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Darrell Molinari v. Consol Energy Inc

October 16, 2012


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Arthur J. Schwab United States District Judge



On July 31, 2012, Plaintiff Darrell Molinari ("Plaintiff") filed suit in this Court based upon anti-trust laws and this Court's supplemental jurisdiction. Doc. No. 1.

Presently before the Court are the separate Motions to Dismiss filed by Defendants Consol Energy, Inc. ("Consol"), GMS Mine Repair & Maintenance, Inc. ("GMS"), Select Medical Corporation ("Select Medical"), and Gunther Nash, Inc. ("Gunther Nash").*fn1 Doc. Nos. 18, 21, 23, 26. After careful consideration of Plaintiff's Complaint (Doc. No. 1), Defendants' Motions to Dismiss and Briefs in support thereof (Doc. Nos. 18, 19, 21, 22, 23, 24, 26, 27), Plaintiff's Responses thereto (Doc. Nos. 35-40), Defendant GMS' Reply brief (Doc. Nos. 43-1 and 47), Defendant Gunther Nash's Reply Brief (Doc. No. 50), Plaintiff's Sur-Reply (Doc. No. 54) and Defendant Select Medical's Reply Brief (Doc. No. 53) the Court will grant Defendants' Motions to Dismiss.*fn2

II.Factual Background

When reviewing a Motion to Dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), the Court accepts all factual allegations in the Complaint as true and draws all reasonable inferences in Plaintiff's favor. See Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir. 2009). Taking Plaintiff's factual allegation as true solely for the purposes of this Memorandum Opinion, the facts of this case are as follows:

Plaintiff was employed by Select Medical from 1999 through 2002. Doc. No. 1, ¶ 10. He returned to employment with Select Medical in 2003. Id. at ¶ 11. Plaintiff resigned from his position at Select Medical in the fall of 2011. Id. at ¶ 13. Plaintiff did not execute a non-compete agreement, non-solicitation agreement, or any other agreement with a restrictive employment covenant. Id. at ¶¶ 10-11.

When Plaintiff resigned from Select Medical, he took a position with Gunther Nash, obtained through a third party administrator, CLP Resources, Inc. ("CLP Resources"). Id. at ¶ 13. Plaintiff's former employer, Select Medical, is a direct competitor of Gunther Nash. Id. at ¶ 20. Select Medical had an agreement with Consol that stated, in pertinent part:

During the initial term and any renewal terms of this contract, and for a period of eighteen (18) months after the expiration or earlier termination of this contract, [Consol] covenants and agrees that it will not, directly or indirectly, without the express written consent of [Select Medical] (which consent may be withheld in [Select Medical's] discretion for any reason), solicit, contract, engage, hire or employ any person who is, or at any time was, an employee of Select Medical. Id. at ¶ 12 ("the Agreement").

Just prior to Plaintiff beginning employment with Gunther Nash, "Consol and/or Select Medical informed Gunther Nash of the Agreement, in an attempt to persuade Gunther Nash that it could not hire Plaintiff for the purpose of using him in any contract that provided services to Consol." Id. at ¶ 14. Gunther Nash was not persuaded that any Agreement applied to it and sent Plaintiff to act as the Safety Coordinator for Consol's Enlow Fork Mine, which was contracted between Gunther Nash and Consol. Id. at ¶¶ 15-17. Plaintiff held the position from September 26, 2011, until April 2012. Id. at ¶ 18.

In late March or early April 2012, Consol and Select Medical worked to have Gunther Nash terminate Plaintiff's services at the Enlow Contract. Id. at ¶ 20. This was done under the pretense of the Agreement and with Gunther Nash's complicity. Id. Specifically, Select Medical urged Consol to contact Gunther Nash and inform Gunther Nash of the Agreement and, as a result, Plaintiff was terminated. Id. at ¶ 21.

Consol and Select Medical also prevented Plaintiff from obtaining work at another company as a result of the Agreement. In March 2011, Plaintiff applied for a position with GMS as a safety coordinator at the Consol Bailey Mine. Id. at ¶ 23. Dennis Ewedosh, an employee of Consol, and Sean Miller, an employee of Select Medical, met with Jeff Giacobi, a GMS employee and persuaded GMS not to hire Plaintiff. Id. at ¶ 24. Select Medical and GMS are direct competitors. Id. at ¶ 25.

III.Standard of Review

In considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, federal courts require notice pleading, as opposed to the heightened standard of fact pleading. Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2) requires only " '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 on which it rests.'" Bell ...

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