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Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Sep 12, 2016

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Ronald J. Berke, Jeremy M. Cothern, & Charles A. Flynn, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, Christy Gail Bowman.

Attorneys 2:

Terrill L. Adkins & Hannah S. Lowe, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellee, AllStates Trucking, Inc.

Judge(s): CLEMENT

At issue in this case is whether a defendant, which claims to be merely the broker of a shipment that was being delivered, may be held vicariously liable for the negligence of the delivery driver. This action arises out of a motor vehicle accident involving a tractor-trailer that was owned and operated by Mounir Benouttas. At the time of the accident, Mr. Benouttas was delivering a shipment pursuant to a contractual arrangement with MGR Freight Systems, Inc. In addition to suing Mr. Benouttas and MGR, Plaintiff sued AllStates Trucking, Inc., which had contracted with MGR to deliver the shipment to AllStates' customer. Plaintiff claimed AllStates was vicariously liable under the doctrines of respondeat superior and joint venture. Plaintiff later amended her complaint to include the additional theory of implied partnership. The trial court summarily dismissed all claims against AllStates because Plaintiff could not establish an agency relationship, joint venture, or implied partnership. Plaintiff appeals contending summary judgment was inappropriate because material facts are at issue. Plaintiff also challenges the trial court's decision to consider only the legal theories Plaintiff explicitly stated in her complaint, the court's partial denial of Plaintiff's motion to amend her complaint, denial of her motion for summary judgment, and its decision to allow AllStates to rely on untimely filings. Finding no error with the trial court's decisions, we affirm.