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Lubold v. University Veterinary Specialists, LLC

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

June 30, 2017

RORY L. LUBOLD, Plaintiff,
v.
UNIVERSITY VETERINARY SPECIALISTS, LLC, ANTHONY HORBAL, APRYLE HORBAL Defendants.

         ELECTRONICALLY FILED

          MEMORANDUM ORDER OF COURT

          Arthur J. Schwab United States District Judge

         Before the Court is Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint or in the alternative, Motion to Strike portions of the Complaint. Doc. no. 11. Plaintiff filed a Response in Opposition to same. Doc no. 17.

         For the reasons set forth more fully herein, the Court will grant, in part, the Motion to Dismiss and will grant the Motion to Strike two paragraphs of the Complaint.

         I. STANDARDS OF REVIEW

         A. Motion to Dismiss - Fed. R.Civ. P. 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.

         B. Motion to Strike - ...


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