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Joseph Fuce, Ii v. William West

July 25, 2012

JOSEPH FUCE, II
v.
WILLIAM WEST



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

MEMORANDUM OPINION

In this pro se *fn1 action brought under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), 18 U.S.C. § 1961-1968, Joseph Fuce II, alleges that his former employer's general manager, William West, engaged in unlawful racketeering activity by conspiring with an unidentified accountant and Sovereign Bank to steal money from Fuce's paycheck. West has moved to dismiss the complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), arguing Fuce has failed to state a RICO claim. West asserts that no racketeering activity occurred because the money deducted from Fuce's paychecks was withheld for federal, state, and local taxes. *fn2

Although he characterizes West's actions as "robbery" and "embezzlement," Fuce actually alleges a breach of contract, which is not racketeering activity actionable under RICO. Because Fuce has failed to state a RICO claim, we shall grant West's motion to dismiss.

Standard of Review

When considering a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6), all well-pleaded allegations in the complaint are accepted as true and viewed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Holk v. Snapple Beverage Corp ., 575 F.3d 329, 334 (3d Cir. 2009) (quoting Phillips v. Cnty. of Allegheny , 515 F.3d 224, 231 (3d Cir. 2008)). We may also consider documents attached to the complaint. Buck v. Hampton Twp. Sch. Dist. , 452 F.3d 256, 260 (3d Cir. 2006) (citation omitted). Additionally, the pro se plaintiff's pleadings must be considered deferentially, affording him the benefit of the doubt where one exists. Dluhos v. Strasberg , 321 F.3d 365, 369 (3d Cir. 2003) (citing Higgins v. Beyer , 293 F.3d 683, 688 (3d Cir. 002)). With these standards in mind, we shall accept as true Fuce's factual allegations and draw all possible inferences from these facts in his favor.

Discussion *fn3

On June 23, 2011, Fuce was hired to work as a service technician for the New Life Services Company ("NLS"). He entered into a verbal employment contract to work twenty-five hours per week at an initial pay rate of $8.00 per hour. Although the exhibits to his complaint indicate that he worked for and was paid by NLS, *fn4

Fuce alleges that his employment contract was with West. *fn5

Fuce worked with NLS from June 24, 2011 to December 31, 2011, logging a total of 605 hours. The amount of each paycheck was less than the gross amount of his earnings.

On September 29, 2011, Fuce sent a letter to West requesting a one-dollar pay raise and production of all documents he had signed with NLS. West did not respond to this request. *fn6 Fuce sent a second letter to West on October 10, 2011 inquiring about the status of his previous requests. *fn7 He wrote that he was owed $419.68 in back pay and would be imposing $100 "penalty" for each day West failed to respond to his letters. *fn8 Fuce sent a third letter to West on December 15, 2011, reiterating his previous request and his intention to impose a $100 per diem penalty. *fn9 On December 31, 2011, Fuce ceased working at NLS. Three days later he attempted to hand-deliver a bill to West for $2,252.71, including back pay and penalties. West refused to accept the letter. *fn10

Fuce alleges that West conspired with an unnamed accountant and Sovereign Bank to steal money from his earnings. He identifies the accountant only as one who "engages in accounting of the collection of the unlawful debts." *fn11 He contends that Sovereign Bank participated in this unlawful enterprise by "supply[ing] the account(s) for the unlawful debts collected." *fn12

To state a civil RICO claim, the plaintiff must allege that the defendant engaged in one of the four "Prohibited activities" listed at 18 U.S.C. § 1962(a)-(d) (2006). *fn13

Sedima, S.P.R.L. v. Imrex Co., 473 U.S. 479, 482-83 (1985). Fuce alleges that West violated § 1962(d), which prohibits conspiring to commit one of the three object offenses defined in subsections (a), (b) or (c).

To state a claim under subsection (d), Fuce must first allege that the object of the conspiracy was a violation of either subsection (a), (b) or (c). See In re Ins. Brokerage Antitrust Litig. , 618 F.3d 300, 373 (3d Cir. 2010) (quoting Salinas v. United States , 522 U.S. 52, 65 (1997)); Lightning Lube, Inc. v. Witco Corp. , 4 F.3d 1153, 1191 (3d Cir. 1993). Absent that allegation, a ยง ...


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