United States District Court, D. New Jersey
MRS. RESSLER'S FOOD PRODUCTS, Plaintiff,
KZY LOGISTICS, LLC; LONGITUDE TRUCKING and/or LONGITUDE LOGISTICS, LLC,, Defendants.
KZY LOGISTICS, LLC, Third-Party Plaintiff,
BLUE GRACE LOGISTICS; NATIONAL LIABILITY & FIRE INSURANCE COMPANY, Third-Party Defendants.
WILLIAM J. MARTINI, U.S.D.J.
Mrs. Ressler's Food Products (“Ressler”)
brings this action against KZY Logistics, LLC
(“KZY”) and Longitude Logistics, LLC
“Defendants”), alleging alternative claims of
breach of contract, negligence and disregard of duties and
obligations under the Carmack Amendment, 49 U.S.C. §
11706, et seq., in connection with the spoliation of
a food products shipment. KZY brings a cross-claim against
Longitude, a counterclaim against Ressler, and a third-party
action against Blue Grace Logistics (“Blue
Grace”), National Liability & Fire Insurance
Company (“Insurer”) and Thermo King Corporation
(“Thermo”) (collectively “Third-Party
Defendants”), alleging that they are primarily
responsible for Ressler's loss. This matter comes before
the Court on Blue Grace's motion to dismiss KZY's
third-party complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6). There was no oral argument. Fed.R.Civ.P. 78(b). For
the reasons set forth below, Blue Grace's motion to
dismiss is GRANTED.
is a manufacturer of deli food products with its principal
place of business in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Compl.
¶ 1, ECF No. 1. KZY is a common motor carrier
incorporated in New Jersey, with its principal place of
business in Fairfield, New Jersey. Id. at ¶ 2.
Longitude is a common motor carrier incorporated in
California, with its principal place of business in Anaheim
Hills, California. Id. at ¶ 3. Blue Grace is a
broker of motor carrier services with business across the
United States. Mem. of Law in Supp. of Mot. to Dismiss
(“Blue Grace's Mot.”) 2, ECF No. 21.
alleges that it retained Blue Grace to coordinate a shipment
of its food product from Pennsylvania to California in March
2015. Compl. at ¶ 7. Blue Grace then retained Longitude
to ship the product. Longitude, in turn, retained KZY to ship
the product. Id. at ¶¶ 8-9. Ressler
alleges that KZY understood that the shipment required
special arrangements to ensure proper delivery. Id.
at ¶ 10. Nonetheless, on March 17, 2015, Ressler's
shipment arrived in California over the proper temperature,
the sole responsibility of which belonged to KZY.
Id. at ¶ 11. Ressler's customer rejected
the shipment, which was returned to Ressler and subsequently
destroyed, resulting in a loss of $69, 992.96. Id.
at ¶¶ 13-15.
sues KZY and Longitude for recovery of that loss pursuant to
the Carmack Amendment. Id. at ¶ 18. In
response, KZY denies liability, cross-claims that Longitude
is primarily liable, counterclaims that Ressler was unjustly
enriched by KZY's completion of delivery, and alleges
third-party claims against Insurer, Blue Grace and Thermo.
See First Am. Answer; Crossclaim; Counterclaim &
Third Party Compl. (“KZY Compl.”), ECF No. 14.
KZY alleges, in part, that Blue Grace scheduled and
coordinated the delivery of the shipment and it, therefore,
received a benefit when KZY completed delivery without
compensation. See id. at 6 (¶¶ 3-5).
Grace now moves to dismiss KZY's third-party claim
against it, arguing that KZY failed to state a claim and, in
the alternative, that federal law preempts KZY's claim.
See Blue Grace's Mot. at 1. Specifically, Blue
Grace makes three arguments: (1) KZY's complaint lacks
the requisite particularity under federal pleading standards,
id. at 5-6; (2) KZY's unjust enrichment claim
fails because there was no direct relationship between KZY
and Blue Grace, from which Blue Grace derived a benefit,
id. at 9; and (3) the Federal Aviation
Administration Authorization Act (“FAAAA”), 49
U.S.C. § 14501(c)(1), and the Interstate Commerce
Commission Termination Act (“ICCTA”), 49 U.S.C.
§ 14501(b), preempt KZY's state-law quasi-contract
claim, id. at 10-13.
response, KZY filed a terse, one-page opposition, in which it
inexcusably cites no law or relevant precedent. See
Mem. of Law in Supp. of KZY's Opp'n (“KZY's
Opp'n”), ECF No. 22. KZY conclusively states that
Blue Grace derived a benefit from KZY's delivery and that
“it is of no consequence that the contract was not
directly with KZY and Blue Grace, nor that Longitude was not
allowed to contract out to KZY.” Id.
Furthermore, KZY claims that Blue Grace's motion is
premature because KZY believes that Blue Grace did not pay
Longitude for the delivery and because Longitude has not yet
filed an answer to the original complaint. Id. KZY
did not address Blue Grace's federal preemption argument.
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) provides for dismissal of a
complaint, in whole or in part, if the plaintiff fails to
state a claim upon which relief can be granted. The moving
party bears the burden of showing that no claim has been
stated. Hedges v. United States, 404 F.3d 744, 750
(3d Cir. 2005). In deciding a motion to dismiss under Rule
12(b)(6), a court must take all allegations in the complaint
as true and view them in the light most favorable to the
plaintiff. See Warth v. Seldin, 422 U.S. 490, 501
(1975); Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts, Inc. v. Mirage
Resorts Inc., 140 F.3d 478, 483 (3d Cir. 1998).
a complaint need not contain detailed factual allegations,
“a plaintiff's obligation to provide the
‘grounds' of his ‘entitlement to relief'
requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic
recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not
do.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544,
555 (2007). Thus, the factual allegations must be sufficient
to raise a plaintiff's right to relief above a
speculative level, such that it is “plausible on its
face.” See Id. at 570; see also Umland v.
PLANCO Fin. Serv., Inc., 542 F.3d 59, 64 (3d Cir. 2008).
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) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at
556). While “[t]he plausibility standard is not akin to
a ‘probability requirement' . . . it asks for more
than a sheer possibility.” Id.
Court will first address generally the federal preemption
provisions found in the FAAAA and the ICCTA. The Court will
then turn to Blue Grace's preemption argument. In
addition, the federal preemption provision of the Carmack
Amendment compels further consideration of Ressler's
apparent breach of contract and negligence claims. The Court
ultimately concludes that federal law preempts KZY's
unjust enrichment claim and Ressler's claims sounding in
breach of contract and negligence.
Federal Preemption Under ...