Harris, et al. v. FedEx National LTL, Inc., No. 13-1981 (8th Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
After a fatal accident, plaintiffs filed suit against the tractor-trailer driver, the truck driver's employer (Fresh Start), the company that leased the tractor, the husband and wife who owned Fresh Start, and the company that owned the two trailers the tractor was pulling (FedEx). The district court granted FedEx's motion for summary judgment and plaintiffs appealed. The court concluded that the district court applied the proper standard under Nebraska law, carefully considered the control factor, and concluded that there was no evidence from which a reasonable trier of fact could conclude that Fresh Start was FedEx's employee; because FedEx was not acting as a motor carrier, it had no duty - nondelegable or otherwise - to require that the driver observe his Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) duties by reason of 49 C.F.R. 390.11; plaintiffs failed to establish a negligent entrustment claim where there was no evidence that FedEx was aware of facts permitting a reasonable jury to find that it knew or should have known that the driver was not a properly certified driver; and the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying plaintiffs' untimely motion for leave to amend their complaint.