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Ashleigh Freer v. Allied Services; Red Deuce

November 7, 2011

ASHLEIGH FREER,
PLAINTIFF
v.
ALLIED SERVICES; RED DEUCE, LLC; FRANK NIEMIEC AND DONALD SPENCER, DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: (Judge Munley)

MEMORANDUM

Before the court for disposition are motions to dismiss Plaintiff Ashleigh Freer's complaint filed by all defendants. The motions have been briefed and are ripe for disposition.

Background

Plaintiff, a paraplegic, does not have the use of her legs and uses a wheelchair. (Doc. 9, Am. Compl. ¶ 7). Plaintiff leased a residence in Wysox, Pennsylvania, from Defendant Red Deuce LLC. (Id. ¶ 11). Defendant Frank Niemiec is a principal of Red Deuce, LLC and Defendant Donald Spencer is the maintenance man employed by Red Deuce and/or Niemiec. (Id. ¶ 9).

Plaintiff moved into the residence on March 1, 2009. (Id. ¶ 11). After she began living at the residence, plaintiff noticed that the temperature of the hot water in the sink was extraordinarily high. (Id. ¶ 12). She complained to Defendant Spencer about the water temperature. (Id.)

Defendant Allied Services ("Allied") is an agency responsible for the care, protection and safety of plaintiff due to her underlying medical conditions. (Id. ¶ 27). Allied assigns case workers to ensure that plaintiff is safe in her home. (Id. ¶ 28). These case workers are Allied's employees. (Id.)

On April 11, 2009 plaintiff attempted to shower at the premises with some hardware she had obtained to make showering possible. (Id. ¶ 14-15). In the process, she sustained serious burns to her right foot due to the temperature of the water. Based upon these facts, plaintiff filed suit on February 9, 2011. (Doc. 1, Compl.). Plaintiff filed an amended complaint on April 6, 2011. (Doc. 9). The amended complaint asserts negligence claims against all the defendants. The defendants move to dismiss the amended complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The matter is fully briefed and ripe for disposition.

Jurisdiction

Plaintiff is a citizen of New York state, and the defendants are citizens of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Therefore, this Court has jurisdiction pursuant to the diversity jurisdiction statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Because we are sitting in diversity, the substantive law of Pennsylvania shall apply to the instant case. Chamberlain v. Giampapa, 210 F.3d 154, 158 (3d Cir. 2000) (citing Erie R.R. v. Tompkins, 304 U.S. 64, 78 (1938)).

Standard of review

This case is before the court pursuant to defendants' motions to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted filed pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. When a 12(b)(6) motion is filed, the sufficiency of the allegations in the complaint is tested. Granting the motion is appropriate if, accepting as true all the facts alleged in the complaint, the plaintiff has not pleaded "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face," or put another way, "nudged [his or her] claims across the line from conceivable to plausible." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). The Third Circuit interprets Twombly to require the plaintiff to describe "enough facts to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of" each necessary element of the claims alleged in the complaint. Phillips v. Cnty. of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 234 (3d Cir. 2008) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). Moreover, the plaintiff must allege facts that "justify moving the case beyond the pleadings to the next stage of litigation." Id. at 234-35.

In relation to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2), the complaint need only provide "'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,'" Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (citation omitted). "[T]he factual detail in a complaint [cannot be] so undeveloped that it does not provide a defendant the type of notice of claim which is contemplated by Rule 8." Phillips, 515 F.3d at 232 (citation omitted). "Rule 8(a)(2) requires a 'showing' rather than a blanket assertion of an entitlement to relief." Id.

The issue is whether the facts alleged in the complaint, if true, support a claim upon which relief can be granted. In deciding a 12(b)(6) motion, the court must accept as true all factual allegations in the complaint and give the pleader the benefit of all reasonable inferences that can fairly be drawn therefrom, and view them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Morse v. Lower Merion Sch. Dist., 132 F.3d 902, 906 (3d Cir.1997). To decide a motion to dismiss, a court generally should consider only the allegations in the complaint, exhibits attached to the complaint, matters of public record, and documents that form the basis of a claim. See In re ...


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