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Dennis Carlton v. the Hertz Corporation

January 28, 2013

DENNIS CARLTON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
THE HERTZ CORPORATION, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Jesus G. Bernal United States District Judge

ORDER (1) GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS (DOC. NO. 6) WITHOUT LEAVE TO AMEND [Motion filed on September 17, 2012]

On January 28, 2013, a hearing was held on Defendant The Hertz Corporation's Motion to Dismiss ("MTD") (Doc. No. 6) against Plaintiff Dennis Carlton. Having considered all papers and the arguments presented at the hearing in support of and in opposition to the MTD, the Court GRANTS Defendant's Motion to Dismiss.

I. BACKGROUND

A. Procedural History

Plaintiff Dennis Carlton, a resident of California, brings this action in diversity against Defendant The Hertz Corporation, a corporation incorporated in Delaware with its principal place of business in New Jersey. (Complaint, Doc. No. 1, ¶¶ 1-3.) On August 21, 2012, Plaintiff Dennis Carlton filed a Complaint against Defendant The Hertz Corporation for personal injuries that occurred on Defendant's bus. On September 17, 2012, Defendant filed a Motion to Dismiss ("MTD"), contending Plaintiff's claims are time-barred by the applicable California statute of limitations. (Doc. No. 6.) On December 17, 2012, Plaintiff opposed Defendant's MTD, arguing that this Court should apply Florida's statute of limitations, rather than California's. (Opposition to Defendant's Motion to Dismiss ("Opposition"), Doc. No. 16.) On December 26, 2012, Defendant filed its Reply, which acknowledged that the Court must apply California's "governmental interest approach" to determine the applicable choice of law but concluded such analysis results in the application of California's statute of limitations. (Reply at 1-2, Doc. No. 17.)

B. Factual Background

On October 29, 2009, Plaintiff was on board a courtesy bus owned and operated by Defendant at Miami International Airport. (Complaint, ¶ 5.) Plaintiff alleges that the bus driver "negligently, recklessly, and carelessly stopped the bus suddenly and abruptly." (Complaint, ¶ 6.) As a result, Plaintiff alleges he was thrown headfirst into the bus windshield, causing him severe physical and mental injuries. (Complaint, ¶¶ 6-11.) Plaintiff demands a jury trial and seeks general and special damages. (Complaint at 3.)

II. LEGAL STANDARD

A. Dismissal Under Rule 12(b)(6)

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) allows a party to bring a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Rule 12(b)(6) is read in conjunction with Rule 8(a), which requires only a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief. Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2); Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957) (holding that the Federal Rules require that a plaintiff provide "'a short and plain statement of the claim' that will give the defendant fair notice of what the plaintiff's claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.") (quoting Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2)); Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). When evaluating a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, a court must accept all material allegations in the complaint -- as well as any reasonable inferences to be drawn from them -- as true and construe them in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. See Doe v. United States, 419 F.3d 1058, 1062 (9th Cir. 2005); ARC Ecology v. U.S. Dep't of Air Force, 411 F.3d 1092, 1096 (9th Cir. 2005); Moyo v. Gomez, 32 F.3d 1382, 1384 (9th Cir. 1994).

A statute of limitations defense "may be raised by a motion for dismissal ... [i]f the running of the statute is apparent on the face of the complaint." Jablon v. Dean Witter & Co., 614 F.2d 677, 682 (9th Cir.1980). Since the complaint states when and where the accident occurred and the residences of the parties, the Court can determine the running of the statute from the face of the complaint. (Complaint at 1-2.)

III. DISCUSSION

A. Choice of Law

The parties disagree on whether the California or Florida statute of limitations applies in this case. In diversity cases, a district court must apply the choice of law analysis of the state in which it sits. Klaxon Co. v. Stentor Elec. Mfg. Co., 313 U.S. 487, 496 (1941); Waggoner v. Snow, Becker, Kroll, Klaris & Krauss, 991 F.2d 1501, 1506 (9th Cir. 1993). This is a ...


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