on these
statements or support these assertions with citations to
legal authority. In response to the Motion to Dismiss,
Plaintiff states that the Complaint “affirmatively
stated the need for [Separate Defendant Joanne Shipley] to be
included in the Complaint. Separate Defendant Joanne Shipley
was the registered owner of the vehicle in question at the
time of the incident; she has legal liability for the bodily
injury to the person of the Plaintiff.” Plaintiff does
not elaborate further or cite to any legal authority.
consideration, the Court finds that the Motion to Dismiss
should be denied. Plaintiff’s Complaint strains the
requirements of Rule 8, and Plaintiff’s response does
little to clarify the issue. Nonetheless, the facts pled in
the Complaint are sufficient to draw the inference that
Separate Defendant Joanne Shipley is liable for the
misconduct alleged in the Complaint. Specifically, Plaintiff
appears to be proceeding on a claim of negligent entrustment.
In Arkansas, the elements of negligent entrustment are
“1) the entrustee was incompetent, inexperienced, or
reckless; 2) the entrustor knew or had reason to know of the
entrustee’s conditions or proclivities; 3) there was an
entrustment of the chattel; 4) the entrustment created an
appreciable risk of the harm to the plaintiff and a
relational duty on the part of the defendant; and 5) the harm
to the plaintiff was proximately legally caused by the
negligence of the defendant.” Balentine v.
Sparkman, 327 Ark. 180, 184-85 (Ark. 1997). While these
elements are not pled with particularity in the Complaint,
Plaintiff has indicated that Separate Defendant Joanne
Shipley entrusted Separate Defendant Dakota Shipley to drive
her vehicle and that this entrustment proximately caused
injury to Plaintiff. At this stage in the proceedings, these
allegations are sufficient to survive dismissal.
reasons stated above, Defendant Joanne Shipley’s Motion
to Dismiss (ECF ...