STACEY SHROPSHIRE Individually and as Administratrix of the Estate of RODNEY S. SHROPSHIRE, Deceased, Plaintiff,
LANCE SHANEYFELT, SR., EURO TRANS, INC. a/k/a EURO-TRANS, INC., GDA LLC, STEVE KASZAS, TOTAL QUALITY LOGISTICS, and VOYAGE EXPRESS, INC., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM ORDER RE. DEFENDANT VOYAGE'S MOTION TO DISMISS COUNT XI AND CLAIMS FOR PUNITIVE DAMAGES PURSUANT TO FED. R. CIV. P. 12(B)(6) AND MOTION TO STRIKE PARAGRAPH 16 OF PLAINTIFF'S SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT PURSUANT TO FED. R. CIV. P. 12(F) (DOC. NO. 44)
ARTHUR J. SCHWAB, District Judge.
This case centers on a fatal motor vehicle accident and is brought by the deceased husband's wife individually and on behalf of his estate. Doc. No. 1. Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint contains eleven (11) causes of action against Defendants. Doc. No. 32. This case was removed from the Court of Common Pleas of Lawrence County, Pennsylvania. Presently pending before the Court is a Motion to Dismiss re: Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint filed by Defendant Voyage Express Inc. ("Voyage"). Doc. No. 44.
In its Motion to Dismiss, Defendant Voyage moves the Court to: (1) dismiss Count XI, Plaintiff's claim for loss of consortium; (2) dismiss Plaintiff's claims for punitive damages in her wrongful death claims; (3) dismiss Plaintiff's claims for punitive damages in her remaining claims; and (4) strike paragraph 16 of Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 12(f). Doc. No. 44.
II. 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 "how, when, and where" will survive a Motion to Dismiss. Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 212 (3d Cir. 2009).
In short, a Motion to Dismiss should not be granted if a party alleges facts, which could, if established at trial, entitle him/her to ...