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Martin v. SIMOS

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

May 30, 2017

ROBERT MARTIN IV, Plaintiff
v.
SIMOS, t.d.b.a. SIMOS INSOURCING SOLUTIONS, Defendant

          MEMORANDUM

          James M. Munley United States District Court

         Before the court for disposition is defendant's motion to dismiss, filed pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. (Doc. 5). The parties have briefed their respective positions and the motion is ripe for disposition.

         Background

         On July 27, 2016, Plaintiff, Robert Martin IV (hereinafter “plaintiff”) interviewed for a job at Lowe's Distribution Center, located in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania. (Doc. 1-1, Pl's. Compl.)(hereinafter “Compl.”)(¶ 5) Defendant, SIMOS Insourcing Solutions, (hereinafter “SIMOS”) interviewed plaintiff on Lowe's behalf.[1] During the initial interview, plaintiff revealed that he had a prior criminal record and mentioned that he did not want to waste time applying if he would be rejected due to the criminal record. (Compl. ¶ 5). Defendant ran a background check on plaintiff at the interview, advised him he was “good to go, ” and hired him on the spot to work at Lowe's. (Compl. ¶¶ 7, 8). Shortly thereafter, plaintiff began working at Lowe's unloading trucks. (Compl. ¶ 9).

         While he worked at Lowe's, a female employee alleged that plaintiff had harassed her, whereupon plaintiff was temporarily suspended pending an investigation. (Compl. ¶ 10). SIMOS contacted plaintiff, advising that he had been cleared of the allegation, and then he returned to work for about one day before being told to contact a human relations representative.

         Plaintiff contacted a human relations representative who informed him that he would be terminated because of his criminal history. (Compl. ¶ 13). Plaintiff received by mail a “Pre-Adverse Notice” dated September 26, 2016, which included a background screening report containing his prior criminal history. (Compl. ¶¶ 15-16).

         On or about October 4, 2016, SIMOS terminated plaintiff's employment because of the criminal history. (Compl. ¶¶ 17-18). Plaintiff filed his complaint on March 2, 2017, in the Court of Common Pleas for Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, alleging only one count: wrongful termination based upon Pennsylvania's Criminal History Records Information Act, (hereinafter “CHRIA”), 18 PA. CONS. STAT. §§ 9101-9183. (Compl. ¶¶ 25-31.) Specifically, the plaintiff alleges the defendant's actions constitute wrongful termination because they violate public policy as codified in CHRIA. On April 3, 2017, defendant filed a Notice of Removal (Doc. 1), and on April 8, 2017, defendant filed the instant motion to dismiss, bringing the case to its present posture.

         Jurisdiction

         The court has jurisdiction pursuant to the diversity statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Plaintiff is a citizen of Pennsylvania. (Compl. ¶ 1). SIMOS is incorporated in Delaware with its principal place of business in Georgia. (Compl. ¶ 2; Doc. 1, Notice of Removal ¶ 10). Because complete diversity of citizenship exists between the parties and the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000, the court has jurisdiction over the case. See 28 U.S.C. § 1332 (“[D]istrict courts shall have original jurisdiction of all civil actions where the matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75, 000, exclusive of interest and costs, and is between . . . citizens of different States[.]”). As a federal court sitting in diversity, the substantive law of Pennsylvania shall apply to the instant case. Chamberlain v. Giampapa, 210 F.3d 154, 158 (3d Cir. 2000) (citing Erie R.R. v. Tompkins, 304 U.S. 64, 78 (1938)).

         Standard of review

         This case is before the court pursuant to defendants' motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted filed pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. When a 12(b)(6) motion is filed, the sufficiency of the allegations in the complaint is tested. Granting the motion is appropriate if, accepting as true all the facts alleged in the complaint, the plaintiff has not pleaded “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face, ” or put another way, “nudged [his or her] claims across the line from conceivable to plausible.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). The Third Circuit interprets Twombly to require the plaintiff to describe “enough facts to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of” each necessary element of the claims alleged in the complaint. Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 234 (3d Cir. 2008) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). Moreover, the plaintiff must allege facts that “justify moving the case beyond the pleadings to the next stage of litigation.” Id. at 234-35.

         The issue is whether the facts alleged in the complaint, if true, support a claim upon which relief can be granted. In deciding a 12(b)(6) motion, the court must accept as true all factual allegations in the complaint and give the pleader the benefit of all reasonable inferences that can fairly be drawn therefrom, and view them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Morse v. Lower Merion Sch. Dist., 132 F.3d 902, 906 (3d Cir.1997). To decide a motion to dismiss, a court generally should consider only the allegations in the complaint, exhibits attached to the complaint, matters of public record, and documents that form the basis of a claim. See In re Burlington Coat Factory Sec. Litig., 114 F.3d 1410, 1426 (3d Cir. 1997); Pension Benefit Guar. Corp. v. White Consol. Indus., Inc., 998 F.2d 1192, 1196 (3d Cir. 1993)

         Discussion

         Plaintiff's complaint contains one count, wrongful termination. (Doc. 1-1, Compl. ¶¶ 25-31). Plaintiff alleges that he was wrongfully terminated from his employment due to his criminal history. Defendant moves to dismiss the complaint arguing that Pennsylvania is an “at-will” employment state and, as a matter of ...


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