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McGarry v. GMRI, Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh.

January 12, 2017

DAVID B. MCGARRY, Plaintiff,
v.
GMRI, INC., A FLORIDA CORPORATION; DARDEN RESTRAINTS, INC., A FLORIDA CORPORATION; AND BAHAMA BREEZE HOLDINGS, INC., A FLORIDA CORPORATION; Defendants,

          MEMORANDUM OPINION [1]

          CYNTHIA REED EDDY, United States Magistrate Judge.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Presently before the Court is Defendants' Motion to Dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim [ECF No. 28]. The motion is fully briefed and ripe for disposition. For the reasons that follow, Defendants' motion is denied.

         II. BACKGROUND

         This is a breach of contract case in which Plaintiff David B. McGarry entered into a contract with the Defendants to perform certain remodeling work on their restaurant Bahama Breeze located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Plaintiff claims that in August 2013 he performed a portion of the remodeling work on the restaurant, but at some point the relationship between the parties broke down and Bahama Breeze refused to allow him to complete the remaining work under the contract and did not pay him under their agreement. Plaintiff filed suit against Bahama Breeze in the Allegheny County Magisterial District Court in 2014 seeking damages for the restaurant's breach of contract. After Plaintiff filed suit, the Plaintiff and Bahama Breeze entered into a settlement agreement for the state court suit and Plaintiff discontinued the litigation. The settlement agreement and release states in pertinent part:

McGarry, in consideration for the payment of the above sum, does hereby release and forever discharge Bahama Breeze, its assigns, agents, employees, former employees, directors, officers, shareholders and insurers together with all other persons, firms, successors, predecessor corporations, parent corporations, and affiliated corporations from all, actions, causes of action, suits, charges, claims, debts, grievances, sums of money, and demands of any kind or description whatsoever in law or in equity, known or unknown, as related to or involving money owed for work performed at the Bahama Breeze location at 6100 Robinson Center Drive, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 15205 in September of 2013.

         Exhibit P to the Am. Compl. [ECF No. 23-1] at ¶ 3 (emphasis added). The settlement agreement and release also provided that the settlement payment was being paid

in exchange for the release of any and all remedies, claims, common law and/or statutory causes of action that McGarry possesses or may claim to possess against Bahama Breeze, its assigns, agents, employees, former employees, directors, officers, shareholders, and insurers together with all other persons, firms, successors, predecessor corporations, parent corporations, and affiliated corporations as related to or involving money owed for work performed at the Bahama Breeze location at 6100 Robinson Center Drive, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 15205 in September of 2013.

Id. at ¶ 4.

         Plaintiff brings the instant breach of contract action seeking damages for his lost profits in connection with the remodeling work that Bahama Breeze did not allow him to perform.

         Defendants move to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint on the ground that Plaintiff's present cause of action is encompassed by the terms of the settlement agreement and Plaintiff merely seeks additional remedies for the same cause of action that was settled and withdrawn from state court and alternatively argues that the settlement agreement and release and withdrawal of the state court action bars the present action under the doctrine of res judicata.

         III. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         The applicable inquiry under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) is well settled. Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8, a complaint must contain a “short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Rule 12(b)(6) provides that a complaint may be dismissed for “failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). “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)). A complaint that merely alleges entitlement to relief, without alleging facts that show entitlement, must be dismissed. See Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 211 (3d Cir. 2009). This “‘does not impose a probability requirement at the pleading stage, ' but instead ‘simply calls for enough facts to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of' the necessary elements.” Phillips v. Cnty. of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 234 (3d Cir. 2008) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). Nevertheless, the court need not accept as true “unsupported conclusions and unwarranted inferences, ” Doug Grant, Inc. v. Great Bay Casino Corp., 232 F.3d 173, 183-84 (3d Cir. 2000), or the plaintiff's “bald assertions” or “legal conclusions, ” Morse v. Lower Merion Sch. Dist., 132 F.3d 902, 906 (3d Cir. 1997).

         Although a complaint does not need detailed factual allegations to survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, a complaint must provide more than labels and conclusions. Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). A “formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.” Id. (citing Papasan v. Allain,478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986)). “Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level” and “sufficient to state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face.” 550 U.S. at 555. Facial plausibility exists “when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to ...


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