United States District Court, D. New Jersey
RENÉE MARIE BUMB UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court upon the Motion to Dismiss
(“MTD”)[Dkt. No. 55], filed by Third-Party
Defendant Shelby Mechanical, Inc. (“Shelby”).
Specifically, Shelby's motion seeks the dismissal of the
claims asserted in the Third-Party Complaint [Dkt. No. 20] by
Defendant/Third-Party Plaintiff Lidestri Foods, Inc.
(“Lidestri”), pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6).
For the reasons set forth herein, Shelby's Motion to
Dismiss will be GRANTED, and Shelby will be
DISMISSED as a Third-Party Defendant in this
BACKGROUND & PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Third-Party Complaint, filed by Lidestri, seeks
indemnification from Shelby in relation to the underlying
claims asserted in this action by Plaintiff Christopher
Flaherty (“Plaintiff), a former Shelby employee. On
August 24, 2017, Plaintiff filed his original complaint in
the Superior Court of New Jersey, Camden County (No.
L-003318-17), seeking damages for injuries sustained during
his employment with Shelby. The case was removed to this
Court on October 23, 2017 [Dkt. No. 1] and Plaintiff filed an
Amended Complaint on December 8, 2017 [Dkt. No. 15], naming
Lidestri, GEA Process Engineering Company, Inc.
(“GEA”), and Clayton H. Landis Company, Inc.
d/b/a CHL Systems (“CHL”), as defendants.
is a food, drink, and spirit manufacturer. See
Pl.'s Am. Compl., ¶ 2. GEA is an engineering company
that, among other things, provides and installs aseptic
filling systems for beverage manufacturers and bottlers.
Id. at ¶ 3. On March 24, 2015, Lidestri
purchased an “ECOSpin 2 Aseptic Filler” (the
“Filler”), an “extremely large and
heavy” piece of equipment, from GEA. Id. at
¶¶ 2, 10. After purchasing the Filler, Lidestri
contracted with CHL to oversee installation. See
Third-Party Compl., ¶ 16. In turn, on August 3, 2015
and/or August 11, 2015, CHL contracted with Shelby to provide
necessary labor, materials, equipment, and supervision to
facilitate installation and rigging of the Filler.
Id. at ¶ 17.
course of Plaintiff's employment with Shelby, he assisted
with the installation of the Filler at Lidestri's food
processing facility, located at 1550 John Tipton Boulevard,
Pennsauken, New Jersey. See Am. Complaint, at ¶
9. On August 25, 2015, Plaintiff was injured when the Filler
slipped off a dolly and landed on his leg, breaking his leg
in multiple places and trapping Plaintiff under the Filler.
Id. at ¶ 29. On December 8, 2017, Plaintiff
filed his Amended Complaint, asserting negligence claims
against Lidestri, GEA, CHL, and John Doe Defendants 1-5.
Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that Lidestri, GEA, and CHL,
who all played some role in the installation of the Filler,
failed to follow or enforce proper safety precautions during
the installation of the Filler. Plaintiff does not name
Shelby as a defendant.
December 29, 2017, Lidestri filed the Third-Party Complaint
seeking (1) contribution from GEA and CHL and (2)
indemnification from GEA, CHL, and Shelby. See
Third-Party Compl., at 6-8. Now, Shelby moves to dismiss
Lidestri's common law and contractual indemnification
claims under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6).
withstand a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6), “a complaint must contain
sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state
a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)(quoting
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570
(2007)). “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.” Id. at 662.
“[A]n unadorned, the defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me
accusation” does not suffice to survive a motion to
dismiss. Id. at 678. “[A] plaintiff's
obligation to provide the ‘grounds' of his
‘entitle[ment] to relief' requires more than labels
and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements
of a cause of action will not do.” Twombly,
550 U.S. at 555 (quoting Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S.
265, 286 (1986)).
reviewing a plaintiff's allegations, the district court
“must accept as true all well-pled factual allegations
as well as all reasonable inferences that can be drawn from
them, and construe those allegations in the light most
favorable to the plaintiff.” Bistrian v. Levi,
696 F.3d 352, 358 n.1 (3d Cir. 2012). When undertaking this
review, courts are limited to the allegations found in the
complaint, exhibits attached to the complaint, matters of
public record, and undisputedly authentic documents that form
the basis of a claim. See In re Burlington Coat Factory
Sec. Litig., 114 F.3d 1410, 1426 (3d Cir. 1997);
Pension Benefit Guar. Corp. v. White Consol. Indus.,
Inc., 998 F.2d 1192, 1196 (3d Cir. 1993).
Motion to Dismiss, Shelby argues that Lidestri's common
law and contractual indemnification claims are barred by the
exclusive remedy provision of the Workers' Compensation
Act (the “Act“). Under New Jersey law, “the
exclusive-remedy provision of the Workers' Compensation
Act precludes a claim for contribution against an employer
whose concurring negligence contributed to the injury of an
employee.” Ramos v. Browning Ferris Indus. of S.
Jersey, Inc., 103 N.J. 177, 185 (1986).
response to Shelby's motion, Lidestri argues that its
indemnification claims against Shelby are permissible under
two recognized exceptions to the Act. See
Lidestri's Brief in Opposition to Shelby's MTD
(“Opp. Br.”)[Dkt. No. 58], at 4-5. First,
Lidestri notes that a third-party “may obtain
indemnification where that course is specifically permitted
by way of an express contract.” See Port Auth. of
New York & New Jersey v. Honeywell Protective Servs.,
Honeywell, Inc., 222 N.J.Super. 11, 19 (App.Div. 1987).
Second, Lidestri argues that “a third-party may seek
recourse against an employer under the theory of implied
indemnification.” See id. at 20. The Court
finds that neither of these exceptions are applicable.