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Murdock v. Esperanza, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

April 22, 2015

DEBRALYNN MURDOCK, Plaintiff
v.
ESPERANZA, INC., Defendant

For DEBRALYNN MURDOCK, Plaintiff: MARC MICHAEL ORLOW, LEAD ATTORNEY, BEGELMAN & ORLOW PC, CHERRY HILL, NJ.

For ESPARANZA, INC., Defendant: WALTER TERRELL TOLIVER, LEAD ATTORNEY, Esperanza, Inc., PHILADELPHIA, PA.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

NITZA I. QUIÑ ONES ALEJANDRO, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

INTRODUCTION

On September 9, 2014, Debralynn Murdock (" Plaintiff" ) filed a complaint against Esperanza, Inc., (" Defendant" ) averring a claim for violation of § 525(b) of the United States Bankruptcy Code (" Code" ),[1] which prohibits discrimination by a private employer against an individual solely on account of the person's status as a current or previous debtor under the Code and, a state law claim for fraudulent inducement. [ECF 1].

On October 20, 2014, Defendant filed a motion to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (" Rules" ) 12(b)(1) and (b)(6). [ECF 4]. Before this Court are Defendant's motion to dismiss, Plaintiffs response in opposition, [ECF 5], and Defendant's reply. [ECF 6]. The issues presented have been fully briefed and are ripe for disposition.

For the reasons set forth herein, Defendant's motion is granted, and Plaintiff's complaint is dismissed.

LEGAL STANDARD OF REVIEW

When considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, a court " must accept all of the complaint's well-pleaded facts as true, but may disregard any legal conclusions." Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210-11 (3d Cir. 2009). The court must determine " whether the facts alleged in the complaint

Page 835

are sufficient to show that the plaintiff has a 'plausible claim for relief.'" Id. at 211 ( quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009)). The complaint must do more than merely allege the plaintiff's entitlement to relief; it must " show such an entitlement with its facts." Id. (citations omitted). " [W]here the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct the complaint has alleged -- but it has not 'show[n]' -- 'that the pleader is entitled to relief.'" Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679 (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)) (alterations in original). " 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." Id. at 678 (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007)). " Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements do not suffice." Id. To survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), " a plaintiff must allege facts sufficient to 'nudge [his] claims across the line from conceivable to plausible.'" Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 234 (3d Cir. 2008) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570 ).

In deciding a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, a court may only consider the complaint, exhibits attached to the complaint, matters of public record, as well as undisputedly authentic documents if the complainant's claims are based upon these documents. Mayer v. Belichick, 605 F.3d 223, 230 (3d Cir. 2010); Pension Benefit Guar. Corp. v. White Consol. Indus., 998 F.2d 1192, 1196 (3d Cir. 1993).

A Rule 12(b)(1) motion to dismiss challenges the power of a federal court to hear a claim or a case. Gould Elecs., Inc. v. U.S., 220 F.3d 169, 178 (3d Cir. 2000). When presented with a Rule 12(b)(1) motion, the plaintiff " will have the burden of proof that jurisdiction does in fact exist." Petruska v. Gannon Univ., 462 F.3d 294, 302 (3d Cir. 2006). " The plaintiff must assert facts that affirmatively and plausibly suggest that the pleader has the right he claims (here, the right to jurisdiction), rather than facts that are merely consistent with such a right." In re Sobering Plough Corp. Intron/Temodar Consumer Class Action, 678 F.3d 235, 244 (3d Cir. 2012) (quoting Stalley v. Catholic Health Initiatives, 509 F.3d 517, 521 (8th Cir. 2007)). A court must grant a motion to dismiss if it lacks subject matter jurisdiction to hear a claim. Id. at 243 (citing Ballentine v. U.S., 486 F.3d 806, 810, 48 V.I. 1059 (3d Cir. 2007)).

BACKGROUND

In considering Defendant's motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), this Court accepts, as true, the relevant factual allegations in the ...


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