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Stanley E. Yates, Jr., et al v. Commercial Index Bureau

April 24, 2012

STANLEY E. YATES, JR., ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
COMMERCIAL INDEX BUREAU, INC., ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Anita B. Brody, J.

MEMORANDUM

Plaintiffs Stanley E. Yates, Jr. and Denyse Yates bring suit against Defendants Commercial Index Bureau, Inc. ("CIB"), Rockne F. Cooke, Gordon W. Rusinko,*fn1 and National Railroad Passenger Corporation ("AMTRAK"), alleging federal claims of violation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act ("HIPAA") and state law claims of invasion of privacy and trespass. Defendants CIB, Cooke, and Rusinko (collectively, "CIB Defedants") have filed a motion to dismiss all claims against them.*fn2 For the reasons set forth below, the motion will be granted in part and denied in part.

I. BACKGROUND*fn3

In November 2008, Stanley E. Yates. Jr. filed a personal injury lawsuit against AMTRAK. Unbeknownst to Stanley Yates, AMTRAK hired CIB, a private investigation firm, "to conduct a background investigation and surveillance to determine the current level of physical activity performed by Stanley E. Yates, Jr. . . . ." Compl. ¶ 13 (internal quotation marks omitted). "Rockne F. Cooke owned, operated, controlled, managed, worked for, or was the agent of CBI [sic]," and "CBI [sic] employed managed, and/or directed Gordon W. Rusinko's activities." Compl. ¶ 8, 10.

Stanley Yates did not learn that AMTRAK had hired CIB to investigate him until January 21, 2011 when AMTRAK gave him CIB's reports, surveillance logs, and videos. CIB's report reveals that, on February 5, 2009, Rusinko was working for CIB surveilling Stanley Yates at his home where he lived with his wife, Denyse Yates, and their children. During this sureveillance, Rusinko "intentionally intruded" onto the family's land. Compl. ¶ 17. Rusinko went to the house and rang the doorbell. Stanley Yates answered the doorbell and "told the investigator that during the last snow storm they had used a broom to clean the snow off." Compl. ¶ 16.

Additionally, CIB's report reveals that CIB communicated with several hospitals as part of "a records investigation of Stanley E. Yates, Jr. in order to develop [his] health history." Compl. ¶ 36 (internal quotation marks omitted). CIB was able to confirm that Stanley Yates received treatment at five different hospitals through hospital records that identified such items as Stanley Yates's name, date of birth, and social security number. From its records investigation, CIB was able to learn the specific dates that Stanley Yates had been seen for ER visits at Beverly Hospital and Pinnacle Health System Harrisburg Hospital. CIB was also able to learn the specific dates that Stanley Yates had been seen for outpatient visits at North Shore Medical Center and Holy Spirit Hospital. While Hanover Hospital confirmed that Stanley Yates had been treated at the facility, CIB noted, "no information would be released over the phone, due to HIPAA regulations. We do not have consent." Compl. ¶ 36 (internal quotation marks omitted).

After learning of CIB's investigation, Stanley and Denyse Yates filed the present action.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

A motion to dismiss should be granted under Rule 12(b)(6) if the moving party "under any reasonable reading of the complaint . . . may be entitled to relief." Kerchner v. Obama, 612 F.3d 204, 207 (3d Cir. 2010) (internal quotation marks omitted). The complaint must allege facts sufficient to "raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). "Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Ashcroft v. Iqbal,129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009). Rather, "a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Id. (internal quotation marks omitted). "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id.

In deciding a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a court must "accept all factual allegations in the complaint as true and view them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff." Buck v. Hampton Twp. Sch. Dist., 452 F.3d 256, 260 (3d Cir. 2006). This "assumption of truth" is "inapplicable to legal conclusions." Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1949-50.

"As a general matter, a district court ruling on a motion to dismiss may not consider matters extraneous to the pleadings. However, an exception to the general rule is that a document integral to or explicitly relied upon in the complaint may be considered . . . ." In re Burlington Coat Factory Sec. Litig., 114 F.3d 1410, 1426 (3d Cir. 1997) (emphasis omitted) (citations omitted) (internal quotation marks omitted). Thus, a court "may . . . consider matters of public record, orders, exhibits attached to the complaint and items appearing in the record of the case." Oshiver v. Levin, Fishbein, Sedran & Berman, 38 F.3d 1380, 1385 n.2 (3d Cir. 1994). Further, "a court may consider an undisputedly authentic document that a defendant attaches as an exhibit to a motion to dismiss if the plaintiff's claims are based on the document." Pension Benefit Guar. Corp. v. White Consol. Indus., Inc., 998 F.2d 1192, 1196 (3d Cir. 1993).

III. DISCUSSION

The claims brought by Stanley and Denyse Yates against CIB Defendants stem from two distinct events: CIB's February 5, 2009 surveillance of their home and CIB'sinvestigation of Stanley Yates's health records. The discussion ...


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