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Oscar Melian v. Europa Macchina

August 6, 2012

OSCAR MELIAN, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
EUROPA MACCHINA, INC., DENNIS J. FRICK, AND LORI FRICK, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. John E. Jones III

MEMORANDUM & ORDER

Presently pending before the Court is the Plaintiff's Motion to Dismiss (doc. 27) Defendants' counterclaim for unjust enrichment. The Motion has been fully briefed (docs. 27-1, 29, 30) and is thus ripe for our review. For the reasons that follow, we will deny the Motion in its entirety.

I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Plaintiff Oscar Melian ("Plaintiff") commenced the above-captioned action on March 8, 2012 with the filing of a Complaint (doc. 1). Plaintiff seeks damages against the Defendants, Europa Macchina, Inc. ("Europa"), Dennis J. Frick, and Lori Frick, (collectively, "Defendants"), for intentional misrepresentation (Count I), violation of the Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law (Count II), breach of contract (Count III), and breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing (Count IV). The Plaintiff's Complaint also alleges that the he is entitled to an award of punitive damages (Id. ¶¶ 127-131).

Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss the Plaintiff's Complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) on April 12, 2012, (doc. 10), seeking dismissal of the individual Defendants, Dennis and Lori Frick, and dismissal of Plaintiff's claim for punitive damages. This Court denied the said motion by Order (doc. 24) dated June 14, 2012. The Defendants thereafter filed an Answer and a two-count Counterclaim (doc. 25), asserting claims for breach of contract (Count I) and unjust enrichment (Count II) against the Plaintiff.

On July 12, 2012, the Plaintiff filed the instant Motion to Dismiss (doc. 27) seeking dismissal of the Defendants' unjust enrichment claim. The Motion has been fully briefed (docs. 27-1, 29, 30) and is thus ripe for our review.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

In considering a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), courts "accept all factual allegations as true, construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, and determine whether, under any reasonable reading of the complaint, the plaintiff may be entitled to relief." Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 231 (3d Cir. 2008) (quoting Pinker v. Roche Holdings, Ltd., 292 F.3d 361, 374 n.7 (3d Cir. 2002)). In resolving a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), a court generally should consider only the allegations in the complaint, as well as "documents that are attached or submitted with the complaint, . . . and any matters incorporated by reference or integral to the claim, items subject to judicial notice, matters of public record, orders, [and] items appearing in the record of the case." Buck v. Hampton Twp. Sch. Dist., 452 F.3d 256, 260 (3d Cir. 2006).

A Rule 12(b)(6) motion tests the sufficiency of the complaint against the pleading requirements of Rule 8(a). Rule 8(a)(2) requires that a complaint contain 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." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). While a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss need not contain detailed factual allegations, it must contain "sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. ___, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009). To survive a motion to dismiss, a civil plaintiff must allege facts that "raise a right to relief above the speculative level . . . ." Victaulic Co. v. TIeman, 499 F.3d 227, 235 (3d Cir. 2007) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). Accordingly, to satisfy the plausibility standard, the complaint must indicate that defendant's liability is more than a "sheer possibility." Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1949. "Where a complaint pleads facts that are 'merely consistent with' a defendant's liability, it 'stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief.'" Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557).

Under the two-pronged approach articulated in Twombly and later expounded upon and formalized in Iqbal, a district court must first identify all factual allegations that constitute nothing more than "legal conclusions" or "naked assertions." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 557. Such allegations are "not entitled to the assumption of truth" and must be disregarded for purposes of resolving a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1950. Next, the district court must identify "the 'nub' of the . . . complaint -- the well-pleaded, nonconclusory factual allegation[s]." Id. Taking these allegations as true, the district judge must then determine whether the complaint states a plausible claim for relief. See id.

However, "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 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556-57). Rule 8 "does not impose a probability requirement at the pleading stage, but instead simply calls for enough facts to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of the necessary element." Id. at 234.

III. SUMMARY OF THE FACTS

In accordance with the standard of review applicable to a Motion to Dismiss, the following facts are derived from the Defendants' Counterclaim (doc. 25) and viewed in a light most favorable to the Defendants.

The Plaintiff and the Defendants entered into an agreement for the sale of a 1958 Porsche 356A Sunroof Coupe ("subject vehicle") and a separate agreement for the restoration thereof. (Doc. 1, ¶¶ 18-20; Doc. 25, ¶¶ 18-20). Plaintiff paid $49,500 toward the vehicle plus $6,000 to begin funding the subject vehicle's restoration. (Doc. 25, ¶ 21). The Defendants agreed to provide Plaintiff with title to the vehicle and a Certificate of Authenticity regarding the subject vehicle. (Doc. 1, ¶ 27; Doc. 25, ¶ 27). The Defendants restore many vehicles annually and, pursuant to standard operating procedure, hold the title and Certificate of Authenticity for the vehicle undergoing restoration until the restoration is complete and the customer requests the same for purposes of titling and insuring the vehicle. ...


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