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Konold v. Superior Intern. Industries Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

October 31, 2012

Michael KONOLD and Denise Konold, Plaintiffs,
v.
SUPERIOR INTERNATIONAL INDUSTRIES INC., Small Water Slides Inc., and Aquatic Facility Design Inc., Defendants.

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Peter D. Friday, Friday & Cox LLC, Pittsburgh, PA, for Plaintiffs.

David B. White, Stephanie L. Solomon, Burns White LLC, Stuart H. Sostmann, Marshall, Dennehey, Warner, Coleman & Goggin, Pittsburgh, PA, for Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION RE: MOTIONS TO DISMISS (DOC. NOS. 6 AND 8)

ARTHUR J. SCHWAB, District Judge.

I. Introduction

Currently before the Court are Defendants Superior International Industries

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Inc. (" Superior" ), Small Water Slides (" Small Water" ), [1] and Aquatic Facility Design Inc.'s (" Aquatic's" ) (collectively " Defendants' " ) Motions to Dismiss (Doc. Nos. 6 and 8). Defendants argue that dismissal is appropriate pursuant to the Colorado River doctrine and Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), and alternatively, ask for a more definite statement pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(e).[2] Plaintiffs argue that the case should be remanded to the Court of Common Pleas of Indiana County. Because it appeared from the pleadings that no party wished for the case to proceed in this forum, on October 11, 2012, the Court ordered that the parties meet and confer in an attempt to come to an agreement on the disposition of this case. Doc. No. 16. On October 22, 2012, the parties filed Notices that they were unable to come to an agreement with regard to the disposition of this case. Doc. Nos. 17-19. Therefore, the Court will rule on Defendants' pending Motions to Dismiss. After careful consideration of Defendants' Motions to Dismiss and Briefs in Support thereof (Doc. Nos. 6-9), Plaintiffs' Responses in Opposition (Doc. Nos. 13 and 14), and Defendants' Replies (Doc. Nos. 20 and 21), and for the reasons that follow, Defendants' Motions to Dismiss (Doc. Nos. 6 and 8) will be GRANTED in PART and DENIED in PART.

II. Procedural and Factual Background

When reviewing a Motion to Dismiss under 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 favor of Plaintiffs. See Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir.2009). Taking Plaintiffs' factual allegations to be true solely for the purposes of this Memorandum Opinion, the facts of this case are as follows:

On October 14, 2011, Plaintiffs filed suit in the Court of Common Pleas of Indiana County (" Indiana County Complaint" ) against The J.S. Mack Foundation (" J.S. Mack" ) and the YMCA of Indiana County (" YMCA" ). Doc. No. 8-3. The Indiana County Complaint consists of two counts, negligence and loss of consortium, against both J.S. Mack and YMCA. Id., ¶¶ 14-17. On December 19, 2011, J.S. Mack filed a Complaint to Join against Defendants (Superior, Small Water, and Aquatic) (" Third-Party Complaint" ). Doc. No. 8-4. The Third-Party Complaint includes ten counts: negligence against all three Defendants; strict liability against Superior and Small Water; breach of warranty against Superior and Small Water; and breach of contract against all three Defendants. Id., ¶¶ 16-47.

On or about August 14, 2012, Plaintiffs filed suit in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County against Superior, Small Water, and Aquatic. Doc. No. 1-1. On September 19, 2012, Defendants filed a Joint Notice of Removal in this Court. Doc. No. 1. The Complaint consists of five counts against all Defendants: negligence; professional negligence; strict liability; breach of warranty; and loss of consortium. Id., ¶¶ 23-39.

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The case in Indiana County and the case presently before this Court both revolve around the same incident. On July 4, 2010, Mr. Konold was at the Mack Park Pool in Indiana County, Pennsylvania. Doc. No. 1-1, ¶¶ 8, 16. The Mack Park Pool was leased by the YMCA who, along with J.S. Mack, was responsible for operating the premises. Id., ¶¶ 8-9. Mr. Konold hit a bar which was located above the steps leading to the waterslide. Id., ¶¶ 18-19. He fell backwards onto the landing below and suffered severe injuries as the result of the fall. Id., ¶¶ 19-22. Sometime prior to 2010, Aquatic entered into a design services contract with J.S. Mack which included the swimming pool and waterslide at issue. Id., ¶ 12. Small Water manufactured the waterslide at issue. Id., ¶ 5.

III. Standard of Review

A. Colorado River Doctrine

The Colorado River abstention doctrine allows a Federal Court to stay or dismiss a pending federal action, when there is a parallel ongoing state court proceeding. Nationwide Mut. Fire Ins. Co. v. George V. Hamilton, Inc., 571 F.3d 299, 307 (3d Cir.2009) (citing Colorado River Water Conservation Dist. v. United States, 424 U.S. 800, 96 S.Ct. 1236, 47 L.Ed.2d 483 (1976)). The doctrine is to be used sparingly because " federal courts have a strict duty to exercise the jurisdiction that is conferred upon them by Congress." Id. (quoting Quackenbush v. Allstate Ins. Co., 517 U.S. 706, 716, 116 S.Ct. 1712, 135 L.Ed.2d 1 (1996)). Whether Colorado River abstention is appropriate is a two-part inquiry. Id. First, there must be a parallel state proceeding that raises " substantially identical claims [and] nearly identical allegations and issues." Id. (quoting Yang v. Tsui, 416 F.3d 199, 204 n. 5 (3d Cir.2005)) (alteration in original). Second, Courts apply a multi-part test to determine if there are extraordinary circumstances meriting abstention. Id. at 307-08 (citing Spring City Corp. v. Am. Bldg. Co., 193 F.3d 165, 171 (3d Cir.1999)). If such extraordinary circumstances are present, the Court may stay or dismiss the action. Spring City, 193 F.3d at 173.

B. Rule 12(b)(6)

In considering a Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 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 whet the ... claim is and the grounds on which it rests.’ " Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47, 78 S.Ct. 99, 2 L.Ed.2d 80 (1957)).

Building upon the landmark United States Supreme Court decisions in Twombly and Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009), the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit explained that a District Court must undertake the following three steps to determine the sufficiency of a complaint:

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." Third, " whe[n] there are well-pleaded factual allegations, a court should assume their veracity and then determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement for relief." This ...

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