United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
ALICIA D. HOLLINGSWORTH, Plaintiff,
UNITED AIRLINES, INC., Defendant.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION
D. Noce, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
action is before the court on the motion of defendant United
Airlines, Inc., to dismiss the petition of plaintiff Alicia
D. Hollingsworth under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). (ECF No. 6).
The parties have consented to the exercise of plenary
authority by the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c). After hearing oral
arguments from the parties on February 10, 2017, the court
grants defendant's motion.
Alicia D. Hollingsworth alleges the following facts in her
state court petition. On February 16, 2012, she started her
work day as a United Airlines flight attendant in St. Louis,
Missouri. (ECF No. 1, Ex. 1 at ¶¶ 5-9). Upon
disembarking at the O'Hare Airport in Chicago, Illinois,
plaintiff attempted to use the handrail on the plane's
stairs. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges that United
Airlines, through its agents, employees, and servants, failed
to install the locking pins into the handrail. (Id.)
The handrail collapsed and she fell onto the tarmac and
injured her head, neck, back, and spine. (Id.)
October 1, 2013, plaintiff filed a claim against defendant in
the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois. (ECF No. 11). She
subsequently dismissed the action voluntarily on May 5, 2015.
(Id.) A year later, on May 4, 2016, she moved to
reinstate her claim in that Circuit Court. (Id.)
This motion was granted, allowing the Illinois claim to
proceed. (Id.) However, defendant moved for
reconsideration, which the Illinois judge granted, vacating
his prior order and denying the motion to reinstate.
(Id.) Plaintiff appealed this decision, and the
appeal is still pending in the Illinois Court of Appeals.
November 9, 2016, plaintiff filed the instant petition in the
Circuit Court of St. Francois County, Missouri. (ECF No. 4).
On December 22, 2016, defendant removed the action to this
federal court, invoking this court's original diversity
of citizenship subject matter jurisdiction. (ECF No. 1); 28
U.S.C. §§ 1332(a), 1441(a).
MOTION TO DISMISS
moves to dismiss plaintiff's petition, because under
Missouri's borrowing statute, it is barred by the
Illinois statute of limitations for personal injury claims,
and it thus fails to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted. (ECF No. 7); 735 ILCS § 5/13-202; Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(6). Plaintiff argues that the Illinois appeal is still
pending, so it is not certain that her claim is “fully
barred” by Illinois law via Missouri's borrowing
statute. (ECF No. 11).
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a party may move to
dismiss part or all of a case for its failure to state a
claim upon which relief can be granted. Fed. R. Civ. Pro.
12(b)(6). A complaint “must include enough facts to
state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face,
” providing more than just labels and conclusions.
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570
(2007). Such a complaint will “allow the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged, ” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009), and will state a claim
for relief that rises above mere speculation.
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. In reviewing the pleadings
under this standard, the court accepts all of the
plaintiff's factual allegations as true and draws all
inferences in the plaintiff's favor, but the court is not
required to accept the legal conclusions the plaintiff draws
from the facts alleged. Retro Television Network, Inc. v.
Luken Commc'ns, LLC, 696 F.3d 766, 768-69 (8th Cir.
addressing a motion to dismiss, the court considers the
pleadings themselves and limited other materials, including
matters of public record. Illig v. Union Elec. Co.,
652 F.3d 971, 976 (8th Cir. 2011). Where the complaint itself
establishes that the claim is time-barred, a dismissal
pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) is proper. Id.
federal court implementing its diversity jurisdiction applies
the law of the forum state when ruling on issues concerning
statutes of limitations. Nettles v. American Tel. and
Tel. Co., 55 F.3d 1358, 1362 (8th Cir. 1995). When
Missouri is the forum state, it considers statute of
limitations issues to be procedural and thus governed by
Missouri law. Wright v. Campbell, 277 S.W.3d 771,
773 (Mo.Ct.App. 2009). Under Missouri law, the statute of
limitations in a personal injury action is five years. Mo.
Rev. Stat. § 516.120(4). However, Missouri recognizes a
statutory exception to the application of its own statutes of
limitations, in the form of a borrowing statute:
Whenever a cause of action has been fully barred by the laws
of the state, territory or country in which it originated,
said bar shall be a complete defense to any action thereon,