United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION ON MOTION TO DISMISS OR, IN THE ALTERNATIVE, MOTION TO STRIKE
LISA PUPO LENIHAN, Magistrate Judge.
Before the Court is Defendant's December 15, 2014 Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint or, in the Alternative, Motion to Strike (ECF No. 12) ("Defendant's Motion"). For reasons more fully set forth below, it is respectfully recommended that the Motion be granted as a Motion to Strike and Plaintiff's ninety-seven (97) page, five-hundred-fifty-four (554) paragraph Complaint (ECF No. 1) alleging "racial discrimination in violation of 42 U.S.C. Section 1981 and other applicable federal and state law" be stricken. See Complaint at 1.
It is further recommended that Plaintiff be given leave to file a Complaint in compliance with both (a) Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and (b) Thompson v. Real Estate Mortg. Network, 748 F.3d 142, 147 (3d Cir. 2014) within twenty (20) days from the date of an Order adopting this Report and Recommendation ("Report"). See Thompson, infra , Section III (quoting Twombly's direction that a plaintiff "need only put forth allegations that raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of the necessary element").
II. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Plaintiff, an African American woman, initiated this Section 1981 lawsuit, through her counsel, on October 17, 2014. Plaintiff was employed by Defendant since mid-1997 and served as the Supervisor of Administrative Claims Services for approximately nine (9) years, until she was laid off in December, 2012. She asserts that until comparatively late in her tenure she received consistently favorable performance reviews and was recommended for five (5) promotions.
Betwixt and between its 554 paragraphs, the present gist of the complaints made in Plaintiff's prolix Complaint appear to be that Plaintiff (a) became a target of retaliation after she opposed race or age discrimination against three (3) of her direct subordinates and served as a witness for their Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") claims of disparate treatment against the Department Director and Manager and (b) was thereafter given unattainable performance goals and unfavorable performance review(s), was harassed in meetings and e-mails, filed a retaliation claim with the EEOC in 2011, and was ultimately barred from reapplying for a new supervisory position when her position was pretextually eliminated in December, 2012. Compare Complaint at 1 (alleging racial discrimination claim under Section 1981 and other unspecified federal and state law).
III. STANDARD OF REVIEW
A motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure tests the legal sufficiency of a complaint. Kost v. Kozakiewicz, 1 F.3d 176, 183 (3d Cir. 1993). A complaint must be dismissed for failure to state a claim if it does not allege "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 554, 556 (2007); Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct.1937, 1949 (May 18, 2009) ("A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged."). The Supreme Court further explained:
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. Where a complaint pleads facts that are "merely consistent with" a defendant's liability, it "stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief.'"
Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556-57).
Recently, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit aptly summarized the standard to be applied in deciding motions to dismiss filed pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6):
Under the "notice pleading" standard embodied in Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a plaintiff must come forward with "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." As explicated in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009), a claimant must state a "plausible" claim for relief, and "[a] claim has facial plausibility when the pleaded factual content allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Although "[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level, " Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007), a plaintiff "need only put forth allegations that raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of the necessary element." Fowler, 578 F.3d at 213 (quotation marks and citations omitted); see also Covington v. Int'l Ass'n of Approved Basketball Officials, 710 F.3d 114, 117-18 (3d Cir. 2013).
Thompson v. Real Estate Mortg. Network, 748 F.3d 142, 147 (3d Cir. 2014). A motion to strike tests whether the Complaint conforms to the pleading requirements of the Federal Court, including (a) Rule 8(a)(2)'s requirement of a "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief" as well as (b) the requirements of facial plausibility under Iqbal and Twombly, supra . It is only necessary that the Complaint "give the defendant fair notice of what the plaintiff's claim is and the grounds upon which it rests", and it is intended that the more precise basis of both claim(s) and defense(s), and the disputed facts and issues, be disclosed/developed through "the liberal opportunity for discovery and the other pretrial procedures established by the Rules". Brejcak v. County of Bucks, 2004 WL 377675 (E.D. Pa. Jan. 28, 2004) (quoting Burks v. City of Philadelphia, 904 F.Supp. 421, 423-24 (E.D. Pa. 1995)) (granting motions to strike 45 page, 216 paragraph complaint under 42 U.S.C. Section 1983). Accordingly, the Courts have applied Rule 12(f) to dismiss, on motion or sua ...