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Hashi v. Parkway Xpress, LLC

Court of Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

October 23, 2019

ABDIGHANI K. HASHI
v.
PARKWAY XPRESS, LLC ET AL.

          Session June 4, 2019

          Appeal from the Circuit Court for Rutherford County No. 70849 Howard W. Wilson, Judge.

         A forklift operator suffered injuries while operating his forklift within the confines of the trailer of a tractor-trailer. He sued the John Doe operator of the tractor-trailer, a trucking company, and a freight broker. Both the trucking company and the freight broker moved for summary judgment. The trial court granted the motions, dismissing the claims against them. On appeal, the forklift operator claims that some of the evidence filed in support of the motions for summary judgment was inadmissible and that there were disputed issues of material fact that precluded summary judgment. We conclude that the trial court properly granted summary judgment.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit Court Affirmed.

          Vakessha Hood-Schneider, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Abdighani K. Hashi.

          Michael J. Vetter, Sr. and Lance Thompson, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Parkway Xpress, LLC and Total Quality Logistics, LLC.

          W. Neal McBrayer, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which D. Michael Swiney, C.J., and Andy D. Bennett, J., joined.

          OPINION

          W. NEAL McBRAYER, JUDGE.

         I.

         Abdighani Hashi loaded and unloaded tractor-trailers at Essex Technology Group's distribution center in La Vergne, Tennessee. On February 2, 2015, Mr. Hashi was using a forklift to move pallets inside a trailer when the tractor-trailer unexpectedly moved. The movement caused Mr. Hashi's forklift, along with Mr. Hashi, to fall from the trailer to the ground. The fall injured his lower back and required medical treatment.

         In the Circuit Court for Rutherford County, Mr. Hashi filed suit against John Doe, the unknown driver of the tractor-trailer, Parkway Xpress, LLC, and Total Quality Logistics, LLC. The complaint alleged that John Doe was an employee of Parkway Xpress and that Parkway Xpress was vicariously liable for John Doe's negligence. The complaint described Total Quality Logistics as the "truck broker that hired Parkway Xpress . . . for the job during which [Mr. Hashi] was injured." The complaint alleged that Total Quality Logistics failed "to use due diligence in its selection, instruction, and supervision of Parkway Xpress." The complaint further alleged that Total Quality Logistics was vicariously liable for its agent Parkway Xpress.

         Parkway Xpress and Total Quality Logistics filed separate motions for summary judgment. Parkway Xpress argued that summary judgment was appropriate because it was not the owner or operator of the tractor-trailer in which Mr. Hashi was working when he was injured. Parkway Xpress acknowledged making a delivery to the distribution center on February 2, but it claimed to have arrived at 6:00 a.m. and departed at 7:08 a.m. Mr. Hashi admitted that his accident occurred at 1:20 in the afternoon. Parkway Xpress also contended that the driver of the tractor-trailer in which Mr. Hashi was working was Jeremy Kie, who was not an employee of Parkway Xpress.

         In support of its motion, Parkway Xpress filed the affidavit of Benjamin Kadic, the president of Parkway Xpress. He declared on personal knowledge that Parkway Xpress made its delivery to the distribution center at 6:00 a.m., departing at 7:08 a.m. Mr. Kadic also denied that Mr. Kie was a Parkway Xpress employee. Attached to the affidavit was a bill of lading showing the Parkway Xpress truck arriving at the distribution center at 6:00 a.m. and departing at 7:08 a.m. Parkway Xpress also provided business records produced by Essex Technology Group in response to a subpoena. The subpoenaed records included several incident reports identifying the driver of the tractor-trailer in which Mr. Hashi was working as Mr. Kie. Finally, Parkway Xpress provided a portion of the transcript from Mr. Hashi's deposition in which he was unable to identify the trucking company or the tractor-trailer involved in his accident.

         In its motion, Total Quality Logistics claimed to be a freight broker. It explained that freight brokers contract with motor carriers to arrange for the transportation of freight at the request of customers needing such services. So "even assuming all allegations as true[, ]" Total Quality Logistics would have "at most, merely contracted with the alleged John Doe truck driver's employer." It also explained that it "did not employ, control, select, or hire" the John Doe driver. Total Quality ...


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