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Gurpartap Singh Sidhu v. Rupinder Mann

March 14, 2011

GURPARTAP SINGH SIDHU,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
RUPINDER MANN, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. John E. Jones III

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

THE BACKGROUND OF THIS ORDER IS AS FOLLOWS;

Pending before the Court is a Motion to Dismiss ("Motion") filed by Defendant Rupinder Mann ("Defendant") on January 1, 2011. (Doc. 6). For the reasons that follow, we will grant the Motion. However, we shall grant the Plaintiff leave to amend Count I of his complaint.

I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

The plaintiff, Gurpartap Singh Sidhu ("Plaintiff"), initiated the instant action by filing a complaint in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania on November 8, 2010. (Doc. 1). Defendant filed a Waiver of Service in accordance with Fed.R.Civ.P. 4 on December 2, 2010. (Doc. 4). Thereafter, Defendant timely filed the pending Motion to Dismiss. (Doc. 6).

The Motion has been fully briefed by the parties and is therefore ripe for disposition.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

In considering a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), courts "accept all factual allegations as true, construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, and determine whether, under any reasonable reading of the complaint, the plaintiff may be entitled to relief." Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 231 (3d Cir. 2008) (quoting Pinker v. Roche Holdings Ltd., 292 F.3d 361, 374 n.7 (3d Cir. 2002)). In resolving a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), a court generally should consider only the allegations in the complaint, as well as "documents that are attached to or submitted with the complaint, . . . and any matters incorporated by reference or integral to the claim, items subject to judicial notice, matters of public record, orders, [and] items appearing in the record of the case." Buck v. Hamption Twp. Sch. Dist., 452 F.3d 256, 260 (3d Cir. 2006).

A Rule 12(b)(6) motion tests the sufficiency of the complaint against the pleading requirements of Rule 8(a). Rule 8(a)(2) requires that a complaint contain 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 upon which it rests." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 545 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). While a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss need not contain detailed factual allegations, it must contain "sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, ---U.S. ----, ----, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009). To survive a motion to dismiss, a civil plaintiff must allege facts that 'raise a right to relief above the speculative level . . . ." Victaulic Co. v. Tieman, 499 F.3d 227, 235 (3d Cir. 2007) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). Accordingly, to satisfy the plausibility standard, the complaint must indicate that defendant's liability is more than "a sheer possibility." Iqbal, 120 S.Ct. at 1949. "Where a complaint pleads facts that are 'merely consistent with' a defendant's liability, it 'stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief.'" Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557).

Under the two-pronged approach articulated in Twombly and later formalized in Iqbal, a district court must first identify all factual allegations that constitute nothing more than "legal conclusions" or "naked assertions." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 557. Such allegations are "not entitled to the assumption of truth" and must be disregarded for purposes of resolving a 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1950. Next, the district court must identify "the 'nub' of the . . . complaint--the well-pleaded, nonconclusory factual allegation[s]." Id. Taking these allegations as true, the district judge must then determine whether the complaint states a plausible claim for relief. See id.

However, "a complaint may not be dismissed merely because it appears unlikely that the plaintiff can prove those facts or will ultimately prevail on the merits." Phillips, 515 F.3d at 231(citing Twombly, 127 S. Ct. 1964-65, 1969 n.8). Rule 8 "does not impose a probability requirement at the pleading stage, but instead simply calls for enough facts to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of the necessary element." Id. at 234.

III. FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS

Plaintiff and Defendant are husband and wife and have been parties to a divorce action filed in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania since February 2006. (Doc. 1 ¶ 5-6). Plaintiff resides in Wisconsin, and Defendant resides in Pennsylvania. (Id. ¶ 3-4). Plaintiff alleges that Defendant wrongfully filed two criminal ex parte actions in India. (Id. ¶13, 15). The first action, a dowry claim filed April 16, 2006, alleged that Plaintiff abused the dowry laws of India. (Id. ¶ 13). The second action, a fraudclaim filed October 17, 2008, alleged that Plaintiff committed fraud in his applications and documentation in pursuit of his medical degree and professional license. (Id. ¶ 15).

Plaintiff's complaint consists of two counts: Abuse of Process (Count I) and Tortious Interference with Perspective [sic, hereinafter "Prospective"] Business Interests (Count II). With respect to Count I, Plaintiff alleges two wrongful uses of the Indian courts. First, that Defendant filed the fraud action to wrongfully prevent Plaintiff from completing his medical education and obtaining a medical license. (Id. ¶ 19). Second, that Defendant filed both actions to secure leverage in the divorce negotiations. (Id. ¶20). With respect to Count II, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant filed the fraud action for ...


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