Daily Express, Inc. v. Howell's Motor Freight, Inc., No. 7:2011cv00159 - Document 53 (W.D. Va. 2012)

Court Description: MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by District Judge Glen E. Conrad on 6/5/2012. (lab)
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CLERK. OFFI U, DI . S CE S. ST GOURT ATR- G E, VA FI LED I THE UNI N TED STATES DI STRI COURT CT FOR THE W ESTERN DI STRI OF VI M A CT RGI ROA N OK E DI I ON V SI J 26 2 1 UN 22 J ULK . UDLEK BY@ ' E D A I EX PM SS,l C . LY N , Pl i if a ntf , Ci lA c i N o. 11 001 vi ton 7: CV 59 M EM ORANDUM OPI ON NI H O W ELL' M O TO R FREI T,I C. S GH N , By: n.Gl nE.Conr d Ho e a Chi fUnie Stt sDititJ e t d a e src udge De e nt f nda . Thi di r iyaci ars sfom a a c de t toc ure i t pa ki 1 ofatuc s ve st ton ie r n c i nt ha c r d n he r ng ot r k so A ta trtalro eae b Ho l' Mo o Frih ,n .$ we1s' snzkawi d l tp. r co r ie p rtd y wels tr eg tI c (1 1'' t c Ho ) n mil b a et a Dal Ex rs ,n .t ' wa ta p ri f rGe ea ElcrcCo a ya d ld h t i p e s Ic (DXI) s rns o t o n rl e ti mp n n y t ' ng Ge r lElc rcEne gy, usng ir pa a eda et t bl ne a e ti r ca i re r bl mag o he ade.DXIfl t i t nta i ied he nsa cton agans Howels as e tng cai ofneglge e,e tbl i m nii ton,a c rb i i t l' , s ri l ms i nc quia e nde fcai nd onti uton. Th c s i p e e t b f r t ec u t nt p ris cos- to f rp rils mmayj d me t e ae s rs nl e oe h o r o he at ' r smoins o a t u r u g n y e a and t de e ntsm o i t e l t pl ntf e r.Fort r as e aned d i t he f nda ' ton o xcude he ai ips xpe t he e ons xpl i urng he h aiga f rt o estf rhb lw,h moinf rp rils mma yj d me t ie b DXI l e rn nd o h s e o t eo te t o a t u r u g n fld y wil o a b d ne a dtemoin frp rils mmayj d me t ie b Ho l' wil eg a td e e id n h t o a t u r u g n fld y wels l b rne . o a A ddii ly, he co tw ilde y t m oto t e l t pl ntf' e r . tona l t ur l n he i n o xc ude he ai if s xpe t Background On Ocobe 1 2009,DXIwa e ag i t ta porai ofawi ilbldefom t r 3, s ng ed n he r ns tton ndm l a r W im i o D e a e t Rupe t W e tV igi a. Be us oft s z oft w i ilbl de, X1 l ngt n, l war o r , s r ni ca e he i e he ndm l a D w as r r t obt n a haulng permi f om t V igi aD eparm entofM ot Vehi espr ort equied o ai i t r he r ni t or cl i o ta lng o rt sa e' hi r vei ve he tt s ghwa .Thepe m i a ho ie DXlt ta lo c rai i ert t ys r t ut rz d o r ve n e t n nt sae r dw a be w e n s s a s e . oa ys t e umi e nd uns t Ata oxi a ey 6: p. .DXIsdrve , b Long,e t d of l e sa e81a pa ked ppr m t l 00 m , ' i r Bo xie f nt r tt nd r a t W ico e sTrz St i Ra ne, r ni f t ni .Bec us t r wasno r t he l m s t ck op n phi Vigi a or he ght a e he e oom lf et i t a e ar mdt pe i t roft pa ki ltwhe e Longnonnal soppe hepa ke hi n he r a ot he rme e he r ng o r ly t d, r d s t u k i adoubl pa ki s c i t uppe l tsdeoft l .Thebac oft wi ilblde rc n e r ng pa e n he r ef i he ot k he ndm l a f c ata ll a ed r ve ane. Cha l Ce lLa hly,who wa ope ai ata t taie on behafofHowel',a rved res ci s e s r tng r cor r lr l ls ri a t tu k so a ound mi ni ht Thea i nta is oc ure asLas e wa cr i t t he r c t p r d g . ccde t s ue c r d hly s iclng he pa ki 1 tt fnd aplcet pa k.Las e obs r d t DXlt c and isc r ashem a a r ng o o i a o r hly e ve he nzk t a go de rgh t n ont t ta llnei whi t DXIt u k wa pa ke AlhoughLa hly' ta t i t ur o he r ve a n ch he rc s r d. t s e s r c or s e s uly cea e t wi m ilblde, stalrsr c t blde a dn ucc s f l l r d he nd l a hi r ie tu k he a nd mage i be d t yond r pai. e r DXIfld t i tnta ton a i tHowel' on Aprl1 2011 as e tng cai sof ie he nsa c i gans ls i , , s ri l m neglge ,e t bl i m nik ai a co rbuto i nce quia e nde t ton, nd nti in.Folo ngt c l wi he ompl ton ofdic ve y, ei so r DXl v df rs mma yj g n o tecam f rn gie c , n Ho l' mo df r mo e o u r ud me t n h li o e l n e a d wels ve o g s mmayj d me to tecamsfre utbl id mniiaina dc n rb to .Ad iin l , u r u g n n h li o q i e n e fc to n o tiu in dto al a y Howelsm o d t pr cl DXlfom usng Don D. c a a e r wine s Thec t d a l' ve o e ude r i La y s n xpe t t s . our hel hea i on t pa te 'm o i nson J 1 201 rng he ri s to une , 2. D i si scus on 1. M ot o f Sum m ar Judg e i ns or v m nt Unde Rul 56,a a r ofs r e n wad ummayj r udgme ti a opraeEft mo ts n s ppr it d he van howst t i ha te ei n g n ieds u ea t a ymaeil a ta dt emo a ti e t ldt j d me ta a h r s o e un ip t s o n tra fc n h v n s n ie o u g n s t matro lw. Fe . Ci. 5 () rap ry' e ie c t rieag nun is eo maeil te f a ' d R. v P. 6a .Fo a t s vd n e o as e ie su f tra ' fc t a oi s mmayj d me t imu t etu hta ar a o a l j r c ul rtr avedc fr a t o v d u r u g n,t s b % c h t e s n be u y o d eun r it o s t en n mo n p ry. An es nv. b rvLo v I c, 7 U. 2 2 2 8( 9 6 .I h o - vig at ' d ro Liet bb . n .4 7 S. 4 , 4 1 8 ) n ' d tr nngwh t e t g a tamoi nfrs mmayj g n,h c u t t iw t erc r i eemii eh r o r n to o u r ud me tte o r mus v e h e o d n t lghtm os f vor bl t t no m o n . Te r sFl Fa hi . nc. Buri on I . he i t a a e o he n- va t ry' oor s ons I v. lngt ndus. I c, 6 F.d6 4 61 ( t Ci.1 8 ) n -7 3 2 0 , 0 4h r 9 5 . A. N e i nc glge e Asstf rha ve DXIh smo e frs mmayj g n o iscam f rn gie c . e o t bo , a v d o u r ud me t n t li o e lg n e Reyi prm a iy on Cha l sLa hly' de ii tsi ony, l ng i rl re s e s poston e tm DX1a guest ti i cea fo t r ha t s l r r m he r c d t tLas e wa ne i e a t thi neglge ewast s ea pr m aeca eoft e or ha hly s glg nt nd ha s i nc he ol nd oxi t us he dn get t wi ma o he ndmilbl e.l r pons ,Howelsa gu t tc lci e de i t l ad n es e l' r es ha onfi tng vi nce n he r c r ma e s mmayj d me tia p o raeo t eis eo n gie c , n t t r a o a e e o d k s u r u g n n p r p it n h su f e l n e a d ha a e s n bl g j r c udfn t t ' d ie wa g it o c nrb tr n gi e c . u y o l id ha DXls rv r s ul f o tiu oy e lg n e y Unde Vigi al w, heis ofne i nc ,c rbut yne i nc a pr m ae r r ni a t s ues glge e onti or glge e, nd oxi t ca ea eor na iy is st bedecde by af c tnder M e ksv. us r di rl s ue o i d a ti . e Hodg ,306 S. 2d 8 881 es E. 79, ( . 98 ) ( eeo e aj r s o l weg tee ie c , eemi etec e iii o wi e s s Va 1 3 . Th rf r , u y h ud ih h vd n e d tr n h rdb ly f t se , t n a uli a ey de det ei s wher r a o bl mi c d dif ra nd tm t l ci hes s ues e e s na e nds oul fe boutt m .Ki be ln v. he m ri PM Trns tI ,563S. 2d665,667( 2002) I i çol ywhe r s bl mi c d a por.nc. E. Va. . t s s nl n ea ona e nds oul l notdifr(ha t s is be )quetonsof1w t bede de byac t'JL fe t t hee sues come si a o ci d our. - . ' l The Supr m eCour ofVigi aha hel t ta d i rha ç dut t l w ih r as bl e t r ni s d ha rve s d y o ook t e ona e a c r a t hee whata r s na e l koutw oul ha r ve l ' Re m sv. oe 372 S. 2d a e nd o d ea o bl oo d ve e a ed. ' a D , E. 405,406( .1 ) Ast Co t xpli di Olve v. s h,58S. 2d49( 1 ,the Va 988 . he ur e ane n i r Foryt E. Va. 950)ç t dut i t l wihr a o bl c z ,notan a ol edut t dic rby l ng,unl s t t ng y s o ook t e s na e a e bs ut y o s ove ooki e s he hi t be l d f i i s h pl i viw t tl ng wih r as bl c r wa bound t ha o ooke or s n uc an e ha ooki t e ona e a e s o ve dic r i. Olve,58S. 2da 51( di t tt l rcour erdi i i a s oveed t' i r ' E. t hol ng ha he owe t re n mposng n abs ut dut t s e .I adrve f l t us ra o bl c r t mai napr rl kou,t i ol e y o e ) f i r ais o e e s na e a e o nli ope oo t ç s he n gi e t'Li hfr v. n o k 3 2S. 2 3 5 3 7( . 98 ) Se I (ç ted shag o e lg n . t od Ha c c , 5 E.d 3 , 3 Va 1 7 . e d.tn h ic r e f ' c I hi dutes a& i ri r uie t us or na y c r t o e v ot rve cl .. ,t s ewha a s i , ve s eq r d o e di r a e o bs r e he hi es . o e t r a ona epe s woul ha s e a t r c asar s bl pe s woul ha r a e unde e s bl r on d ve e n, nd o ea t ea ona e r on d ve e ctd r t ecru tn e t a odc lso ' h ic msa c s o v i ol in. i ). Appl ngt s prnci es a viwi t e de i t lghtm os fvor bl t yi he e i pl , nd e ng he vi nce n he i ta a e o Ho l',h c u t o cu e t a teis eo n g ie c mus b d cd db aj r .Th wels t e o r c n ld s h th su f e lg n e t e e ie y u y e evi nc i i d s east whehe ,a t wha e e ,t wi ilbldewa i r di it de e s n iput o t r nd o t xtnt he ndm l a s ntu ng n o t ta ll ne.W he e sDXIsd i rt tfe t tbo h hi t c a t wi l bl deft he r ve a ra ' rve esii d ha t s nlk nd he ndmil a i e iey wihi t t s c i whih hewaspa ke t de e ntse denc i c t st t ntr l t n he wo pa es n c r d, he f nda ' vi e ndia e ha DXIsvehil a c gom a ha e e d t c ' c e nd ar y ve xce de he ombi d l ngt oft par ng s esbyas ne e h he ki pac m uc ass ve e n f t W hieLa hl yt sii d ona nu be ofoc asonst the s w t h e nt e ee . l s e e tfe m r c i ha a he wi ilbl e prort srki i,i i unc e rfom hi de ii n t si o whehe he s w t ndm l ad i o ti ng t t s l a r s posto e tm ny t r a he entr bl orf l a e a e t e e t whih i ma ha bee i r di i o t ta l ie ade uly ppr cit d he xt nt o c t y ve n ntu ng nt he r ve l ne.Addii ly, hee de e i i diput ast t ade c oft ttc so slgh i a a tona l t vi nc s n s e o he qua y he rl k t p' i tng, nd wihr s c t whe he t DXld i rplce c sorot rwar ng de ce ar undt t e pe t o t r he rve a d one he ni vi s o he wi ilbldet c uton ot rd i r abo t ove sz l d. ndm l a o a i he rve s ut he r ied oa Ba e on t s a ot r f t ldiput s t c ti t a e t co ude, a m a t rof sd he e nd he ac ua s e , he our s m bl o ncl as te l w , ha Las e w a ne i nt st c t ed d i t he ng on t i t n m otons a t t hl y s glge .A he our not ur ng he mi he ns a t i , 4 t pl n ifsc e i s e tsr ba edon Las ey' own de ii t tmony. Howe r he aitf as s om wha tong s hl s poston esi ve , t c ti co nc t tt sis andt to co rbu or neg i nce whi hpr s nt acla he our s nvi ed ha hi s ue, ha f nti t y lge , c e e s e r j r q e to t e tef cso t i c s, h udb d cd db aj r .Ac od n l,h u y u sin md r h a t f h s a e s o l e e i e y u y c r i gy t e panipsmo inf rs mmayj d me wi b d nid. litf to o u r u g nt l e e e l B. Epui abl Indem nii i and C ont but on t e fcat on ri i Ho l' h smo e f rs mmayj d me to t epanifsatr aiecamsfr wels a v d o u r u g n n h litf len tv li o e utb eid mnfc to a dc nrb to .Bohcamsweep e o syt es be t faRue q ia l n e iiai n n o tiu in t li r rviu l h u j c o l 1 ( )6 moi nfldb Ho l'.Th c u to ktemo inu d ra v sme t e i gfrh r 2 b ( ) to ie y wels e o r t o h to n e d ie n p ndn u te f cua de l e t a t l veopm n .Fort f l ngr as ,t cou t he olowi e ons he r concudest tHowe lsi e ild t l ha l' s ntte o sl r ud me t nb t cams l mma yj g n o oh li . The Supr m eCour ofVigi aha hel t ta cai f e t bl i mnii a i i e t r ni s d ha l m or quia e nde tc ton s vibl t rVigi a1w whe t pa t wihoutf ul i ne e ees l aly la ef dn a s a e mde r ni a n é ry t a a t s ve l s eg l i bl or m ge c usdbyt neglge ofa he . Carv.TheHo l . ,463S. 2d457, ( a e he i nce not r' r ' me ns Co. E. 458 Va. 1 9 ) Th S p e Co r h se h sz d h we e ,h t1 p e e ust t rc v r b sd o 9 5 . e u rme u t a mp a ie , o v r t a : r rg iie o e o ey a e n a e t bl i m ni a i i t i taldee m i tont tt ne i e eofa he c us d t quia e nde ûc ton s he nii tr na i ha he glg nc not r a e he dn g s' 1 (mph ssa d d .I Ca t eS p e Co r h l t a th ee nsn c say ma e . d.e a i d e ) n m h u r me u t ed h tf e lme t e e sr ' t t s r e tbl i mniiatoni fvorof(hei urr weeno me,' i e,a t tmet o uppo t quia e nde fc i n a t ns el r t t'snc t he i he i s r rfldi mo inf r u g n ,h r h db e n d tr n to t a t eisze sa to s n u e ie t to o j d me tt ee a e n o ee mi ain h t h n l d' cin s r we ene i ntort the ne i enc c us d t da gesa i s 1 ; e glo PuleHome r glge ha r glg e a e he ma t s ue. d. s e s t Co . Pae I c, 79S. 2 1 8 1 3( . 0 3 ( odn t tt til o r p o el m v. rx,n .5 E.d 8 , 9 Va 2 0 ) h lig ha he ra c u t r p ry s ti ade r t t pli ifsi mnikai cli snc theehadlbe nno usaned murer o he antf nde t ton am, i e s r g e t deer nai t tan a toromisonof(hedefndan)c usdt da g 't t prpet a t mi ton ha y c si t e t a e he ma e' o he o ry t is e ; CO W ae M ee i:S s v. a lr Ca . t . .2 0 U. DitLEXI 1 75 , t su ) AM tr trn y . Trvee s s Sl Co, 0 3 S. s. S 7 8 a r *1 ( . Va S p . 0 2 0 )( imisn a e ui bl id mniiaincam wh r t eeh d 1 W D. . e t 3 , 0 3 ds sig n q t e n e fc to li ee h r a a bee noprordeemi tonofne i nc . n i tr nai glge e) I t sca e t r ha be n no prordeer i ton t tt ne i nc ofHowelsc ed n hi s , he e s e i t m na i ha he glge e l' aus t dama t t wi ilblde, nd t c ta e wih Howel' t tDXlsaleg ton of he ge o he ndm l a a he our gr es t ls ha ' l ai neglgenc i nots fcintt s tsyt i e e st ' s tf rh i Ca r Ac or ngy,t c t i es ufi e o aif he t r qui ie' e o t n r . c di l he our pr - wilgr ntt de e ntsmotonwih r s c t t scai . l a he f nda ' i t e pe t o hi l m Thec t l alo g a t de e ntsm o i wih r pe tt t cai f our wil s r nt he f nda ' ton t es c o he l m or conti i Unde Vigi a lw, rbuton i a saut y c us ofa ton t i a l eonl rbuton. r r ni a conti i s t t ol a e c i hat s vaiabl y t j it o t a o s S eVa Co ej8013 (ç nrb to a n wr nc o r ma b e f re o on t rf s r . e . d . - 4 d tiu in mo g o d e s y e n o c d e co wh nt wr ngr s lsfo n gie c a div le n mo a tr i de' (mp a i a d d . e he o e ut r m e l n e n n ov s o rl u pt .) e h ss d e ) g u ' Ast SuprmeCour e ane i Suli nv. rs Drm Co.639S. 2d250( .2007 , he e t xpli d n lva Robe ton l , E. Va ) ç a rg to c nrb to a an taj ittrfa o le wh no ewr n d e h sp i o s tlda t ) ih f o tiu in g i s o n o te s r is e n o g o r a ad r ete l cli noti vi m o alt piudef whi h o he wr ngdoe sa ealolab e.Thepa t am nvol ng r ur t or c t r o r r s i l ry s ki c rbuton ha t blr n ofpr vi t tt c t i ne i nc oft ot rpa tes ee ng onti i s he zde o ng ha he oncm ng glge e he he ri wa ap o i t c us o t ij r f rwh c d ma e weepad. S lia 6 9 S. 2 a 2 5 s r xmae a e f he nu y o ih a g s r i ' ulv n, 3 E.d t 5 . ' I t sc e,DXIc i ue t m ant i t tt r wasno c uri ne i nc and t t n hi as ontn s o i an ha he e onc rng glge e, ha t ne i nc oft de e nt sdrverw a t s e a pr m a e c us oft da a t t he glge e he f nda ' i s he ol nd oxi t a e he m ge o he wi ndmilbl de.Gi n DX1sr pe t d a s ri t tisdrve wa notne i nti a wa t l a ve ' e a e s e ton ha t i r s glge n ny y, he c u t o cu e t a Ho l' i e tte t st r u g n o t ecam frc n rb to . o r c n l d s h t wels s n i d o l l mmayj d me t n h li o o tiui n St t d dif r ty,pl ntf sc a m f c r buton i s um e by isne i enc c a m t a e f e en l ai i f l i or ont i i s ubs d t glg e l i mder cot tone oft com pl nt m he ai . 6 l. I M oton t Exc ude i o l Howe lsalo move t pr l DX1fom ofe i e tt tmony oro he e d e l' s d o ecude r f rng xper esi t r vi enc fo Do D . cy, r m n La who wa nottm ey i ntfe by DXI Fort r as nssa e du i t s i l de iid . he e o tt d rng he he rng, hec t l de t m o i t e l a i t our wil ny he ton o xcude.Howe r t c t l gr ntHowelst ve , he our wil a l' he o runiyt i ntf isown e r wines t a e st is r ied i La y' e r r por. ppo t t o de iy t xpe t t s o ddr s he s ues a s n c s xpe t e t Ea h sde ma de et o c i y pos he pposngpa t se r o aly orby wrte que to i ry' xpe t r l itn si n. C oncl i n us o Fo ter a o ssae t pan ifsmoin frp ril l r j d me t l b d nid r h e s n ttd,he litf to o a t sz y u g n wil e e e , a mma t ed f n a tsmo inf rp ril u r j d me t lb g a td a dted fn a ts h e e d n ' to o a t s mmay u g n wil e rn e , n h ee d n ' a m otont e udewilbede e i o xcl l ni d. TheClr i die t d t s nd c riid c pisoft sme o a um opi o a t e k s r c e o e e tfe o e hi m r nd ni n nd he ac ompany ng o de t al c c i r r o l ouns lofr co d. e e r ENT Thi 5 d yo J n , 2012. ER: s a fue # P, ? Chi fUnie St t sDiti tJ e t d a e src udge