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James D. Freeman v. Pittsburgh Glass Works

March 3, 2011

JAMES D. FREEMAN,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
PITTSBURGH GLASS WORKS, LLC, ET AL.
DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Arthur J. Schwab United States District Judge

ELECTRONICALLY FILED MEMORANDUM ORDER RE. PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO DISMISS DEFENDANTS' COUNTERCLAIMS (Doc. No. 28)

I.Introduction

Currently before this Court is Plaintiff‟s Motion to Dismiss Defendants‟ Counterclaims of breach of contract and unjust enrichment/restitution. Doc. No. 28. The Court has reviewed Plaintiff‟s Motion (Doc. No. 28), Defendants‟ Brief in Opposition Thereto (Doc. No. 30), and Plaintiff‟s Reply Brief (Doc. No. 31). For the reasons that follow, Plaintiff‟s Motion to Dismiss will be granted in part and denied in part.

II.Factual Background

Under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, at this stage the Court accepts all of the factual allegations in the Counterclaims as true and all reasonable inferences are drawn in Defendant‟s favor. Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir. 2009). Therefore, the facts of the case are as follows:

Plaintiff is an individual who is currently 62 years of age. Doc. No. 19 ¶ 1. Defendant Auto Glass employed Plaintiff, who oversaw sales and operations of eight distribution branches of automotive windshields in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee. Id. at ¶ 32. Defendant Auto Glass was the distribution arm of the Automotive Glass and Services Division of PPG Industries, Inc. prior to the establishment of Defendant Pittsburgh Glass Works, LLC. Id. at ¶ 2. Plaintiff was terminated by Defendants and filed the instant suit alleging he was the victim of Defendants‟ "pervasive institutional" age discrimination. *fn1 Id. at ¶ 7.

Shortly after his employment with Defendants was terminated, Plaintiff signed a separation agreement and release which provided in pertinent part that:

b. Employee agrees never to file a lawsuit or becomes a member of a class asserting any claims that are released by Employee in this Agreement. Employee further agrees not to accept any money or benefits which may be obtained on his/her behalf by any other person or agency in any class or other action against the Company and explicitly waives the right to recover damages or other relief in any claim or suit alleging discrimination brought by or through the [EEOC] or any other federal, state or local agency on his/her behalf under any federal, state or local statute, order, ordinance or common law.

c. Employee understands that the releases and waivers in this paragraph do not include: any claims that cannot be released or waived as a matter of law; any claims for vested benefits under the Company‟s plans; any right to enforce this Agreement and any claims based on acts or events occurring after the effective date of this Agreement, with the exception of claims associated with Employee‟s employment or the termination of is/her employment up to, and including, his/her Separation Date. Employee also understands that he/she does not waive the right to file a charge with the EEOC, to cooperate or participate in any investigation or proceeding conducted by the EEOC or to testify when required to do so by law. Separation Agreement and Release, Doc. 19 at Ex. A ("Separation Agreement"), p. 2. Plaintiff‟s Complaint alleges disparate treatment under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, 29 U.S.C. § 621, et. seq. ("ADEA").

III.Legal Standard

In considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, federal courts require notice pleading, as opposed to the heightened standard of fact pleading. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires only " "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief,‟ in order to "give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds on which it rests.‟ " Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 554, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)).

To survive a motion to dismiss, a party must allege sufficient facts that, if accepted as true, state "a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). A claim has facial plausibility when a party pleads facts that allow the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant may be liable for the misconduct alleged. Id. at 1949. However, the court is ""not bound to accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation.‟ " Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1950 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). In deciding a motion to dismiss, a court must determine whether the Complaint or Answer "pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant (or plaintiff) is liable for the misconduct alleged." Pennsyl. Prison Soc. v. Cortes, 622 F.3d 215, 233 (3d Cir. 2010), citing Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949. "While legal conclusions can provide the framework of a complaint, they must be supported by factual allegations." Id.; See also Fowler, 578 F.3d at 210-211.

As explained succinctly by the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit: Pursuant to Ashcroft v. Iqbal, [citation omitted], district courts must conduct a two-part analysis when presented with a motion to dismiss. Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir.2009). "First, the factual and legal elements of a claim should be separated." Id. "The District Court must accept all of the complaint‟s well-pleaded facts as true, but may disregard any legal conclusions."

Id. at 210-11. "Second, a District Court must then determine whether the facts alleged in the complaint are sufficient to show that the plaintiff has a "plausible claim for relief.‟ ...


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