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G & T Conveyor Company, Inc v. Allegheny County Airport Authority

July 5, 2011

G & T CONVEYOR COMPANY, INC., PLAINTIFF,
v.
ALLEGHENY COUNTY AIRPORT AUTHORITY,
DEFENDANT.



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

ELECTRONICALLY FILED

Memorandum Opinion on Motion to Dismiss Amended Complaint (doc. no. 21)

I.Introduction

This is an action for breach of contract. On April 29, 2011, Plaintiff, G & T Conveyor Company, Inc., filed a one count complaint in this Court, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332, alleging breach of contract for work it performed at the Allegheny County Airport Authority (ACCA) on baggage handling conveyors for a contract amount of $9,008,600.00. On May 26, 2011, Defendant filed a Motion to Dismiss the Original Complaint (doc. no. 10), and on June 8, 2010, Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint alleging Breach of Contract, and adding claims for Promissory Estoppel, Unjust Enrichment, and violation of the Pennsylvania Contractor and Subcontractors Payment Act (doc. no. 15). On June 21, 2011, Defendant filed a Motion to Dismiss the Amended Complaint under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (doc. no. 21), and on June 29, 2011, plaintiff filed its Response in Opposition thereto (doc. no. 23).

For the reasons discussed below, defendant‟s Motion to Dismiss will be GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.

II.Standard of Review

Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2), civil complaints must contain a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." A complaint may be dismissed pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) if it does not allege "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Phillips v. Cnty. of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 234 (3d Cir. 2008) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.544, 570 (2007)).*fn1 To survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a claim for relief now ""requires more than labels and conclusions‟" or ""a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action.‟" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1948 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). While Rule 8 was "a notable and generous departure from the hyper-technical, code-pleading regime of a prior era," it does not "unlock the doors of discovery for a plaintiff armed with nothing more than conclusions." Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1950.

In light of the Supreme Court‟s decision in Iqbal, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has advised district courts to review Rule 12(b)(6) motions to dismiss for failure to state a claim as follows:

[D]istrict courts should conduct a two-part analysis. First, the factual and legal elements of a claim should be separated. The District Court must accept all of the complaint's well-pleaded facts as true, but may disregard any legal conclusions. 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." In other words, a complaint must do more than allege the plaintiff's entitlement to relief. A complaint has to "show" such an entitlement with its facts. As the Supreme Court instructed in Iqbal, "[w]here the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged -- but it has not "show[n]‟ -- "that the pleader is entitled to relief.‟" This "plausibility" determination will be "a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense."

Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210-11 (3d Cir. 2009) (quoting Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1949).

In conducting this analysis, the Court will accept all of the plaintiff‟s factual allegations as true and construe all inferences in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. See Umland v. Planco Fin. Servs., 542 F.3d 59, 64 (3d Cir. 2008) (citing Buck v. Hampton Twp. Sch. Dist., 452 F.3d 256, 260 (3d Cir. 2006)). However, a court will not accept bald assertions, unwarranted inferences, or sweeping legal conclusions cast in the form of factual allegations. See In re Rockefeller Ctr. Props., Inc. Sec. Litig., 311 F.3d 198, 215 (3d Cir. 2002); Morse v. Lower Merion Sch. Dist., 132 F.3d 902, 906 n.8 (3d Cir. 1997). A court is not required to consider legal conclusions; rather, it should determine whether the plaintiff should be permitted to offer evidence in support of the allegations. See Maio v. Aetna, Inc., 221 F.3d 472, 482 (3d Cir. 2000). To satisfy the requirement of Federal Rule 8(a)(2) for a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief," a plaintiff must aver sufficient factual allegations which "nudge" its claims "across the line from conceivable to plausible." Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1951.

This standard does not impose a heightened burden on the claimant above that already required by Rule 8, however, but instead calls for fair notice of the factual basis of a claim and enough specificity to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of the necessary element. See Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555; Phillips, 515 F.3d at 234.

III. Factual Background

Plaintiff, G&T Conveyor Company, Inc., is a Florida corporation that is in the business of designing, manufacturing, and installing high-quality baggage handling systems in airports throughout the United States. Doc. No. 15 ΒΆ 1, 6. Defendant, ACAA , operates the Pittsburgh ...


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