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Hoffman v. Palace Entertainment

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

March 25, 2014






This matter is before the court on Defendant Festival Fun Parks, LLC's Motion to Dismiss.[2]

For the reasons expressed below, I deny the motion. Specifically, I deny the motion because plaintiff's disability-discrimination claim is not untimely, and because plaintiff has sufficiently alleged a claim of disability discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1991 ("ADA")[3], and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act ("PHRA")[4], and a claim under Pennsylvania's Criminal History Record Information Act[5].


This court has federal question jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 over plaintiff's claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1991, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12112-12117. This court has supplemental jurisdiction over plaintiff's pendent state-law claims. See 28 U.S.C. § 1367.


Venue is proper pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b) because the events giving rise to these claims occurred in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, which is located in this judicial district. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 118, 1391(b).


Plaintiff initiated this action on October 31, 2012 by filing an Application to Proceed in District Court Without Prepaying Fees and Costs.[6]

By Order dated November 14, 2012 and filed November 15, 2012, I granted plaintiff's application to proceed in forma pauperis. Additionally, the November 14, 2012 Order directed that plaintiff's Complaint be filed and served upon defendants.

Defendant Festival Fun Parks filed the within motion to dismiss on April 5, 2013. Plaintiff pro se filed two documents objecting to the motion to dismiss: the first was filed May 1, 2013' and the second was filed May 8, 2013.


A claim may be dismissed under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for "failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). A Rule 12(b)(6) motion requires the court to examine the sufficiency of the complaint. Conley v. Gibson , 355 U.S. 41, 45, 78 S.Ct. 99, 102, 2 L.Ed.2d 80, 84 (1957)(abrogated in other respects by Bell Atlantic Corporation v. Twombly , 550 U.S. 544, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007)).

Generally, in ruling on a motion to dismiss, the court relies on the complaint, attached exhibits, and matters of public record, including other judicial proceedings. Sands v. McCormick , 502 F.3d 263, 268 (3d Cir. 2008).

Except as provided in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 9, a complaint is sufficient if it complies with Rule 8(a)(2), which requires "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Rule 8(a)(2) "[does] not require heightened fact pleading of specifics, but only enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Twombly , 550 U.S. at 570, 127 S.Ct. at 1974, 167 L.Ed.2d at 949.

In determining whether a plaintiff's complaint is sufficient, the court must "accept all factual allegations as true, construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, and determine whether, under any reasonable reading, the plaintiff may be entitled to relief." Fowler, 578 F.3d at 210 (quoting Phillips v. County of Allegheny , 515 F.3d 224, 233 (3d Cir. 2008)).

Although "conclusory or bare-bones' allegations will [not] survive a motion to dismiss, " Fowler, 578 F.3d at 210, "a complaint may not be dismissed merely because it appears unlikely that the plaintiff can prove those facts or will ultimately prevail on the merits." Phillips , 515 F.3d at 231. Nonetheless, to survive a 12(b)(6) motion, the complaint must provide "enough facts to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of the necessary element[s]." Id . (quoting Twombly , 550 U.S. at 556, 127 S.Ct. at 1965, 167 L.Ed.2d at 940)(internal quotation omitted).

The court is required to conduct a two-part analysis when considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion. First, the factual matters averred in the complaint, and any attached exhibits, should be separated from legal conclusions asserted therein. Fowler, 578 F.3d at 210. Any facts pled must be taken as true, and any legal conclusions asserted may be disregarded. Id. at 210-211.

Second, the court must determine whether those factual matters averred are sufficient to show that the plaintiff has a "plausible claim for relief." Fowler, 578 F.3d at 211 (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679, 129 S.Ct. at 1950, 178 L.Ed.2d at 884).

Ultimately, this two-part analysis is "context-specific" and requires the court to draw on "its judicial experience and common sense" to determine if the facts pled in the complaint have "nudged [plaintiff's] claims" over the line from "[merely] conceivable [or possible] to plausible." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679-680, 129 S.Ct. at 1950-1951, 178 L.Ed.2d at 884-885 (internal quotations omitted).

A well-pleaded complaint may not be dismissed simply because "it strikes a savvy judge that actual proof of those facts is improbable, and that a recovery is very remote and unlikely." Twombly , 550 U.S. at 556, 127 S.Ct. at 1965, 167 L.Ed.2d at 940-941.

In addition to being subject to Rule 8 and Rule 12 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, proceedings in forma pauperis are governed by 28 U.S.C. § 1915. Section 1915(e) provides, in pertinent part, that "the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that... the action... fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted". 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(ii).

Notwithstanding the above, "[t]he obligation to liberally construe a pro se litigant's pleadings is well-established." Mala v. Crown Bay Marina, Inc. , 704 F.3d 239, 698 (3d Cir. 2013)(quoting Higgs v. Attorney General of the United States , 655 F.3d 333, 339 (3d Cir. 2010)); see Estelle v. Gamble , 429 U.S. 97, 106, 97 S.Ct. 285, 292, 50 L.Ed.2d 251, 261 (1976). In so doing, the courts "are willing to apply the relevant legal principle even when the complaint has failed to name it." Id . (citing Dluhos v. Strasberg , 321 F.3d 365, 369 (3d Cir. 2003).

Nevertheless, a plaintiff acting pro se must still plead the essential elements of his or her claims and is not excused from conforming to the standard rules of civil procedure. McNeil v. United States , 508 U.S. 106, 113, 113 S.Ct. 1980, 1984, 124 L.Ed.2d 21, 28-29 (1993).


Taking all of the well-pled facts contained in the Complaint and attached materials as true, and liberally construing plaintiff's pleading because she is proceeding pro se, as I am required to do under the applicable standard of ...

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