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James Leonard v. Erie Uc Service Center

December 3, 2010

JAMES LEONARD, PLAINTIFF
v.
ERIE UC SERVICE CENTER, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Susan Paradise Baxter United States Magistrate Judge

Erie

Magistrate Judge Baxter

OPINION AND ORDER

Magistrate Judge Susan Paradise Baxter.

I. INTRODUCTION

A. Relevant Procedural and Factual History

On September 28, 2009, Plaintiff James Leonard, an adult resident of Jamestown, New York, initiated this pro se action against Defendant Erie UC Service Center by filing a Notice of Appeal/Petition for Review, asking this Court to conduct a de novo review of the UC referee's Order of July 6, 2009, denying Plaintiff unemployment compensation based upon its finding that Plaintiff quit his employment. [ECF No. 6]. Plaintiff claims that the referee's finding was based on "false evidence" and disregarded Plaintiff's documentary evidence that he suffers from a disability that prevents him from working. As relief, Plaintiff asks this Court to reverse the referee's decision.

Defendant has filed a motion to dismiss complaint [ECF No. 10], arguing that this Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction to review the UC referee's Order, under the Rooker-Feldman doctrine, and that Defendant is immune from suit under the Eleventh Amendment, in any event. Plaintiff has filed a one-page response to Defendant's motion simply stating his belief that this Court has jurisdiction to hear his claim. This matter is now ripe for consideration.

B. Standards of Review

1. Motion to Dismiss

A motion to dismiss filed pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) must be viewed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff and all the well-pleaded allegations of the complaint must be accepted as true. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93-94 (2007). A complaint must be dismissed pursuant to Rule 12 (b)(6) if it does not allege "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)(rejecting the traditional 12 (b)(6) standard set forth in Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41 (1957)). See also Ashcroft v. Iqbal, ___ U.S. ___, ___, 129 S.Ct. 1937 (May 18, 2009) (specifically applying Twombly analysis beyond the context of the Sherman Act).

The Court need not accept inferences drawn by plaintiff if they are unsupported by the facts as set forth in the complaint. See California Pub. Employee Ret. Sys. v. The Chubb Corp., 394 F.3d 126, 143 (3d Cir. 2004) citing Morse v. Lower Merion School Dist., 132 F.3d 902, 906 (3d Cir. 1997). Nor must the court accept legal conclusions set forth as factual allegations. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, citing Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986). "Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. Although the United States Supreme Court does "not require heightened fact pleading of specifics, [the Court does require] enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Id. at 570.

In other words, at the motion to dismiss stage, a plaintiff is "required to make a 'showing' rather than a blanket assertion of an entitlement to relief." Smith v. Sullivan, 2008 WL 482469, at *1 (D.Del. February 19, 2008) quoting Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 231 (3d Cir. 2008). "This 'does not impose a probability requirement at the pleading stage,' but instead 'simply calls for enough facts to raise a reasonable expectation that ...


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