United States District Court, D. Utah
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND
DENYING IN PART DEFENDANT KLOEPFER, INC.'S MOTION FOR
C. NIELSON, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Siolimi Mafua was injured when a commercial truck driven by
Defendant Kent B. McKenzie collided into the rear of
Plaintiff's vehicle. McKenzie failed to notice that
traffic in front of him had slowed, and he collided with
Mafua while traveling more than seventy miles per hour.
McKenzie is employed by Defendant Kloepfer, Inc.
alleges that Kloepfer is vicariously liable for
McKenzie's negligence under the doctrine of respondeat
superior. In addition, Plaintiff alleges that Kloepfer is
liable for its own negligence in hiring and supervising
McKenzie and in entrusting him with a company truck. Kloepfer
has moved for summary judgment on each of Plaintiff's
claims. For the reasons that follow, the court grants the
motion for summary judgment as to Plaintiff's respondeat
superior and negligent hiring claims but denies the motion as
to the negligent supervision and negligent entrustment
in the light most favorable to Plaintiff (the nonmoving
party), see Garrison v. Gambro, Inc., 428 F.3d 933,
935 (10th Cir. 2005), the facts are as follows.
December 15, 2017, McKenzie was traveling southbound on I-15.
Pl. Comp. at ¶¶ 8. McKenzie was driving a Ford
F-350 pickup truck owned by Kloepfer. Pl. Comp. at
¶¶ 12 and 16; McKenzie Depo. at 68:19-69:23
(“Defendant's Exhibit 1”). McKenzie failed to
notice that traffic had slowed because of congestion and hit
Plaintiff's vehicle from behind while traveling more than
70 miles per hour. Pl. Comp. at ¶ 13; Pl. Opp. Mot. at
time of the I-15 collision, McKenzie was not performing work
for Kloepfer. Def. Ex. 1 at 58-61 He was driving from Twin
Falls, Idaho, to his daughter's house in Syracuse, Utah,
to deliver personal Christmas presents. Id. at
59. McKenzie was able to use a company vehicle for
this personal errand because of “special
privileges” that allowed him, as well as other select
Kloepfer employees, to drive company vehicles not only for
work but also for unrestricted personal use. Def. Ex. 1 at
21:22-25; 22:1-24; and 23:9-24:14.
did not suspend, terminate, or reprimand McKenzie following
the collision. Def. Ex. 1 at 28:5-25; 119:9-13; and
125:10-17; Landrum Depo. at 29:20-24 and 31:7-9
(“Defendant's Exhibit 2”). Kloepfer did
withhold a six-month, $100 safety bonus. Def. Ex. 1 at
28:5-25; Def. Ex. 2 at 29:20-24. Kloepfer repaired the F-350
(at the company's expense) and returned it to McKenzie,
who retained his special driving privileges. Def. Ex. 1 at
28:5-25; 119:9-13; and 125:10-17. Kloepfer did not require
McKenzie to be retrained or to take additional driver safety
classes. Id. at 28:5-25; 119:9-13; and 125:10-17.
to the I-15 collision, Kloepfer knew that McKenzie had been
involved in a series of moving violations, including a
serious at-fault collision for which he received a traffic
citation. Def. Ex. 1 at 27:17-28:4. The at-fault collision
occurred on March 25, 2016. Id. McKenzie was driving
the same company-owned F-350 truck and made an improper left
turn, failing to yield to-and colliding with-an oncoming
vehicle. Id. at 24:24-25:12 and 26:13-15.
McKenzie's supervisor arrived on scene immediately
following the accident. Id. at 27:17-28:4. McKenzie
was cited by the authorities for failing to yield the right
of way. Def. Ex. 1 at 25:4-14. After the March 2016
collision, Kloepfer withdrew a six-month, $100 safety bonus
but took no further disciplinary action. Def. Ex. 1 at
28:5-25; Def. Ex. 2 at 29:20-24. Kloepfer did not require
McKenzie to be retrained or to take additional safe driving
classes. Def. Ex. 1 at 28:5-25; 119:9- 13; and 125:10-17.
McKenzie received back the F-350 after it had been repaired
by Kloepfer at the company's expense and retained his
special driving privileges. Def. Ex. 1. at 28:5-25; 119:9-
13; and 125:10-17. Kloepfer was also aware that McKenzie had
received citations for two additional moving violations. Oral
Argument 6:06-6:48. At some point in 2016, McKenzie was cited
for failing to stop at a stop sign. Pl. Ex. D: Idaho's
Interactive Drivers License Record for Kent McKenzie. And on
November 28, 2016, McKenzie was cited for speeding.
addition to these moving violations, McKenzie had backed his
company-owned F-350 truck into a light pole at a job site on
May 14, 2014. Pl. Supplemental Ex. A (Dk. 27). This incident
involved only a single vehicle and did not occur on a public
roadway. Id. Kloepfer was of course aware of this
incident prior to the I-15 collision as well. Id.
judgment is appropriate when the moving party shows
“that there is no genuine dispute as to any material
fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). In applying this standard,
the court must view the factual record and draw all
reasonable inferences in the manner most favorable to the
nonmoving party. See Adler v. Wal-Mart Stores, 144
F.3d 664, 670 (10th Cir. 1998).
parties agree that Utah law governs this diversity action. As
noted above, Kloepfer seeks summary judgment on
Plaintiff's claims for (1) vicarious liability under the
doctrine of respondeat superior, (2) negligent hiring, (3)
negligent supervision and ...