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Kuznyetsov v. West Penn Allegheny Health System

February 16, 2010

ANDREW KUZNYETSOV, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
WEST PENN ALLEGHENY HEALTH SYSTEM, INC., ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Donetta W. Ambrose U.S. District Judge

AMBROSE, District Judge

OPINION AND ORDER OF COURT

Pending before the court is a Motion to Dismiss the Amended Complaint's Second, Third and Fourth Causes of Action (Docket No. 156) filed by Defendants, West Penn Allegheny Health System, Inc., West Penn Allegheny Health System, Inc. t/d/b/a Allegheny General Hospital, West Penn Allegheny Health System, Inc. t/d/b/a/ The Western Pennsylvania Hospital, Alle-Kiski Medical Center, Canonsburg General Hospital, Christopher T. Olivia, John Lasky, and Retirement Plan for Employees of West Penn Allegheny Health System. Plaintiffs filed a Brief in Opposition thereto. (Docket No. 186). Thereafter, Defendants filed a Motion for Consideration of Additional Authority. (Docket No. 200). Said Motion was granted. (Docket No. 201). After careful consideration of the same, Defendants' Motion to Dismiss the Amended Complaint's Second, Third and Fourth Causes of Action (Docket No. 156) is granted as more fully set forth below.

OPINION

I. Background

Plaintiffs filed a Complaint on April 1, 2009. (Docket No. 1). Thereafter, Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss. (Docket No. 79). I granted in part and denied in part said motion. (Docket No. 118). Specifically, I ordered that the Fifth Count of the Complaint was dismissed. I also ordered Plaintiffs to file an Amended Complaint to clarify the Second, Third and Fourth Counts. Id.

Plaintiffs filed an Amended Complaint on August 11, 2009. (Docket No. 125). The first count is a claim under the the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"). Id. The second count is a claim under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act ("ERISA") for failure to keep accurate records. Id. The third count is a claim under ERISA for breach of fiduciary duty and the fourth count is a claim under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act ("RICO"). Id. Defendants now move to dismiss the Second, Third and Fourth Counts of the Amended Complaint. (Docket No. 156). The issues are now ripe for review.

II. Legal Argument

A. Legal Standard

Defendants filed their Motion to Dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) and 12(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. When deciding whether to grant or deny a 12(b)(6) motion the Supreme Court has held:

While a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds of his entitlement to relief requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do. Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level, on the assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true (even if doubtful in fact).

Bell Atlantic Co. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (cites and footnote omitted); see also, Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 234 (3d Cir. 2008) (a plaintiff's factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level).

Most recently, in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937 (2009), the Supreme Court held, ". . . a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face. A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at1949 (citations omitted).

In Iqbal, the Court specifically highlighted the two principles which formed the basis of the Twombly decision: First, for the purposes of a motion to dismiss, courts must accept as true all factual allegations set forth in the complaint, but courts are not bound to accept as true any legal conclusions couched as factual allegations. Id. at 1949-1950. See also, Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203 (3d. Cir. Aug. 18, 2009). Second, a complaint will only survive a motion to dismiss if it states a plausible claim for relief, which requires a court to engage in a context-specific task, drawing on the court's judicial experience and common sense. Id. at 1950. Where well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged -- but has not shown -- the complainant is entitled to relief. Id., citing, F.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2).

B. RICO (Fourth Cause of Action)

The original Complaint in this case was filed on April 1, 2009. (Docket No. 1). Previously, in ruling on Defendants' Motion to Dismiss the RICO claim in the ...


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