United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Texarkana Division
O. Hickey United States District Judge
the Court is a Motion for Summary Judgment filed by
Defendant. ECF No. 16. Plaintiffs have responded. ECF. No.
23. The Court finds that this matter is ripe for the
were part of a group of hunters who were hunting wild hogs at
approximately 1:00 a.m. as part of a hog hunting competition.
As the hunt was coming to an end, the hunters attempted to
round up their hunting dogs near a two-lane road and load
them into their crates. The hunters were yelling at the dogs
to come to them. Plaintiff Jonathan Jones was the owner of a
dog named Tyrone, and Plaintiff Christopher Maxwell was the
owner of a dog named Venom. The dogs were on the opposite
side of the road when the hunters realized that a
tractor-trailer was traveling on the road. The driver of the
tractor-trailer, Billy Young, was an employee of Defendant
Duane Livingston Trucking, Inc., and he had just departed an
animal food manufacturing facility.
hunters first spotted the tractor-trailer when it was
approximately a half mile away. As the tractor-trailer
approached, the hunters flashed their coon lights and
spotlights in an attempt to get the tractor-trailer to stop
because the dogs were near the road. Plaintiff Maxwell
testified that “[the dogs] were all over and
everything.” ECF No. 16-1, p. 8, line 13. He further
testified that “[w]e were hollering and dogs were
coming back to us, and were trying to get 'em caught and
flash [the driver] and everything at the same time.”
ECF No. 16-1, p. 8, lines 13-16. Two dogs crossed the road,
followed by Tyrone and Venom. Both Tyrone and Venom were
struck by the tractor-trailer as they crossed the road.
speed limit on the road is 55 miles per hour. The parties
disagree as to exactly how fast the tractor-trailer was
traveling when it hit the dogs. Billy Young testified that he
was traveling approximately 45 miles per hour; however,
Plaintiffs theorize that Young was traveling at an
“excessive rate of speed” ECF No. 23-2, p. 19,
lines 10-17. There were no streetlights near the road and it
was dark at the time of the incident. Plaintiff Jones
testified that it was drizzling or sprinkling rain at the
time of the incident. ECF No. 16-2, p. 4, line 8. Young
testified that he saw something black in the road
approximately twelve to fifteen feet before he hit the dogs.
Young further testified that he “saw lights later on
after [he] got down the road . . . saw somebody come out in
the road with a light bar on.” ECF No. 23-3, p. 4,
lines 7-8. Young thought this could have been hunters that
were drinking and had guns, so he did not stop. ECF No. 23-3,
p. 4, lines 9-10; ECF No. 23-3, p. 5, lines 10-15.
minutes later, a second truck approached the scene and
stopped upon being flagged down by the hunters. The driver of
the second truck was Ray Squires. Squires testified that he
saw lights in the road and thought some people were having
vehicle problems. ECF No. 23-4, p. 2, lines 21-22. After he
stopped, Plaintiff Jones climbed on the side of Squires'
truck and demanded that Squires get on his radio and call the
driver of the first truck. Squires, however, had no way of
contacting Young. Squires testified that he could see two
dead animals in the road, and that he accidentally stopped
his truck on one of them.
the encounter with Squires, Plaintiffs dragged what was left
of the dogs to the ditch, left them there, slept for a couple
of hours, and then returned to hunting with other dogs.
Plaintiff Maxwell testified that he has trouble sleeping and
has lost weight as a result of the incident. Plaintiff Jones
testified that he cannot get the scene of the incident out of
theory of vicarious liability, Plaintiffs allege claims of
negligence, destruction of property,  and outrage. Plaintiffs also
seek punitive damages against Defendant. Plaintiffs jointly
pray for judgment against Defendant in the amount of $3, 015,
000.00. Defendant asserts that it is entitled to summary
judgment on all Plaintiffs' claims.
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provide that when a party
moves for summary judgment:
The court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows
that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and
the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a); Krenik v. Cnty. of LeSueur,
47 F.3d 953 (8th Cir. 1995). The Supreme Court has issued the
following guidelines for trial courts to determine whether
this standard has been satisfied:
The inquiry performed is the threshold inquiry of determining
whether there is a need for trial-whether, in other words,
there are genuine factual issues that properly can be
resolved only by a finder of fact because they ...