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Dillard v. Borough of Wilkinsburg

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

December 4, 2014

KELLIE DILLARD and TODD ELLIOT KOGER, HUSBAND AND WIFE, Plaintiffs,
v.
BOROUGH OF WILKINSBURG, MATTHEW MORRISON, JOHN SNYDER, SEAN GRAMZ, JIM FRANK, DANIEL FRIEDSON, ENTERPRISE RENT-A-CAR, BRIAN McLAUGHLIN, MELISSA O'LEARY, CULGAN TOWING AND RICHARD VIRAG Defendants.

MEMORANDUM ORDER: RE DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS TO DISMISS (DOC. NOS. 41 AND 45)

ARTHUR J. SCHWAB, Chief District Judge.

I. Introduction

This case centers on a contractual relationship between two individuals and a car-rental service, and an alleged conspiracy between the car-rental service and a local municipality to deprive these individuals of their civil rights based upon their race. Kellie Dillard and Todd Elliot Koger ("Plaintiffs"), filed this lawsuit against the Borough of Wilkinsburg ("Wilkinsburg"), Sergeant Matthew Morrison, Sergeant John Snyder, Sean Gramz (identified as a "supervising officer of the state"), Jim Frank (identified as a "supervising officer of the state"), Daniel Friedson (identified as a "supervising officer of the state"), Enterprise Rent-A-Car ("Enterprise"), Brian "McGlaughlin" (an employee of Enterprise Rent-A-Car), [1] Melissa O'Leary (an employee of Enterprise Rent-A-Car), Culgan Towing, and Richard Virag.

Plaintiffs' Complaint includes the following nine (9) counts: Count 1-violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1981; Count 2-violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983; Count 3-violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1985; Count 4-violations of state constitutional civil rights (pendent state law claim); Count 5-interference with contract (pendent state law claim); Count 6-defamation (pendent state law claim); Count 7-breach of contract (pendent state law claim); Count 9-violation of the Uniform Commercial Code § 9-609 (pendent state law claim); and Count 10-conversion (pendent state law claim).[2] Plaintiffs do not specify which Defendants are named in these counts. Thus, each count will be presumed to be against each of the Defendants.

Presently before this Court are two Motions to Dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Doc. Nos. 41 and 45. The first has been filed on behalf of the Borough of Wilkinsburg and Defendants Morrison, Snyder, Gramz, Frank, and Friedson (the "Wilkinsburg Defendants"). Doc. No. 41. The Second Motion to Dismiss has been filed by Enterprise, McLaughlin, and O'Leary (the "Enterprise Defendants"). Doc. No. 45. These Parties move this Court to dismiss Plaintiffs' Complaint in its entirety. Id . Defendants Culgan Towing and Virag were served on September 22, 2014, but have not filed any responsive documents. Doc. Nos. 8 and 9.

Plaintiffs wholly oppose Defendants' Motions. Doc. No. 48.[3]

For the following reasons, the pending Motions to Dismiss (Doc. Nos. 41 and 45) will be DENIED AS PREMATURE, and this matter will be STAYED pending resolution of matters that are on appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and pending before the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County.

II. Facts

The following facts, as set forth in Plaintiffs' Amended Complaint, are taken as true solely for the purposes of this Memorandum Order:

On or about June 29, 2013, Plaintiffs contacted Enterprise, to inquire into leasing one of their vehicles. Doc. No. 7, ¶ 14. Plaintiffs were informed by an individual named "Shane" that Enterprise's policy required that a vehicle be rented for 20 days before it could be leased at a monthly rate of $708.55. Id. at ¶ 15. They were also informed that any payment in excess of $708.55 would be refunded after the 20 day rental period. Id. at ¶ 16. Plaintiffs entered into a contract to lease one of Enterprise's vehicles at a rate of $708.55 per month. Id. at ¶¶ 15-16.

On or about the 2nd or 3rd day of the rental, Plaintiffs complained that they were being overcharged on their lease because an optional insurance fee was included in their statement, even though they had advised "Shane" that they declined this coverage. Id. at ¶ 17. An Enterprise manager, "Paige, " informed Plaintiffs that the overcharge would be refunded to them by mail after the 20 day rental period. Id. at ¶ 18.

By July or August 2013, this overcharge was not corrected. Id. at ¶ 19. Plaintiffs informed another Enterprise employee, "Pam, " who stated that the overcharge would not be refunded and that "Paige" was no longer employed at Enterprise. Id. at ¶¶ 19-20.

Plaintiffs subsequently asked to speak to a district manager at Enterprise in order to dispute the overcharge, but "Pam" refused to provide the telephone number and attempted to keep the vehicle as an apparent "retaliation" despite receiving the full lease payment of $1, 299.32. Id. at ¶¶ 21-22. "Pam" called Defendant Morrison, of the Borough of Wilkinsburg Police Department, while he was on duty, "to her office as an agent [to] enforce her planned conspiracy/retaliation" against the Plaintiffs. Id. at ¶ 22.

Plaintiffs contacted another Enterprise office located in Turtle Creek to obtain the corporate district manager's telephone number. Id. at ¶ 23. Defendant McLaughlin is the district manager. Id. at ¶ 24. "Pam" falsely informed Defendant McLaughlin that Plaintiffs were ineligible for the $708.55 monthly lease rate because they had not rented the vehicle for more than 20 days. Id . Plaintiffs informed Defendant McLaughlin that they had rented the vehicle since June 29, 2013 (more than 30 days) and were being overcharged because of their race, African-American. Id. at ¶ 25. Plaintiffs witnessed a "corporate policy" of Pam charging a white female customer that day (on or about July or August of 2013) at a lower rate. Id . Plaintiffs also informed McLaughlin ...


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