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Flanagan v. Martfive, LLC

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

February 17, 2017

MICHAEL FLANAGAN an individual, Plaintiff,
v.
MARTFIVE, LLC a Minnesota Limited Liability Corporation doing business as HURRYCANE, LLC, ET AL. Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Arthur J. Schwab United States District Judge

         The Court has diversity jurisdiction over this product liability case. Presently before the Court is a Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Amended Complaint filed by Defendant Minnesota Mold and Engineering a/k/a MME Group, Inc. (“MME”). Doc. no. 65. MME's Motion and accompanying supportive Brief (doc. no. 66) contend that the claim asserted against it by Plaintiff was not brought within the two-year statute of limitations.

         Plaintiff filed a Response and a Brief in Opposition to MME's Motion to Dismiss the Amended Complaint. See doc. nos. 68 and 69, respectively. Plaintiff contends, inter alia, that although the Amended Complaint, naming MME for the first time as a defendant in this lawsuit, was filed after the two-year statute of limitations had expired, the Plaintiff had other venue options, including Minnesota, which carries a four-year statute of limitations for product liability claims.

         MME filed a Reply to Plaintiff's Brief in Opposition (doc. no. 70) reasserting that this Court is bound by Pennsylvania's two-year statute of limitations. This Court concurs with MME for the reasons set forth below in greater detail.

         I. Standard of Review - Rule 12(b)(6)

         Under Rule 12(b)(6), a Complaint must be dismissed for “failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” Detailed factual pleading is not required - Rule 8(a)(2) calls for a “short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief” - but a Complaint must set forth sufficient factual allegations that, taken as true, set forth a plausible claim for relief. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). The plausibility standard does not require a showing of probability that a claim has merit, Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 556 (2007), but it does require that a pleading show “more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. Determining the plausibility of an alleged claim is “a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense.” Id. at 679.

         Building upon the landmark United States Supreme Court decisions in Twombly and Iqbal, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit explained that a District Court must undertake the following three steps to determine the sufficiency of a complaint:

First, the court must take note of the elements a plaintiff must plead to state a claim. Second, the court should identify allegations that, because they are no more than conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of truth. Finally, where there are well-pleaded factual allegations, a court should assume their veracity and then determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement for relief.

Connelly v. Steel Valley Sch. Dist., 706 F.3d 209, 212 (3d Cir. 2013) (citation omitted).

         The third step requires this Court to consider the specific nature of the claims presented and to determine whether the facts pled to substantiate the claims are sufficient to show a “plausible claim for relief.” Covington v. Int'l Ass'n of Approved Basketball Officials, 710 F.3d 114, 118 (3d Cir. 2013); see also Santiago v. Warminster Twp., 629 F.3d 121, 130 (3d Cir. 2010) (In reference to third step, “where there are well-pleaded factual allegations, the court should assume their veracity and then determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement for relief.”).

         When adjudicating a Motion to Dismiss for failure to state a claim, the Court must view all of the allegations and facts in the Complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, and must grant the plaintiff the benefit of all reasonable inferences that can be derived therefrom. Kanter v. Barella, 489 F.3d 170, 177 (3d Cir. 2007) (quoting Evancho v. Fisher, 423 F.3d 347, 350 (3d Cir. 2005)). However, the Court need not accept inferences or conclusory allegations that are unsupported by the facts set forth in the complaint. See Reuben v. U.S. Airways, Inc., 500 F. App'x 103, 104 (3d Cir. 2012) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678); Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210-11 (3d Cir. 2009) (stating that District Courts “must accept all of the Complaint's well-pleaded facts as true, but may disregard any legal conclusions”). “While legal conclusions can provide the framework of a Complaint, they must be supported by factual allegations.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 664.

         This Court may not dismiss a Complaint merely because it appears unlikely or improbable that Plaintiff can prove the facts alleged or will ultimately prevail on the merits. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 563 n.8. Instead, this Court must ask whether the facts alleged raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of the necessary elements. Id. at 556. Generally speaking, a Complaint that provides adequate facts to establish “how, when, and where” will survive a Motion to Dismiss. Fowler, 578 F.3d at 212.

         In short, a Motion to Dismiss should be granted if a party fails to allege facts, which could, if established at trial, entitle him/her to relief. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 563 n.8.

         II. Factual and ...


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