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Dino Locastro v. Cannery Casino Resorts

April 23, 2013


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


Memorandum Opinion re: Motion to Dismiss (doc. no. 9)

I. Introduction

Currently pending before the Court is Defendant Cannery Casino Resorts, LLC's ("Defendant's") Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff Dino LoCastro's ("Plaintiff's") Complaint (doc. no. 1). Doc. No. 9. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant discriminated against him in violation of: the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") (Count I); the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution (Count II); and Article I, Section 26 of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (Count III). Defendant contends that it is not a state actor and that Count I fails to state a claim for which relief may be granted. Doc. Nos. 9 & 10. After careful consideration of Defendant's Motion to Dismiss and brief in support thereof (doc. nos. 9 & 10) and Plaintiff's response thereto (doc. no. 12), and for the reasons that follow, Defendant's Motion to Dismiss (doc. no. 9) will be GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART.

II. Factual Background

Under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, at this stage the Court must "accept as true the factual allegations in the Complaint and draw all reasonable inferences in plaintiff's favor." Warren Gen. Hosp. v. Amgen Inc., 643 F.3d 77, 79-80 (3d Cir. 2011).

Plaintiff owns harness horses and formally raced his horses at Defendant's racetrack in Washington County, PA. Doc. No. 1, ¶¶ 6-7. Plaintiff was ejected from Defendant's casino, located adjacent to its racetrack, for actions at a poker table. Id., ¶¶ 10-15. Plaintiff was subsequently barred from entering Defendant's property, both the racetrack and casino portions. Id., ¶¶ 16-17. Plaintiff was also barred from entering his horses in races at the racetrack. Id. Plaintiff is disabled, with bipolar disorder and depression, and receives Social Security Income. Id., ¶¶ 27-28. Plaintiff's disability makes him a difficult individual with whom to interact. Id., ¶¶ 29-30. Plaintiff's disability does not make him a threat to the public Id., ¶¶ 38-39. Plaintiff avers that he was discriminated against because of his disability. Id., ¶ 41. Plaintiff also avers, in a conclusory fashion, that Defendant acted under color of state law. Id., ¶ 46.

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 Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 554, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)).

Building upon the landmark United States Supreme Court decisions in Twombly and Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (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 take 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. Finally, where 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.

Connelly v. Steel Valley Sch. Dist., 706 F.3d 209, 212 (3d Cir. 2013) (citation omitted).

The third step of the sequential evaluation requires this Court to consider the specific nature of the claims presented and to determine whether the facts pled to substantiate the claims are sufficient to show a "plausible claim for relief." Covington v. Int'l Ass'n of Approved Basketball Officials, 710 F.3d 114, 118 (3d Cir. 2013). "While legal conclusions can provide the framework of a Complaint, they must be supported by factual allegations." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 664.

This Court may not dismiss a Complaint merely because it appears unlikely or improbable that Plaintiff can prove the facts alleged or will ultimately prevail on the merits. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 563 n.8. Instead, this Court must ask whether the facts alleged raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of the necessary elements. Id. at 556. Generally speaking, a Complaint that provides adequate facts to establish ...

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