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Lansky v. Protection One Alarm Monitoring, Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Western Division

June 21, 2018

DEBORAH LANSKY, Plaintiff,
v.
PROTECTION ONE ALARM MONITORING, INC., Defendant.

          ORDER

          SAMUEL H. MAYS, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Deborah Lansky alleges breach of contract, negligence, and detrimental reliance. Before the Court is the January 5, 2018 Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings, filed by Defendant ADT LLC, successor-in-interest to Protection One Alarm Monitoring, Inc. (“ADT”). Plaintiff responded on January 15, 2018, arguing for denial of ADT's motion or, in the alternative, an opportunity to amend her complaint. (ECF No. 21.) ADT replied on January 22, 2018. (ECF No. 22.)

         For the following reasons, ADT's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part. Plaintiff's motion to amend the complaint is DENIED.

         I. Background

         On April 11, 2015, Plaintiff entered into a contract with ADT's predecessor, Protection One Alarm Monitoring, Inc., which was to provide alarm monitoring services for Plaintiff's apartment in Memphis, Tennessee (the “Contract”). (Compl., ECF No. 1-2 ¶ 4.)

         On or about June 23, 2017, Plaintiff set her alarm before leaving her apartment. (Id. ¶ 6.) While she was gone, a burglar broke in. (Id. ¶ 7.) Although the alarm was activated, ADT failed to notify “the police, apartment complex, and other proper authorities.” (Id.) ADT left a voicemail message on Plaintiff's telephone, asking her to return its call. (Id. ¶ 8.) Surveillance video recorded inside Plaintiff's apartment showed that the burglar removed the alarm system, found Plaintiff's safe, and stole “approximately one hundred thousand dollars ($100, 000.00) in personal property.” (Id. ¶¶ 9-10.)

         On October 12, 2017, Plaintiff filed a complaint in the Circuit Court for Shelby County, Tennessee, alleging breach of contract, negligence, and detrimental reliance against Protection One Alarm Monitoring, Inc. (See generally id.)

         On December 8, 2017, ADT removed the case to this Court, alleging diversity jurisdiction. (Notice of Removal, ECF No. 1 at 2.) ADT answered on December 15, 2017. (ECF No. 6.)

         On January 5, 2018, ADT filed its Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings and supporting memorandum. (ECF Nos. 8-9.) Plaintiff responded on January 15, 2018. (ECF No. 21.) ADT replied on January 22, 2018. (ECF No. 22.)

         II. Jurisdiction & Choice of Law

         A. Jurisdiction

         This Court has diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Plaintiff is a resident and citizen of Shelby County, Tennessee. (Compl., ECF No. 1-2 ¶ 1.) ADT is a limited liability company, whose sole member is a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business in Florida. (Notice of Removal, ECF No. 1 ¶ 7.) A limited liability company is a citizen wherever its members are citizens. See Delay v. Rosenthal Collins Grp., LLC, 585 F.3d 1003, 1005 (6th Cir. 2009). ADT is a citizen of Delaware and Florida. The parties are completely diverse.

         Plaintiff alleges that the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000. (Compl., ECF No. 1-2 at 14.) “[T]he sum claimed by the plaintiff controls if the claim is apparently made in good faith.” St. Paul Mercury Indem. Co. v. Red Cab Co., 303 U.S. 283, 288 (1938); see also Mass. Cas. Ins. Co. v. Harmon, 88 F.3d 415, 416 (6th Cir. 1996). The requirements of diversity jurisdiction are satisfied.

         B. Choice of Law

         In diversity actions, state substantive law governs. See, e.g., Erie R.R. Co. v. Tompkins, 304 U.S. 64, 78 (1938). A federal court applies the choice-of-law provisions of the state in which it sits. Id.; Klaxon Co. v. Stentor Elec. Mfg. Co., 313 U.S. 487, 496 (1941); Cole v. Mileti, 133 F.3d 433, 437 (6th Cir. 1998) (“It is well-established that federal courts sitting in diversity must apply the choice-of-law rules of the forum state.”) (citing cases).

         Plaintiff alleges state law claims for breach of contract, negligence, and detrimental reliance. (Compl., ECF No. 1-2 at 11-14.) Tennessee follows the rule of lex loci contractus, which provides that a contract is presumed to be governed by the law of the jurisdiction in which it was executed, absent a contrary intent. Vantage Tech., LLC v. Cross, 17 S.W.3d 637, 650 (Tenn. Ct. App. 1999) (citing Ohio Cas. Ins. Co. v. Travelers Indem. Co., 493 S.W.2d 465, 467 (Tenn. 1973)). The Contract was executed in Tennessee. Neither Plaintiff nor ADT challenges the application of Tennessee law. The Court will apply Tennessee substantive law to Plaintiff's contract claims.

         For tort claims, Tennessee follows the “most significant relationship” rule, which provides that “the law of the state where the injury occurred will be applied unless some other state has a more significant relationship to the litigation.” Hataway v. McKinley, 830 S.W.2d 53, 59 (Tenn. 1992). To determine which state has the “most significant relationship, ” Tennessee courts consider seven principles:

(a) the needs of the interstate and international systems,
(b) the relevant policies of the forum,
(c) the relevant policies of other interested states and the relative interests of those states in the determination of the particular issue,
(d) the protection of justified expectations,
(e) the basic policies underlying the particular field of law,
(f) certainty, predictability, and uniformity of result, and
(g) ease in the determination and application of the law to be applied.

Id. n.3 (quoting Restatement (Second) of Conflict of Laws § 6 (1971)). When applying those principles, courts consider four factors: “(a) the place where the injury occurred, (b) the place where the conduct causing the injury occurred, (c) the domicile, residence, nationality, place of incorporation and place of business of the parties, [and] (d) the place where the relationship, if any, between the parties is centered.” Timoshchuk v. Long of Chattanooga Mercedes-Benz, No. E2008-01562-COA-R3-CV, 2009 WL 3230961, at *11 (Tenn. Ct. App. Oct. 8, 2009); accord Hataway, 830 S.W.2d at 59. “[T]hese contacts are to be evaluated ...


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