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Keister v. PPL Corporation

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

June 13, 2014

ERNEST KEISTER, Plaintiff,
v.
PPL CORPORATION and INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF ELECTRICAL WORKERS LOCAL 1600 Defendants.

MEMORANDUM

MATTHEW W. BRANN, District Judge.

For the following reasons, plaintiff Ernest Keister's motion for leave to file a second amended complaint (June 24, 2013, ECF No. 21) is granted.

I. General Background

On January 17, 2013, plaintiff Ernest Keister filed a complaint (ECF No. 1) setting forth two claims of alleged discrimination on the basis of age - one under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, 29 U.S.C. §§ 621 et seq. (hereinafter, "ADEA"), and another under the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, 43 P.S. §§ 951 et seq. (hereinafter, "PHRA") - and one claim alleging a violation of the Labor Management Relations Act, 1947 (hereinafter, "LMRA"). All three claims were alleged against both defendants, PPL Corporation (hereinafter, "PPL") and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1600 (hereinafter, "Local 1600").

On March 14, 2013, PPL moved to dismiss the Complaint (ECF No. 8); Keister responded by filing an Amended Complaint on April 15, 2013 (ECF No. 14). Keister's Amended Complaint looked a lot like the original - the same three claims, each alleged against both defendants - but included additional averments in support of his claims.

On May 1, 2013, PPL moved to dismiss the Amended Complaint; Keister filed a brief in opposition on May 14, 2013. (ECF Nos. 16 & 19). Local 1600 moved to dismiss on June 11, 2013. (ECF No. 20).

On June 24, 2013, Keister moved for leave to file a Second Amended Complaint. (ECF No. 21). The proposed Second Amended Complaint includes the same three claims, but names only PPL as defendant on the age discrimination claims. (Keister maintains that both defendants violated the Labor Management Relations Act.) The Second Amended Complaint also amends various averments in support of Keister's claims.

PPL opposes Keister's motion to amend on the ground that the amendment is futile. (See PPL Opp'n Br. July 10, 2013, ECF No. 24 at 8-15). See also Jablonski v. Pan Am. World Airways, Inc. , 863 F.2d 289, 292 (3d Cir. 1988) ("Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a), leave to amend shall be freely given, in the absence of circumstances such as undue delay, bad faith or dilatory motive, undue prejudice to the opposing party or futility of amendment."). Since allowing an amendment to a complaint is futile when "the amendment will not cure the deficiency in the original complaint or [when] the amended complaint cannot withstand a renewed motion to dismiss, " the Court will determine whether to grant Keister's motion to amend by measuring his proposed Second Amended Complaint against the standard applied on a motion under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6).

II. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) Standard

"To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal , 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly , 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). "The plausibility standard is not akin to a probability requirement, ' but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully." Iqbal , 556 U.S. at 662. The goal behind the standard is to weed out those claims that do not present "enough" factual matter, assumed to be true, "to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence" in support of the claims. Twombly , 550 U.S. at 556. Where a "plaintiff[] [fails to] nudge[] [her] claims across the line from conceivable to plausible, [her] complaint must be dismissed." Id . at 570.

As a matter of procedure, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has instructed that,

after Iqbal, when presented with a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, district courts should conduct a two-part analysis. First, the factual and legal elements of a claim should be separated. The District Court must accept all of the complaint's well-pleaded facts as true, but may disregard any legal conclusions. [ Iqbal , 556 U.S. at 678-79]. Second, a District Court must then determine whether the facts alleged in the complaint are sufficient to show that the plaintiff has a "plausible claim for relief." [Id. at 679].

Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside , 578 F.3d 203, 210-11 (3d Cir. ...


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