United States District Court, D. New Jersey
FIREMAN'S FUND INSURANCE COMPANY, a/s/o S.L. MANAGEMENT GROUP LLC and 6 AIRPORT ROAD, LLC, Plaintiff,
360 STEEL ERECTORS, INC., MONMOUTH EQUIPMENT SALES CO. INC., BLUESCOPE BUILDINGS NORTH AMERICA, INC., and VARCO PRUDEN BUILDINGS, a division of BlueScope Buildings North America, Inc., Defendants.
WILLIAM J. MARTINI, U.S.D.J.
Fireman's Fund Insurance Company brings this action
against 360 Steel Erectors, Inc. (“360 Steel”),
Monmouth Equipment Sales Company, Inc.
(“Monmouth”), BlueScope Buildings North America,
Inc. (“BlueScope”) and an unincorporated division
of BlueScope, Varco Pruden Buildings (“VP”),
alleging negligence and breach of contract claims, in
connection with Defendants' purported faulty construction
of an airport hangar. This matter comes before the Court on
Defendant BlueScope's motions to dismiss Defendants 360
Steel and Monmouth's (collectively
“Co-Defendants”) crossclaims for contribution and
indemnification, and on Co-Defendants' motions to amend
their pleadings. There was no oral argument. Fed.R.Civ.P.
78(b). For the reasons set forth below, BlueScope's
motions to dismiss are GRANTED in part and
DENIED in part. Co-Defendants' motions
to amend are also GRANTED in part and
DENIED in part.
is an insurance company incorporated in Illinois and is the
subrogee of S.L. Management Group, LLC (“SL”) and
6 Airport Road, LLC (“the insureds”). Second Am.
Compl. (“2AC”) ¶ 1, ECF No. 59. 360 Steel
and Monmouth are construction businesses incorporated in New
Jersey. Id. ¶¶ 2-3. BlueScope is a
Missouri corporation that produces unassembled,
pre-engineered building components. Id. ¶ 4. VP
is an unincorporated subdivision of BlueScope that furnished
building components to SL. See BlueScope's Mem.
of Law in Supp. of Mot. to Dismiss 360 Steel's Crossclaim
(“BlueScope's 360 Mem.”) 1 n.1, ECF No. 69-1.
matter arises out of the collapse of an airport hangar in
Morristown, New Jersey. In December 2013, Plaintiff's
insureds contracted with Monmouth to construct an airport
hangar at 6 Airport Road. 2AC ¶ 9. Monmouth, in turn,
subcontracted with 360 Steel to perform the steel erection of
the hangar. Id. ¶ 10. The insureds purchased
pre-engineered metal components from BlueScope for the
construction of the hangar. See Op. 2, ECF No. 86.
On January 16, 2015, the hangar's steel framework
collapsed during construction, causing substantial damage,
including severe injuries to one worker. See id.;
2AC ¶ 12. Plaintiff paid its insureds $1, 379, 511.95 in
claims, representing the insureds' damages caused by the
collapse. 2AC ¶ 15.
filed suit against 360 Steel and Monmouth, alleging
negligence against both in their participation of the
hangar's faulty construction. Id. ¶¶
17-23. Plaintiff also alleged a breach of contract claim
against BlueScope for failing to pay its share of costs
incurred by the parties in preserving evidence of the
collapse. Id. ¶¶ 24-30. In its answer,
Monmouth filed crossclaims against 360 Steel and BlueScope
for contribution and common law indemnification. See
Monmouth's Cross-Claims 9-10, ECF No. 60. 360 Steel filed
similar crossclaims against Monmouth and BlueScope, with an
additional claim for contractual indemnification.
See 360 Steel's Cross-Claims ¶¶ 16-23,
ECF No. 63.
now moves to dismiss all of Co-Defendants' crossclaims,
arguing that their common law indemnification claims fail
because their pleadings do not allege a special legal
relationship between BlueScope and either 360 Steel or
Monmouth. See BlueScope's 360 Mem. 10-12;
BlueScope's Mem. of Law in Supp. of Mot. to Dismiss
Monmouth's Crossclaims (“BlueScope's Mon.
Mem.”) 6-9, ECF No. 70-1. BlueScope argues that 360
Steel's contractual indemnification claim fails because
it does not allege the existence of a contract between it and
BlueScope. See BlueScope's 360 Mem. at 7-10.
BlueScope further argues that Co-Defendants' crossclaims
for contribution fail because they do not allege facts
sufficient to establish how BlueScope is jointly liable with
Co-Defendants for Plaintiff's damages. See
BlueScope's 360 Mem. at 12-15; BlueScope's Mon. Mem.
Co-Defendants respond by submitting that discovery undertaken
by the parties in a related state-court personal injury case,
in which a 360 Steel employee filed suit for injuries
suffered from the hangar's collapse, establishes
BlueScope's liability. See Monmouth's Mem.
of Law in Opp'n to BlueScope's Mot. to Dismiss
(“Mon. Opp'n”) 2- 6, ECF No. 74-1; Br. in
Supp. of 360 Steel's Opp'n to BlueScope's Mot. to
Dismiss (“360 Opp'n”) 7-13, ECF No.
77-2. Specifically, deposition testimony from
the personal injury case suggests that the hangar components
produced by BlueScope potentially contained design defects.
See Mon. Opp'n at 1-2, 6; 360 Opp'n at 6-7.
Both Co-Defendants submit that their crossclaims plead
sufficient facts to survive BlueScope's motion to
dismiss; however, both also seek to amend their pleadings
with more facts revealed during discovery in the personal
injury case. See Mon. Opp'n at 6-8; 360
Opp'n at 14-17. Monmouth attached to its moving papers a
proposed amended answer and crossclaim, specifically alleging
design defects in BlueScope's components. See
Am. Answer to Second Am. Compl. & Cross-Claims
(“Mon.'s Proposed Am.”) 11-12, ¶¶
13-16, ECF No. 74-6. 360 Steel seeks leave from the Court to
file an amended pleading, but did not include a proposed
amendment with its filing. See 360 Opp'n at 17.
reply briefs, BlueScope opposes Co-Defendants' motions to
amend, arguing that any such amendments would be futile.
See BlueScope's Reply in Supp. of Mot. to
Dismiss 360 Steel's Crossclaim (“BlueScope's
360 Reply”) 19-22, ECF No. 80; BlueScope's Reply in
Supp. of Mot. to Dismiss Monmouth's Crossclaim
(“BlueScope's Mon. Reply”) 12-13, ECF No. 81.
BlueScope also argues that the Court should not consider
certain factual allegations advanced by Co-Defendants for the
first time in their opposition briefs because they are
extraneous to their pleadings. See BlueScope's
360 Reply at 1-2; BlueScope's Mon. Reply at 1-4.
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) provides for the 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.
Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a)(2) provides, “[A] party
may amend its pleading only with the opposing party's
written consent or the court's leave. The court should
freely give leave when justice so requires.” Local
Civil Rule 7.1(f) for the District of New Jersey provides,
“Upon filing a motion for leave to file an amended
complaint or answer . . ., the moving party shall attach to
the motion a copy of the proposed pleading or amendments and
retain the original until the Court has ruled. If leave to
file is granted, the moving party shall file the original
forthwith.” The Third Circuit applies a “liberal
amendment philosophy.” See Adams v. Gould,
Inc., 739 F.2d 858, 864 (3d Cir. 1984). District courts
considers the following factors: (1) undue delay on the part
of the party seeking to amend; (2) bad faith or dilatory
motive behind the amendment; (3) repeated failure to cure
deficiencies through multiple prior amendments; (4) undue
prejudice on the opposing party; and (5) futility of the
amendment. See Great W. Mining & Mineral Co. v. Fox
Rothschild LLP, 615 F.3d 159, 174 (3d Cir. 2010)
(quoting Forman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962)).