United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Texarkana Division
LIAM HASTINGS; et al. PLAINTIFFS
FCA U.S. LLC f/k/a/ CHRYSLER GROUP, LLC; et al. DEFENDANTS
O. Hickey United States District Judge
the Court is Plaintiffs' Motion for Dismissal Without
Prejudice. (ECF No. 21). Separate Defendant Quadratec, Inc.
(“Quadratec”) filed a response. (ECF No. 22).
Plaintiffs filed a reply. (ECF No. 23). No other party has
responded, and the time to do so has passed. See
Local Rule 7.2(b). The Court finds the matter ripe for
10, 2018, Plaintiffs filed this products liability and
negligence action against Separate Defendants Quadratec; FCA
U.S. LLC; and Lonnie McMurray's Four-Wheel-Drive-Center,
Inc. On June 1, 2018, Quadratec filed its answer to
Plaintiffs' complaint and asserted crossclaims against
Separate Defendants FCA U.S. LLC and Lonnie McMurray's
Four-Wheel-Drive-Center, Inc. On July 6, 2018, Plaintiffs
filed the instant motion pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 41(a)(2). Plaintiffs ask the Court to dismiss their
claims against Defendants without prejudice.
10, 2018, Quadratec responded to the instant motion.
Quadratec states that it denies that Plaintiffs'
complaint states a claim or that Plaintiffs' complaint
was timely filed. Quadratec also states that on June 19,
2018, it sent Plaintiffs a spoliation notice and requested
that Plaintiffs preserve certain evidence, but Plaintiffs did
not respond. Quadratec states further that it will only agree
to dismissal of Plaintiffs' claims without prejudice if
Plaintiffs are directed to preserve evidence as set forth in
the June 19, 2018, spoliation notice. Quadratec also asks the
Court to direct Plaintiffs to, prior to dismissal, provide
Quadratec with all documentation related to their alleged
purchase of the vehicle and suspension kit in question and
all contacts and communications between Plaintiffs and the
entity from which Plaintiffs purchased the suspension
Quadratec finally requests that, if the Court dismisses
Plaintiffs' claims without prejudice, that the Court also
dismiss without prejudice Quadratec's crossclaims against
the other Defendants.
Court will first address whether to grant Plaintiffs'
motion for dismissal of their claims without prejudice. If
the Court answers that question in the affirmative, it will
then determine whether to impose any of the conditions
requested by Quadratec.
Dismissal of Claims
Rule of Civil Procedure 41 governs the dismissal of actions.
An action may be dismissed by court order at the
plaintiff's request, on terms the court considers proper.
A decision whether to allow a party to voluntarily dismiss a
case rests upon the sound discretion of the court. In
exercising that discretion, a court should consider factors
such as whether the party has presented a proper explanation
for its desire to dismiss; whether a dismissal would result
in a waste of judicial time and effort; and whether a
dismissal will prejudice the defendants. Likewise, a party is
not permitted to dismiss merely to escape an adverse decision
nor to seek a more favorable forum.
Thatcher v. Hanover Ins. Grp., Inc., 659 F.3d 1212,
1213-14 (8th Cir. 2011).
consideration, the Court finds that the balance of these
factors weighs in favor of granting Plaintiffs' motion
for voluntary dismissal. Although Plaintiffs' motion does
not set forth an explanation for their desire to dismiss,
their reply brief states that minor children involved in this
case are undergoing additional treatment and, accordingly,
Plaintiffs and their counsel decided it would be best to seek
dismissal so that the additional treatment could be completed
before proceeding with litigation. The Court is satisfied
with this explanation.
is no indication that Plaintiffs seek dismissal based on a
desire to escape an adverse decision or to seek a more
favorable forum, and Defendants have not argued as such. The
Court has issued no rulings-adverse or otherwise-in this case
which Plaintiffs could be said to seek dismissal to escape,
and Plaintiffs initially filed the case in this Court.
Presumably, if they choose to refile, they would do so in
this Court, as well.
of this case would not result in a waste of judicial time or
resources, as the case is in its early stages, with little,
if any, discovery having taken place. As previously
indicated, the only judicial resources expended on this case
thus far have been issuing an Initial Scheduling Order and
deciding the instant motion.
do not argue that they would be prejudiced by dismissal. At
most, Quadratec states that it appears that Plaintiffs intend
to refile their lawsuit at a later date. Any harm to
Defendants from a second action would be minimal. See
Id. at 1214 (“Prejudice does not arise simply
because a second action has been or may be filed against the
defendant, which is often the whole point in dismissing a
case without prejudice.”). Defendants have not been
required to expend a significant amount of time or resources
in defending this case, as they have only filed pleadings
thus far. Thus, the Court finds that Defendants would not be
unfairly prejudiced by dismissal.
above-discussed reasons, the Court finds that dismissal
without prejudice is appropriate. As a result, the Court
finds that Plaintiffs' claims against Defendants, and
Quadratec's crossclaims ...