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Dickerson v. Insource Performance Solutions

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

March 9, 2015


For Eric Dickerson, Plaintiff: Ari R. Karpf, LEAD ATTORNEY, JEREMY M. CERUTTI, Karpf, Karpf & Cerutti, P.C., Bensalem, PA.

For Lowe's Home Centers, LLC, Defendant, Third Party Plaintiff: Tricia B. O'Reilly, LEAD ATTORNEY, Connell Foley LLP, Roseland, NJ; Thomas M. Blewitt, Jr., Connell Foley LLP, Cherry Hill, NJ.

Page 461


MALACHY E. MANNION, United States District Judge.

Presently before the court is the August 29, 2014 motion to dismiss filed by the defendants, Insource Performance Solutions (" Insource" ) and Lowe's Home Centers, LLC (" Lowe's" ). (Doc. 14). The plaintiff, Eric Dickerson, opposes this motion to dismiss on the grounds that a public policy exception to Pennsylvania's at-will employment doctrine should apply to this case.

I. Background

On April 15, 2014, Defendant Insource hired the plaintiff to work as a laborer and driver for Defendant Lowe's. (Doc. 2, Ex. A, p. 2). On April 30, 2014, the plaintiff injured his ankle while standing on a step stool in the course of his placement at Lowe's. Id, at p. 3. The plaintiff subsequently filed for Workers' Compensation benefits. Id. The plaintiff then returned to work on " modified duty." Id.

On May 12, 2014, an Insource supervisor allegedly called the plaintiff and informed him that he was being " let go" because Lowe's " will not take anyone with a work-related injury." Id. The plaintiff was still unable to return to work as of May 15, 2014, because Insource's management claimed " there are no other assignments for [the plaintiff] and that [Lowe's] will not take him back due to his work-related injury." Id.

Page 462

On July 7, 2014, the plaintiff filed a complaint with the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas alleging one count of Common Law Wrongful Discharge for a " pubic policy violation for allegedly making a workers' compensation claim or seeking worker's compensation benefits." Id. at 4. On August 29, 2014, Defendant Lowe's filed the Motion to Dismiss at issue here.

II. Legal Standard

The defendant's motion to dismiss is brought pursuant to the provisions of Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). This rule provides for the dismissal of a complaint, in whole or in part, if the plaintiff fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. The moving party bears the burden of showing that no claim has been stated, Hedges v. United States, 404 F.3d 744, 750 (3d Cir. 2005), and dismissal is appropriate only if, accepting all of the facts alleged in the complaint as true, the plaintiff has failed to plead " enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face," Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1974, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007) (abrogating " no set of facts" language found in Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46, 78 S.Ct. 99, 2 L.Ed.2d 80 (1957)). The facts alleged must be sufficient to " raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 127 S.Ct. at 1965. This requirement " calls for enough fact[s] to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of" necessary elements of the plaintiff's cause of action. Id. Furthermore, in order to satisfy federal pleading requirements, the plaintiff must " provide the grounds of his entitlement to relief," which " requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 231 (3d Cir. 2008) (brackets and quotations marks omitted) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 127 S.Ct. at 1964-65).

In considering a motion to dismiss, the court generally relies on the complaint, attached exhibits, and matters of public record. See Sands v. McCormick, 502 F.3d 263 (3d Cir. 2007). The court may also consider " undisputedly authentic document[s] that a defendant attaches as an exhibit to a motion to dismiss if the plaintiff's claims are based on the [attached] documents." Pension Benefit Guar. Corp. v. White Consol. Indus., 998 F.2d 1192, 1196 (3d Cir. 1993). Moreover, " documents whose contents are alleged in the complaint and whose authenticity no party questions, but which are not physically attached to the pleading, may be considered." Pryor v. Nat'l Collegiate Athletic Ass'n, 288 F.3d 548, 560 (3d Cir. 2002). However, the court may not rely on other parts of the record in determining a motion to dismiss. See Jordan v. Fox, Rothschild, O'Brien & Frankel, 20 F.3d 1250, 1261 (3d Cir. 1994).

Generally, the court should grant leave to amend a complaint before dismissing it as merely deficient. See, e.g., Fletcher-Harlee Corp. v. Pote Concrete Contractors, Inc.,482 F.3d 247, 252 (3d Cir. 2007); Grayson v. Mayview State Hosp.,293 F.3d 103, 108 (3d Cir. 2002); Shane v. Fauver,213 F.3d 113, 116-17 (3d Cir. 2000). " Dismissal without leave to amend is justified only on the grounds of bad ...

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