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Rashid Abdul v. Gamesa Technology Corporation

April 18, 2012

RASHID ABDUL,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
GAMESA TECHNOLOGY CORPORATION, INC., ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Slomsky, J.

OPINION

Before the Court is a Motion to Dismiss Count I of the Amended Complaint filed by Gamesa Technology Corporation, Incorporated, LLC, Gamesa Technology Corporation Inc., Dirk Matthys, Kurt Geiger, Arthur Whittemore, and Luis Miguel Fernandez (collectively "Defendants"). (Doc. No. 13.) Plaintiff Rashid Abdul ("Plaintiff") filed a Response in Opposition seeking denial of the Motion in its entirety. (Doc. No. 14.)

On September 7, 2011, Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint against Defendants. (Doc. No. 9.) In Count I, Plaintiff alleges a violation of his civil rights under 42 § U.S.C. 1981. (Id.) In Count II, Plaintiff alleges a violation of the Pennsylvania Wage Payment and Collection Law (Id.) In Count III, Plaintiff alleges a breach of contract under Pennsylvania law. (Id.)

On November 28, 2011, Defendants filed the instant Motion to Dismiss Count I. (Doc. No. 13.) On December 5, 2011, Plaintiff filed the Response in Opposition to Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Count I. (Doc. No. 14.)

For reasons that follow, the Court will grant Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Count I. (Doc. No. 13.)

I. STATEMENT OF THE FACTS

Plaintiff is an American citizen not of Spanish ancestry. (Doc. No. 9 ¶ 4.) Defendants, Gamesa Technology Corporation Incorporated, LLC and Gamesa Technology Corporation are related companies known as Gamesa USA (collectively "Defendant Gamesa USA"). (Id. at ¶ 5.) Defendant Gamesa USA are wholly owned subsidiaries of Defendant Gamesa Corporacion Tecnologica, S.A., a company based in Bilbao, Spain. (Id. at ¶ 6.)

From January 2008 to October 2009, Plaintiff was employed by Defendant Gamesa USA. (Id. at ¶¶ 11, 21.) While employed by Defendant Gamesa USA, Plaintiff worked with the companies' high-level executives, many of whom are Spaniards. (Id. at ¶¶ 14-15.)

Despite working at an executive level, Plaintiff alleges he endured discrimination because he was not from Spain and not of "Spanish ancestry." (Id. at ¶ 23.) Plaintiff argues he was excluded from telephone conferences that were conducted in Spanish, and that emails regarding his work were exchanged in Spanish. (Id. at ¶¶ 24(a), 24(c).) Because Plaintiff does not speak Spanish, he was not able to "meaningfully participate in decisions." (Id. at ¶ 24(c).) Plaintiff also alleges that he was not invited to Spain for meetings that affected his work and was excluded from other meetings where the invitees were only Spaniards. (Id. at ¶¶ 24(j), 24(l).) He further asserts that Spanish employees were treated more favorably, and non-Spanish employees were often found at fault for the mistakes of Spanish employees. (Id. at ¶¶ 24(d), 24(f).)

Plaintiff voiced frustration that he was excluded from meetings and that Spanish employees thwarted his ability to make decisions related to his job. (Id. at ¶ 25.)

On October 9, 2009, Plaintiff was terminated from Gamesa USA. (Doc. No. 9 ¶ 21.) Plaintiff, in turn, filed this suit asserting a claim of discrimination based on race, ancestry, and national origin discrimination. (Doc. No. 9 at 8.)

II. LEGAL STANDARD

The motion to dismiss standard under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) is set forth in the Supreme Court's Opinion Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937 (2009). After Iqbal it is clear that "threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements do not suffice" to defeat a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss. Id. at 1949; see also Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007). Applying the principles of Iqbal and Twombly, the Third Circuit in Santiago v. Warminster Twp. set forth a three-part analysis that a district court in this Circuit must conduct in evaluating whether allegations in a complaint survive a 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss. 629 F.3d 121, 130 (3d Cir. 2010); see also Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir. 2009) (applying the principles of Iqbal and articulating the 12(b)(6) analysis as a two-part test).

First, the court must "tak[e] note of the elements a plaintiff must plead to state a claim." Second, the court should identify allegations that, "because they are no more than conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of truth." Finally, "where there are well-pleaded factual allegations, a court should assume their ...


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