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Jackson v. Eagle KMC LLC

Court of Appeals of Arizona, First Division

January 16, 2018

STEPHANIE JACKSON, an individual, Plaintiff/Appellant,
v.
EAGLE KMC LLC, aka EAGLE KMC TRANSPORATION, aka EAGLE TRANSPORTATION CO, aka J&K TRANSPORTATION, aka EAGLE TUCSON SOUTH LLC, aka EAGLE TRANSPORATION LLC, an Arizona corporation; RACHAEL GABRIELLA HENDER, a single woman; WERNER ENTERPRISES INC, a foreign corporation; DRIVERS MANAGEMENT LLC, a foreign corporation, et al. Defendants/Appellees.

          Appeal from the Superior Court in Mohave County No. S8015CV201600092 The Honorable Charles W. Gurtler, Judge

          The Skiver Law Firm, Scottsdale By Ryan Skiver, Larsa Khanice Co-Counsel for Plaintiff/Appellant

          Harris & Associates, PC, LLO, Omaha, NE By James E. Harris, Pro Hac Vice Co-Counsel for Plaintiff/Appellant

          Jones, Skelton & Hochuli, PLC, Phoenix By Phillip H. Stanfield, Daniel O. King, Jennifer B. Anderson Counsel for Defendants/Appellees

          Judge Patricia A. Orozco [1] delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Presiding Judge Michael J. Brown and Judge Jennifer B. Campbell joined.

          OPINION

          OROZCO, Judge:

         ¶1 Plaintiff Stephanie Jackson (Jackson) appeals the superior court's judgment in favor of Defendants Eagle KMC, LLC, Rachael Gabriella Hender, Werner Enterprises, Inc., and Drivers Management, LLC (collectively Eagle). Because the court erred in granting summary judgment, we reverse and remand for further proceedings.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶2 The facts in this case are not in dispute. Jackson, a South Carolina resident, was employed as a truck driver by Drivers Management, a Nebraska company. Drivers Management contracted with Eagle, an Arizona company, to train Jackson to drive a semi-tractor trailer. In February 2014, Jackson was riding as a student-passenger in the sleeper berth of a semi-tractor trailer in Golden Valley. Rachael Hender, an Eagle employee, was driving under Werner Enterprises' federal motor carrier USDOT number and authority. Jackson suffered serious injuries after Hender allegedly lost control and rolled the vehicle.

         ¶3 Jackson filed a workers' compensation claim against Drivers Management in Nebraska, as required by her employment contract. The workers' compensation claim was adjudicated in Nebraska. Drivers Management was self-insured for workers' compensation and had a subrogation claim against any third-party recovery.

         ¶4 In February 2016, Jackson filed this lawsuit against Eagle in Mohave County before the running of the two-year statute of limitations under Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) section 12-542. Jackson included Drivers Management as a defendant solely for the "purpose of reimbursement, under the right of subrogation, " as required by Nebraska law.

         ¶5 Eagle filed a motion to dismiss, later converted to a motion for summary judgment, alleging Jackson's complaint was time-barred by A.R.S. § 23-1023.B and Drivers Management was not a proper defendant under A.R.S. § 23-1022.A. Jackson's response explained Drivers Management was included as a defendant solely for subrogation purposes pursuant to Nebraska law, and because Arizona law did not apply to her workers' compensation complaint, the one-year time-bar under A.R.S. § 23-1023.B was inapplicable. In reply, Eagle argued that regardless of whether Jackson received benefits in Nebraska, she was still entitled to workers' compensation benefits in Arizona and thus, § 23-1023.B was applicable.

         ¶6 The superior court found there was no material fact at issue because Jackson's complaint was not filed within one year of the accident, and she did not receive a reassignment from Drivers Management as required under A.R.S. § 23-1023. Therefore, the court concluded that Eagle was entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law.

         ¶7 Jackson filed a motion for reconsideration, Eagle filed a response and oral argument was held. The superior court again granted summary judgment to Eagle and reiterated its original findings. Jackson timely ...


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