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James W. Swayne v. Mount Joy Wire Corporation

March 30, 2012

JAMES W. SWAYNE, PLAINTIFF
v.
MOUNT JOY WIRE CORPORATION, DEFENDANT



The opinion of the court was delivered by: James Knoll Gardner, United States District Judge

OPINION

This matter is before the court on defendant's Motion to Dismiss Amended Complaint Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). *fn1 For the following reasons, I grant defendant's motion to dismiss. Specifically, I conclude that both of plaintiff's claims are preempted by the federal Labor Management Relations Act and that plaintiff has failed to state a viable claim under federal law. Additionally, because plaintiff has already had one opportunity to amend his complaint and because I conclude that further amendments would be futile, I dismiss plaintiff's claims with prejudice.

JURISDICTION

Jurisdiction in this case is based upon federal question jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 and pursuant to 29 U.S.C. § 185, which provides original jurisdiction to district courts to hear breach of contract suits between an employer and a labor organization.

VENUE

Venue is proper pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b) because the events giving rise to plaintiff's claims allegedly occurred in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, which is within this judicial district.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Plaintiff James W. Swayne initiated this action on July 7, 2010 by filing a three-count Complaint against his employer, defendant Mount Joy Wire Corporation, in the Court of Common Pleas of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. *fn2

Defendant timely removed the matter to this court by Notice of Removal filed August 10, 2010. *fn3 On August 17, 2010 defendant filed an initial motion to dismiss.

By Order and accompanying Opinion dated and filed March 21, 2011, I granted in part, denied in part, and dismissed in part as moot, defendant's original motion to dismiss.

Specifically, regarding Count I, I granted the motion to the extent it sought dismissal of plaintiff's defamation claim as untimely. I dismissed Count I without prejudice for plaintiff to re-plead his defamation claim to establish the timeliness of his claim. I dismissed defendant's motion to dismiss as moot to the extent that it sought dismissal for failure to state a claim for defamation under Pennsylvania law.

I granted defendant's motion to dismiss to the extent it sought dismissal of Count II, and accordingly dismissed plaintiff's misuse of legal procedure claim with prejudice. *fn4 I denied the motion to the extent that it sought dismissal of Count III for breach of contract.

On March 31, 2011 Defendant's Motion for Partial Reconsideration was filed. It requested reconsideration of the portion of my March 21, 2011 Order and Opinion that dismissed Count I of plaintiff's Complaint without prejudice and denied defendant's motion to dismiss Count III.

On May 9, 2011 plaintiff filed his Amended Complaint, alleging Pennsylvania state-law claims for defamation (Count I) and breach of contract (Count III). In Count II of the Amended Complaint, plaintiff indicates that Count II in the original Complaint alleging misuse of legal procedure was dismissed by me, and he did not pursue that claim in the Amended Complaint.

On May 24, 2011 defendant filed the within motion to dismiss the Amended Complaint. Plaintiff responded in opposition on June 6, 2011.

By Order dated and filed January 12, 2012, I denied defendant's motion for partial reconsideration, but did not address the merits of defendant's pending motion to dismiss plaintiff's Amended Complaint. Hence this Opinion.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

A claim may be dismissed under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for "failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). A 12(b)(6) motion requires the court to examine the sufficiency of the complaint. Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45, 78 S.Ct. 99, 102, 2 L.Ed.2d 80, 84 (1957) (abrogated in other respects by Bell Atlantic Corporation v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007)). Generally, in ruling on a motion to dismiss, the court relies on the complaint, attached exhibits, and matters of public record, including other judicial proceedings. Sands v. McCormick, 502 F.3d 263, 268 (3d. Cir. 2008).

Except as provided in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 9, a complaint is sufficient if it complies with Rule 8(a)(2), which requires "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief."

Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Rule 8(a)(2) does not require heightened fact pleading of specifics, but "only enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570, 127 S.Ct. at 1974, 167 L.Ed.2d at 949. *fn5

In determining whether a plaintiff's complaint is sufficient, the court must "accept all factual allegations as true, construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, and determine whether, under any reasonable reading, the plaintiff may be entitled to relief." Fowler, 578 F.3d at 210 (citing Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 233 (3d Cir. 2008)).

Although "conclusory or bare-bones allegations" will not survive a motion to dismiss, Fowler, 578 F.3d at 210, 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. Nonetheless, to survive a 12(b)(6) motion, the complaint must provide "enough facts to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of the necessary element[s]." Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556, 127 S.Ct. at 1965, 167 L.Ed.2d at 940) (internal quotations omitted).

The court is required to conduct a two-part analysis when considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion. First, the factual matters averred in the complaint, and any attached exhibits, should be separated from legal conclusions asserted therein. Fowler, 578 F.3d at 210. Any facts pled must be taken as true, and any legal conclusions asserted may be disregarded.

Id. at 210-211.

Second, the court must determine whether those factual matters averred are sufficient to show that the plaintiff has a "plausible claim for relief." Id. at 211 (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at __, 129 S.Ct. at 1950, 178 L.Ed.2d at 884).

Ultimately, this two-part analysis is "context-specific" and requires the court to draw on its "judicial experience and common sense" to determine if the facts pled in the complaint have "nudged [plaintiff's] claims" over the line from "[merely] conceivable [or possible] to plausible." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at __, 129 S.Ct. at 1949-1950, 178 L.Ed.2d at 884-885. A well-pleaded complaint may not be dismissed simply because "it strikes a savvy judge that actual proof of those facts is improbable, and that a recovery is very remote and unlikely." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556, 127 S.Ct. at 1965, 167 L.Ed.2d at 940-941.

FACTS

Based upon the averments in plaintiff's Amended Complaint, which I must accept as true under the foregoing standard of review when considering a motion to ...


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