United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SEVERANCE
AND SEPARATE TRIALS
BENJAMIN H. SETTLE United States District Judge
matter comes before the Court on Defendant New Flyer of
America, Inc.'s (“New Flyer”) motion for
severance and separate trials. Dkt. 14. The Court has
considered the pleadings filed in support of and in
opposition to the motion and the remainder of the file and
hereby denies the motion for the reasons stated herein.
November 29, 2016, Plaintiffs William Marion
(“Marion”) and Raymond Moore
(“Moore”) (collectively “Plaintiffs”)
filed their complaint against King County Department of
Transportation, Metro Transit Division, New Flyer, and twenty
“John Doe” defendants. On October 20, 2017, the
Pierce County Superior Court granted summary judgment in
favor of Defendants King County Department of Transportation
and Metro Transit Division, leaving New Flyer as the sole
remaining defendant. See Dkt. 1-2.
October 30, 2017, New Flyer moved to sever the action and
conduct separate trials on the respective claims of Marion
and Moore. Dkt. 6-2 at 119-25. On November 15, 2017,
Plaintiff responded to the motion. Id. at 170-76. On
November 15, 2017, New Flyer withdrew its motion to sever the
trial before Pierce County. See Dkt. 16 at 2. Then,
on November 16, 2017, New Flyer removed the action to this
Court based on diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1332, 1441, 1466. Dkt. 1.
December 19, 2017, New Flyer filed a renewed motion to sever
the action and conduct separate trials on Plaintiffs'
respective claims. Dkt. 14. On January 3, 2017, Plaintiffs
responded in opposition. Dkt. 16. On January 5, 2017, New Flyer
replied. Dkt. 17.
are both journey-level bus mechanics for the King County
Department of Transportation. On May 9, 2016, Marion was
allegedly electrocuted while servicing Bus No. 4369. Dkt. 1-1
at 5; Dkt. 15 at 8. On August 30, 2016, Moore was allegedly
electrocuted while servicing Bus No. 4302. Dkt. 1-1 at
Plaintiffs assert claims against New Flyer for product
liability and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Id. at 7. From the parties' arguments on the
motion, it is suggested that Plaintiffs' claims are
predicated on a theory that they were electrocuted as a
proximate result of a defective “hot coach
detector” on the buses manufactured by New
Flyer moves to sever Plaintiffs' claims and conduct
separate trials. Dkt. 14. New Flyer first argues that its
motion should be granted on the basis that Plaintiffs'
claims do not satisfy the requirements of Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 20. Id. at 5-7. Under that rule:
may join in one action as plaintiffs if:
(A) they assert any right to relief jointly, severally, or in
the alternative with respect to or arising out of the same
transaction, occurrence, or series of transactions or
(B) any question of law or fact common to all plaintiffs will
arise in the action.
Fed. R. Civ. P. Rule 20. New Flyer argues that Plaintiffs
cannot satisfy Rule 20 on the basis that Plaintiffs'
claims do not arise out of the same transaction. Notably,
there is no clearly articulated dispute over whether a common
question of fact exists as to whether the buses both suffered