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Cisneros v. Phillips

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


September 24, 2009

CAMERINO GUERRERO CISNEROS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
DRENA C. PHILLIPS; C.R. ENGLAND, INC.; AND DOES 1-50 INCLUSIVE, DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gary S. Austin United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR LEAVE OF THE COURT TO FILE THIRD-PARTY COMPLAINT

(Doc. 8)

I. Introduction

Pending before the court is Defendant, C.R. England Inc.'s Motion for Leave to File a Third-Party Complaint filed on August 28, 2009. (Doc. 8). No opposition to the motion has been filed. The Court has examined the motion and has determined that this matter is suitable for decision without oral argument pursuant to Local Rule 78-230(h). The hearing scheduled for September 25, 2009, was vacated. Upon examining the motion and the Third-Party Complaint, the motion is GRANTED.

II. Procedural Background

Plaintiff, Camerino Guerrero Cisneros ("Plaintiff"), filed this action to recover damages for injuries he allegedly suffered during a car accident that occurred on May 11, 2007, at the intersection of Conejo Avenue and Walnut Avenue in the County of Fresno, state of California.

Plaintiff was a passenger in a 1992 Mercury Topaz owned by Steven Carney and driven by Luis Herrara Tapia, when the car collided with a tractor trailer. The tractor trailer was owned by Defendant C.R. England Inc., and was driven by Drena Phillips. The Mercury Topaz was allegedly damaged and Plaintiff was taken to the hospital. He allegedly suffered injuries resulting in the need for extended medical care.

Plaintiff filed the instant Complaint in the Fresno County Superior Court on April 27, 2009, alleging personal injuries and property damage and seeking compensatory damages. Defendant, C.R. England, Inc., filed a notice of removal pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1441 on June 11, 2009.*fn1 C.R. England, Inc., is seeking leave of the Court to file a Third-Party Complaint against Luis Herrara Tapia, the driver of the Mercury Topaz, and Steven Carney, the owner of the Mercury Topaz. In the Third-Party Complaint, C.R. England, Inc., alleges causes of action for indemnity, apportionment of fault, declaratory relief, and negligence against all third-party defendants.

III. Discussion

Fed.R.Civ.P. 14(a) provides for service of a third-party impleader complaint upon a person not a party to the action who is or may be liable to [the original defendant] for all or part of the claim against it. Defendant need not obtain leave of the court to serve and file a third-party complaint, if is it filed within 10 days after defendant serves its original answer to the complaint in the main action. Fed. R. Civ. Proc. 14(a)(1). In all other circumstances, leave of the court to serve and file a third party complaint must be sought by motion. Fed. R. Civ. Proc. 14(a)(1).

The purpose of impleader is to promote judicial efficiency by eliminating the need for the defendant to bring a separate action against the parties secondarily or derivatively liable to the defendant on account of the plaintiff's claim. Southwest Admin., Inc. v. Rozay's Transfer, 791 F. 2d 769, 777 (9th Cir. 1986). The decision whether to permit a third party claim under Rule 14 is left to the sound discretion of the trial court. Id.

In this case, C.R. England, Inc., is attempting bring an action against the driver and owner of the vehicle that plaintiff was a passenger in at the time of the accident. These third-party defendants may be liable for all or part of the claim against C.R. England, Inc., in the event that liability is established. Therefore, the requirements of Rule 14 have been met.

IV. Conclusion

Accordingly, Defendant's Motion for Leave of the Court to File a Third-Party Complaint is GRANTED. C.R. England, Inc., shall serve Luis Herrara Tapia, and Steven Carney with the Third-Party Complaint within thirty (30) days from the date of this order.

IT IS SO ORDERED.


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