United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Western Division
SHELLY MENDONCA, as Personal Representative of the Estate of TRISHA MENDONCA, Plaintiff,
JORDAN THOMAS WINCKLER and CORPAT, INC., d/b/a ALAMO/NATIONAL CAR RENTAL, Defendants.
JEFFREY L. VIKEN, Chief Judge.
Pending before the court is a motion for summary judgment of defendant Corpat, Inc., d/b/a Alamo/National Car Rental ("Corpat"). (Docket 30). The court referred the motion to Magistrate Judge Veronica L. Duffy for resolution. (Docket 42). On December 11, 2013, Magistrate Judge Duffy filed a report recommending the court grant defendant Corpat's motion for summary judgment. (Docket 47). Plaintiff timely filed objections. (Docket 49). Defendant Corpat filed a response to defendants' objections. (Docket 50).
The court reviews de novo those portions of the report and recommendation which are the subject of objections. Thompson v. Nix , 897 F.2d 356, 357-58 (8th Cir. 1990); 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). The court may then "accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate judge." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). For the reasons stated below, plaintiff's objections are overruled. The court adopts the report and recommendation of the magistrate judge in its entirety.
A. MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S FINDINGS OF FACT
Plaintiff' "specifically objects to Section D... [as] [t]he Magistrate Judge failed to use the proper standard in reviewing the facts, which is to view the facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving party." (Docket 49 at p. 2). Plaintiff did not object to the recitation of facts at pages 2 through 7 of the report and recommendation. Having carefully reviewed the submissions of the parties, the court adopts the statement of facts at pages 2 through 7 of the report and recommendation. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C).
Plaintiff's objections to Section D of the report and recommendation will be addressed below.
B. MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
Plaintiff's objections to the magistrate judge's conclusions of law, specifically Section D of the report and recommendation, are summarized as follows:
1. Mr. Dayton should have known of Mr. Winckler's use of marijuana on the day he rented the car, thus rendering Mr. Winckler incompetent to drive; and
2. Mr. Dayton should have known Mr. Winckler's hand injury rendered Mr. Winckler incompetent to drive.
(Docket 49 at pp. 3-6). Plaintiff did not object to the magistrate judge's conclusion that for a "negligent entrustment claim under Wyoming law, the duty and breach elements require plaintiff to prove that Corpat entrusted a car to Mr. Winckler knowing that Mr. Winckler was incompetent, or under circumstances where Corpat should have known that Mr. Winckler was incompetent." (Docket 47 at p. 21). "What Corpat knew or should have known depends entirely on the appearance of Mr. Winckler when he presented himself to the Corpat desk to rent the vehicle and what Corpat's agent, Dakota Dayton, knew or observed about Mr. Winckler on that occasion." Id. at p. 22. Against this background, each of plaintiff's objections will be addressed separately.
1. MR. DAYTON SHOULD HAVE KNOWN OF MR. WINCKLER'S USE OF MARIJUANA ON THE DAY HE RENTED THE CAR, THUS RENDERING MR. WINCKLER INCOMPETENT TO DRIVE
Plaintiff argues the magistrate judge failed to properly consider the following undisputed facts:
1. Mr. Winckler had smoked a full joint with Ms. Mendonca on their way to pick up the ...