United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
Scott Bordignon brings a claim for promissory estoppel
against defendant Eastern University, Am. Compl., Dkt. No.
10, alleging defendant hired him knowing he was a Canadian
national and promised to sponsor his H1-B visa application,
only to decline to sponsor his visa and subsequently fire him
immediately after he had relocated to Pennsylvania from
Washington, D.C. and stopped pursuing other job
opportunities. Id. I have before me defendant's
motion to dismiss, Dkt. No. 11, plaintiff's response,
Dkt. No. 12, and defendant's reply, Dkt. No. 13. For the
following reasons, I will deny defendant's motion.
a Canadian national, applied to be an assistant athletic
trainer at Eastern University. Am. Compl. ¶ 9. During
his interview, he explained that he would need sponsorship
for an H1-B Visa. Id. ¶ 11. Plaintiff alleges
that “Defendant, by and through its employees, advised
Plaintiff that his H1-B Visa would be sponsored and that he
should not be concerned.” Id. ¶ 12. He
was later offered the job by John Post, an Eastern University
professor, and he accepted. Id. ¶ 13.
discussing the position and his potential start date with
Post, plaintiff inquired about the status of his H1-B visa
sponsorship and alleges he was told that “everything
would be taken care of.” Id. ¶¶ 15,
16. He alleges he was later again told by unnamed
“agents and employees” that he should not be
concerned and that there was no doubt the sponsorship was
being processed. Id. ¶ 19. Plaintiff then moved
from Washington, D.C. to Delaware County, Pennsylvania and
stopped applying to and interviewing for other jobs.
Id. ¶¶ 21-22.
prior to the start of the fall semester, the Eastern
University human resources director told plaintiff that the
University only sponsored H1-B visas for faculty, not staff.
Id. ¶ 24-26. Plaintiff offered to pay for any
attorneys' fees and filing costs involved in the effort
to obtain the visa. Id. ¶ 30. After discussing
the visa process for approximately one month, Eastern
University fired plaintiff. Id. ¶ 31. Plaintiff
has since returned to Canada. Id. ¶ 35.
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) permits a court to dismiss
all or part of an action for “failure to state a claim
upon which relief can be granted.” Typically, “a
complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does
not need detailed factual allegations, ” though
plaintiff's obligation to state the grounds of
entitlement to relief “requires more than labels and
conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a
cause of action will not do.” Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). “Factual
allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above
the speculative level . . . on the assumption that all of the
allegations in the complaint are true (even if doubtful in
fact).” Id. (citations omitted). This
“simply calls for enough fact[s] to raise a reasonable
expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of” the
necessary element. Id. at 556. The Court of Appeals
has made clear that after Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662 (2009), “conclusory or ‘bare-bones'
allegations will no longer survive a motion to dismiss:
‘threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of
action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not
suffice.' To prevent dismissal, all civil complaints must
now set out ‘sufficient factual matter' to show
that the claim is facially plausible.” Fowler v.
UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir.
2009), quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. The Court
also set forth a two part-analysis for reviewing motions to
dismiss in light of Twombly and Iqbal:
First, the factual and legal elements of a claim should be
separated. The District Court must accept all of the
complaint's well-pleaded facts as true, but may disregard
any legal conclusions. Second, a District Court must then
determine whether the facts alleged in the complaint are
sufficient to show that the plaintiff has a “plausible
claim for relief.”
Id. at 210-11, quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at
679. The Court explained, “a complaint must do more
than allege the plaintiff's entitlement to relief. A
complaint has to ‘show' such an entitlement with
its facts.” Id., citing Phillips v. Cnty.
of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 234-35 (3d Cir. 2008).
“[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
filed his first complaint in this court alleging
discrimination in violation of federal laws and asserting
federal question jurisdiction. Dkt. No. 1. I dismissed that
complaint for failure to state a claim but granted plaintiff
leave to file an amended complaint. Dkt. No. 8. Plaintiff now
brings a state claim for promissory estoppel. Defendant
challenges jurisdiction, arguing that this court cannot
exercise supplemental jurisdiction over plaintiff's claim
because plaintiff's federal claim was dismissed. Dkt. No.
11 at p. 12-15. However, plaintiff does not contend the court
has supplemental jurisdiction over this claim, but rather
alleges his claim rests in the court's diversity
jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a). See Am.
Compl. ¶ 6. Because defendant's motion does not show
that the parties have the same citizenship or that it
appears “to a legal certainty [that] the claim is
really for less than” $75, 000, defendant has not shown
that this court lacks jurisdiction over plaintiff's
claim. Horton v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co., 367 U.S.
348, 353 (1961); see also Golden v. Golden, 382 F.3d
348, 354-55 (3d Cir. 2004) (explaining that, when a plaintiff
brings a claim under diversity jurisdiction, “[t]he
amount need not be proven; rather, the amount is judged from
the face of the complaint and is generally established by a
good faith allegation”).