United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
MALACHY E. MANNION, District Judge.
Pending before the court is a motion for judgment on the pleadings filed on behalf of defendants OneWest Bank and Deutsche Bank National Trust Company. (Doc. No. 32). Based upon the court's review of the motion and related materials, the defendants' motion will be granted.
I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY
By way of relevant background, on December 16, 2010, the plaintiff filed the instant personal injury action based upon diversity jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1332. (Doc. No. 1). By order dated February 25, 2011, the plaintiff was directed to file an amended complaint properly setting forth the citizenship of each of the parties in order to establish the court's subject matter jurisdiction over the action. (Doc. No. 2). The plaintiff filed his amended complaint on March 17, 2011. (Doc. No. 3).
After orders by the court allowing the plaintiff additional time within which to properly effect service of the action upon defendants Indymac Mortgage Services, a division of One West Bank, FSB, Indymac Bank F.S.B., One West Bank and Deutsche Bank National Trust Co., (Doc. No. 14, Doc. No. 18), summonses were returned reflecting proper service upon all of these defendants except Indymac Mortgage Services. (Doc. No. 19, Doc. No. 20, Doc. No. 21). Indymac Mortgage Services has since been dismissed as a party in this action. (Doc. No. 50).
An answer to the plaintiff's amended complaint was filed on behalf of defendants OneWest Bank and by Deutsche Bank National Trust Co. on November 15, 2012. (Doc. No. 22).
On March 11, 2013, defendants OneWest Bank and Deutsche Bank National Trust Company filed the instant motion for judgment on the pleadings, (Doc. No. 32), along with a brief in support thereof, (Doc. No. 33). The plaintiff filed a brief in opposition to the defendants' motion on April 7, 2013, (Doc. No. 36). On April 15, 2013, the defendants filed their reply brief. (Doc. No. 37).
II. LEGAL STANDARD
The standard for deciding a motion for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Rule 12(c) is identical to that for deciding a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6). Turbe v. Gov't of V.I. , 938 F.2d 427, 428 (3d Cir. 1991). In deciding the defendants' motion, the court must read the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff and all well-pleaded, material allegations in the complaint must be taken as true. Estelle v. Gamble , 429 U.S. 97 (1976). However, the court need not accept inferences drawn by the plaintiff if they are unsupported by the facts as set forth in the complaint. See California Pub. Employee Ret. Sys. v. The Chubb Corp. , 394 F.3d 126, 143 (3d Cir. 2004) (citing Morse v. Lower Merion School Dist. , 132 F.3d 902, 906 (3d Cir. 1997)). The court also need not accept legal conclusions set forth as factual allegations. Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly , 550 U.S. 554, 555 (2007) (citing Papasan v. Allain , 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986)).
A viable complaint must include "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Twombly , 550 U.S. at 554 (rejecting the traditional 12(b)(6) standard set forth in Conley v. Gibson , 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957)). "Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Id. at 555. See also Ashcroft v. Iqbal , 556 U.S. 662 (2009) (holding that, while the complaint need not contain detailed factual allegations, it must contain more than a "formulaic recitation of the elements" of a claim and must state a claim that is plausible on its face) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, supra , and providing further guidance on the standard set forth therein).
In deciding the defendants' motion, the court should generally consider only the allegations contained in the complaint, the exhibits attached to the complaint, matters of public record, and "undisputably authentic" documents which plaintiff has identified as the basis of his claim. See Pension Benefit Guarantee Corp. v. White Consolidated Industries, Inc. , 998 F.2d 1192, 1196 (3d Cir. 1993).
Taking the factual allegations in the plaintiff's complaint as true, as the court must do in considering the defendants' motion for judgment on the pleadings, the plaintiff alleges that on or about December 26, 2008, at approximately 10:30 p.m., he was a pedestrian at the intersection of Sellersville Drive and State Route 209 in Middle Smithfield Township, Monroe County, Pennsylvania. At that time, defendant Bish was operating a motor vehicle which knocked down and ran over the plaintiff after a confrontation regarding the plaintiff's property. As a result of the incident, the plaintiff suffered significant injuries, including, but not limited to, injuries to his back and neck, pain, periodic seizures and concussion, some or all of which may be permanent in nature.
Based upon the above allegations, the plaintiff has brought the instant two-count action. In Count I, the plaintiff alleges that defendant Bish was negligent. Specifically, the plaintiff alleges that the collision was a direct and proximate result of defendant Bish's failure to keep his vehicle under proper and adequate control; failure to operate his vehicle with due regard for the rights and safety of the plaintiff; failure to operate his vehicle in a safe and prudent manner; and operating a motor ...