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Allred v. Dark Horse Transport, LLC

United States District Court, D. Nevada

March 22, 2019

JOSEPH ALLRED, Plaintiff,
v.
DARK HORSE TRANSPORT, LLC, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

         Before the court are several motions filed by both parties in this case. Specifically, Defendants Dark Horse Transport, LLC[1] ("DHT"), Angel Helsley, and Jeremy Yingling (collectively "Defendants") filed a motion to dismiss, (ECF No. 16), and a motion to compel discovery. (ECF No. 26). Plaintiff Joseph Allred ("Allred") responded to Defendants' motion to dismiss, (ECF No. 19), and Defendants replied. (ECF No. 20). However, Allred has not filed any response or opposition to the motion to compel.

         In addition, before the court is Allred's motion to amend the complaint. (ECF 27). Defendants filed a response to this motion, (ECF No. 30), however, Allred did not file a reply brief.

         Having considered ail of the above, the court finds as follows: (1) Defendants' motion to dismiss is granted; (2) Allred's motion to amend is denied with prejudice; and, (3) Defendants' motion to compel is denied as moot.

         1. FACTUAL BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         A. Factual Background[2]

         Sometime in February 2017, Allred accepted a position from Defendant Jeremy Yingling to work as a "hot shot" truck driver for DHT. (ECF No. 1 at ¶ 13). Yingling told Allred that in order to work for DHT as a driver, he would be required to purchase insurance. (Id. at ¶ 15). The yearly premium for the insurance would cost $21, 960 and Allred was required to pay an upfront amount of $4, 500.00. (Id.) Allred paid the upfront cost for the insurance. In addition, at some point, Yingling convinced Allred to purchase a trailer owned by Yingling for $9, 000.00. (Id. at ¶ 14).

         Yingling also agreed to hire Frederick "Rick" Williams as a tandem driving partner for Allred after Allred agreed to take out an $18, 000.00 loan from Williams's sister to cover Williams's start-costs. (Id. at ¶ 17). Thereafter, on September 29, 2017, Yingling loaned one of his trucks to Allred to use with his recently purchased trailer. (Id. at ¶ 19). Shortly thereafter, Allred and Williams left on their first "tandem" run for DHT on October 2, 2017.

         On October 13, 2017, while on the run for DHT, Williams and Allred were staying in Ogden, Utah. (Id. at ¶ 21). At some point, Williams drove the truck and trailer to their motel while Allred had dinner at a local pub and grill. (Id.). Later that night Allred took a taxi back to the motel and noticed a wrecked 2018 Chevrolet Duramax in the parking lot. (Id. at ¶ 22). When Allred awoke the next morning, Williams, the truck, and trailer were missing. (Id.)

         Allred called Williams. (Id.) Williams answered and stated they needed to leave Ogden immediately and he refused to come back to the motel. (Id.) Ultimately, Williams admitted that he a hit the damaged Chevy Duramax in the motel parking lot and he failed to report the accident. (Id. at ¶ 23). Thus, he wanted to leave Ogden before he was discovered. (Id.)

         Allred decided it was best he and Williams part ways. (Id. at ¶ 24). Allred purchased Williams a bus ticket to return to home while Allred continued with the run to Salt Lake City in order to pick up two loads. (Id.). Thereafter, Allred was contacted by Yingling. (Id. at ¶ 25). Yingling told him to meet his former brother-in-law in Sparks, Nevada when he came back from Utah. (Id.) Yingling stated he was concerned about his truck and he wanted his former brother-in-law to take the truck and trailer to finish the delivery of the load to Sacramento. (Id.) Yingling indicated he would return Allred's trailer to him after the delivery was made. (Id.)

         Allred contacted Yingling on Monday, October 16, 2017 in order to pick up his trailer. (Id. at ¶ 26). Yingling and Allred agreed to meet at the Walmar: parking lot in Gardnerville. (Id. at ¶ 29). When Allred arrived, the trailer was not there. Yingling told Allred the trailer could not be moved because "they" had chalked the tires and Yingling was "served with an injunction" related to the hit and run accident in Ogden, Utah. (Id. at ¶ 30). Yingling explained that no one could move the trailer or use it until the injunction was lifted otherwise they would be subject to "fines and or jail time." (Id.) Yingling told Allred that a payment of $10, 000.00 would have to be made to "lift the injunction." (Id. at ¶ 32). Yingling also claimed that payment would have to be made directly to Yingling because he was served with the injunction. (Id. at ¶ 33).

         In the meantime, Yingling notified Allred that Williams' sister, Elizabeth Williams-Gonzalez, began demanding immediate payment on the loan she had provided to Allred. (Id. at ¶ 35). Yingling stated Williams-Gonzalez's attorney was threatening litigation if repayment was not made. (Id.) Yingling claimed Allred would need to pay him $10, 000.00 to lift the injunction and an additional $10, 000.00 to pay toward the loan to Williams-Gonzalez. (Id. at ¶ 36).

         Thereafter, Allred secured a $25, 000.00 loan from "an independent investor" in order to pay off the injunction and the loan amount. (Id. at ¶ 37). Allred paid the $10, 000.00 to Yingling, who provided him with title to the trailer. (Id. at ¶¶ 37-38). At this time, Allred learned that Yingling had used the trailer on a few occasions - even though he previously stated it could not be moved until the injunction was lifted. (Id. at ¶¶ 38-39). Allred asked for receipt for the payment on the injunction, however, Yingling told him the case was over and the injunction was "levied" by Williams-Gonzalez's attorney. (Id. at ¶40).

         In spite of all of this, Allred went back to work for DHT at some point after paying the injunction. (Id. at ¶ 46). When he returned, he was informed that he would now be paid a substandard contract rate until he had driven for DHT without any additional incidents. (Id.) Allred believed he was being punished and "extorted" by Yingling for Williams's accident. (Id.)

         In one of his runs after returning to DHT, Allred took a hot shot run to Colorado. (Id. at ¶ 41). On his way there, his truck broke down. (Id.) He called the DHT front office to tell them of the situation and that he needed roadside assistance. He was told the insurance he had paid for did not cover roadside assistance. (Id.) As a result, Allred was stranded on the side of the road for three days. (Id.)

         At some point, Allred requested DHT wire him the wages he was owned so he could repair his truck and return to work. (Id.) Yingling assured Allred DHT would factor his last runs and send him a "few thousand dollars" to repair his truck. (Id.) Ultimately, another trucking company in Colorado loaned Allred a truck in order to deliver his load. (Id. at ¶ 42). After advising Yingling of the situation, Yingling stated that DHT officer manager, "Angel Chelsey, "[3] would "factor" this run into the previous runs so that Allred would have more wages for the repairs. (Id. at ¶¶ 42-43).

         After delivering the load in Colorado, Allred called and texted Yingling several times to ask about receiving payment of his wages. (Id. at ¶ 43). "Halsey" answered the calls and told Allred her hands were tied and Yingling had told her not to send Allred the wages. (Id.) "Halsey" apologized several times and claimed she had no idea why Yingling was not taking Allred's calls or responding to him. (Id. at ¶ 44). "Halsey" claimed she was instructed to tell Allred that when the factoring company paid for his runs, DHT would forward him the outstanding wages. (Id. at ¶ 45). Allred contacted the factoring company and learned that the company had paid DHT for his runs the previous week. (Id.)

         Allred became suspicious of Yingling and contacted Williams. (Id. at ¶ 48). Williams told him that he had been working for Yingling in the weeks following the accident and there was no injunction on the trailer. (Id.) Williams also claimed that Yingling had negotiated the issue with the trailer down to $4, 800.00. (/d.) Thereafter, Allred sent a demand letter to Yingling for a copy of the receipt for the injunction and copies of all legal paperwork related to the alleged injunction. (Id. at ¶ 49). Yingling did not respond. Ultimately, on March 2, 2018, Allred received a letter from DHT stating that Allred had been removed from DHT's commercial insurance policy and advising Allred owed an outstanding balance to the insurance company of approximately $2, 396.00, which would be deducted from his remaining wages. (Id. at ¶ 50.)

         B. Procedural History

         On August 30, 2018, Allred filed his complaint in this action against Defendants DHT, Helsey and Yingling. (ECF No. 1). The first cause of action alleges a civil claim under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act ("RICC") pursuant to federal law. (Id. at ¶¶ 51-55). In this cause of action, Allred claims Defendants are liable under the RICO Act based on their alleged violations of three predicate offenses: (1) wire fraud pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 1343; (2) money laundering pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 1957; and, (3) sale or receipt of stolen goods pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 2315. (Id. at ¶ 53).[4]Allred also has asserted seven state law claims consisting of a state RICO violation, breach of contract, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing for contractual and tortious breaches, conversion, fraudulent or "international" misrepresentation, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. (Id. at p. 1; ¶¶ 56-88). The complaint asserts this court has jurisdiction over this case based on federal question jurisdiction due to the civil RICO claim as well as diversity jurisdiction. (Id. at ¶¶ 1-5).

         1. Defendants' Motion to Dismiss

         Defendants filed a motion to dismiss the complaint on October 22, 2018. (ECF No. 16). Defendants argue the complaint fails to state of claim under both the federal and state RICO acts because it fails to assert any continuity of criminal acts as well as any relationship to those acts. (Id. at 4-5). Moreover, there is no alleged criminal activity that can be discerned from the complaint. (Id. at p. 5). As such, Defendants argue the federal RICO claim should be dismissed and the court should reject: supplemental jurisdiction over the remaining state law claims. In the alternative, at a minimum, Defendants argue the fraudulent mispresentation claim should also be dismissed due a failure to properly plead this cause of action with ...


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