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Levin v. Strayer University, LLC

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

July 26, 2018

DAVID LEVIN Plaintiff,
v.
STRAYER UNIVERSITY, LLC Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM

          C. Darnell Jones, II J.

         I. Introduction

         Plaintiff David Levin brings the above-captioned action against Defendant Strayer University, LLC (“Strayer”), alleging Misrepresentation/Fraud (Count I), “Contract” (Count II), and violations of Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law (Count III). Plaintiff's claims center around an alleged oral “promise” made by Strayer through Strayer personnel, in which said personnel said the University would provide him with job placement services after graduation in exchange for his enrollment. Currently before this Court is Defendant's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Amended Complaint. For the reasons set forth below, Defendant's Motion shall be granted and Plaintiff shall be granted leave to amend.

         II. Background

         A. Procedural History

         On or about February 12, 2018, Plaintiff filed his Complaint in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. Specifically, Plaintiff asserted claims against Strayer for Misrepresentation / Fraud (Count I), Punitive Damages (Count II), and “Contract” (Count III). On February 28, 2018, Strayer removed the matter to this Court on the basis of diversity jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332. On March 6, 2018, Strayer filed a Motion to Dismiss the Complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) and in response, Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint alleging Misrepresentation/Fraud (Count I), “Contract” (Count II), and violations of Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law (Count III). The instant Motion followed.

         B. Factual History

         In 2009, Plaintiff enrolled in one of Strayer's campuses located in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. (Am. Compl. ¶ 3.) In 2013, Plaintiff took a three-semester hiatus to recuperate from injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident. (Am. Compl. ¶ 4.) Plaintiff re-enrolled in 2014, at which time he was informed that the course requirements had changed and he was required to complete additional courses that were not a part of the 2009 curriculum. (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 5-6.)

         Plaintiff alleges that a major reason he initially enrolled at Strayer was based on an oral promise made to him by personnel on behalf of Strayer that the University would assist Plaintiff with job placement services after graduation. (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 9, 21.) However, upon graduating, Plaintiff attempted to obtain job placement services from Strayer and was informed that the University did not offer same. (Compl. ¶ 10.) Plaintiff alleges Strayer was aware of his reliance on this information and knowingly made these false representations to convince him and other students to enroll in order to increase enrollment statistics and enrich Strayer. (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 15-17, 30.) As a result, Plaintiff alleges he incurred financial detriment and loss in the form of at least $77, 793.00 in debt and several thousand dollars in “other” expenses. (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 26-28.)

         III. Standard of Review

         In deciding a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), courts must accept all factual allegations as true, construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, and determine whether, under any reasonable reading of the complaint, the plaintiff may be entitled to relief. Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 233 (3d Cir. 2008) (internal quotation and citation omitted). After the Supreme Court's decision in Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged. Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). This standard asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully. Id. Accord Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir. 2009) (“[A]ll civil complaints must contain more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation.”) (internal quotation marks omitted).

         IV. Discussion

         A. Untimely Opposition

         As a preliminary matter, Defendant argues its Motion should be treated as unopposed because Plaintiff failed to file his response in a timely manner. Def.'s Reply Mot. Dismiss 2.) Although Local Rule 7.1(c) permits the court to treat Strayer's Motion to Dismiss the Amended Complaint as uncontested, it shall not do so in this case. E.D. Pa. R. Civ. P. 7.1(c). Plaintiff's opposition was filed on April 17, 2018, six days after the fourteen (14) day deadline. A court may deny a request that a motion be treated as unopposed if the untimely briefing “is helpful to our determination of the issues in [the] matter.” See McNiff v. Asset Mgmt. Specialists, Inc., 337 F.Supp.2d 685, 687 n.1 (E.D. Pa. 2004). As considering the untimely opposition assists this Court in reaching a determination regarding the instant Motion and results in no prejudice to Defendant, this Court shall deny Defendant's request to treat its Motion as unopposed.

         B. Count I: ...


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