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Silva v. Rite Aid Corp.

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

September 19, 2019

KALEY DIANN SILVA and LINDSEY AVENETTI, Plaintiffs
v.
RITE AID CORPORATION, Defendant

          MEMORANDUM

          Christopher C. Conner, Chief Judge United States District Court

         Plaintiffs Kaley Diann Silva (“Silva”) and Lindsey Avenetti (“Avenetti”) commenced this action against defendant Rite Aid Corporation (“Rite Aid”). Plaintiffs allege several Pennsylvania common-law and statutory claims against Rite Aid, claiming that certain Rite Aid product labeling was misleading. (Doc. 38). Rite Aid moves to dismiss plaintiffs’ second amended complaint pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6). (Doc. 50).

         I. Factual Background and Procedural History

         Rite Aid is a nationwide drug store chain and a retailer of nutritional supplements. (Doc. 38 ¶¶ 8, 10). Rite Aid sells its own nutritional supplements in brick-and-mortar stores and online through its website. (See id. ¶¶ 3, 10). These nutritional supplements are packaged using two product labels. The principal display panel label is located on the front of the bottle and contains basic information about the product, including the name of the nutritional supplement, the delivery mechanism (e.g., capsule, tablet), and the quantity of pills. (See Id. ¶¶ 35-37, 47-48; see, e.g., id. at 22, Figure 5a). The supplement facts label, located on the back of the bottle, provides a more detailed description of the product’s ingredients and serving size. (See, e.g., id. at 22, Figure 5a). In Rite Aid’s stores, these bottles are placed next to and above a pricing label. (Id. ¶ 49). The pricing label conveys the price, the nature of the supplement, and the number of pills per bottle. (Id. ¶ 49; see, e.g., id. at 23, Figure 5c). On Rite Aid’s website, consumers can view the principal display panel and supplement facts labels before purchasing by clicking on small image icons. (See id. ¶ 71; see, e.g., id. at 24, Figure 5b).

         Plaintiffs are Oregon residents and consumers of Rite Aid supplements. (Id. ¶¶ 6-7). Silva purchased two bottles of nutritional supplements at a Rite Aid store in Oregon. (Id. ¶ 93). Silva does not allege that she read the supplement facts labels before purchasing the bottles. (See id. ¶¶ 99, 104). Avenetti purchased two bottles of nutritional supplements through Rite Aid’s online store. (Id. ¶¶ 108-09). Avenetti similarly does not claim to have read the supplement facts labels by clicking on its image before completing the online transactions. (See id. ¶¶ 113, 114). Plaintiffs allege that the principal display panel labels for the purchased products failed to accurately specify the quantity of supplement per serving and the size of each serving. (Id. ¶¶ 51-54).

         Plaintiffs commenced this action by filing a complaint on February 2, 2018. Plaintiffs are now proceeding on their second amended complaint, alleging claims for intentional and negligent misrepresentation, breach of contract, breach of express and implied warranties, unjust enrichment, and violation of Pennsylvania’s Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law (“UTPCPL”), 73 Pa. Stat. and Cons. Stat. Ann. § 201-1 et seq. Rite Aid moves to dismiss the second amended complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and failure to state a claim under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6). The motion is fully briefed and ripe for disposition.

         II. Legal Standards

         A. Subject Matter Jurisdiction

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) provides that a court may dismiss a claim for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1). Such jurisdictional challenges take one of two forms: (1) parties may levy a “factual” attack, arguing that one or more of the pleading’s factual allegations are untrue, removing the action from the court’s jurisdictional reach; or (2) they may assert a “facial” challenge, which assumes the veracity of the complaint’s allegations but nonetheless argues that a claim is not within the court’s jurisdiction. Lincoln Benefit Life Co. v. AEI Life, LLC, 800 F.3d 99, 105 (3d Cir. 2015) (quoting CNA v. United States, 535 F.3d 132, 139 (3d Cir. 2008)). In either instance, it is the plaintiff’s burden to establish jurisdiction. See Mortensen v. First Fed. Sav. & Loan Ass’n, 549 F.2d 884, 891 (3d Cir. 1977).

         B. Failure to State a Claim

         Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides for the dismissal of complaints that fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). When ruling on a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the court 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) (quoting Pinker v. Roche Holdings, Ltd., 292 F.3d 361, 374 n.7 (3d Cir. 2002)). The court may also consider “matters of public record, orders, exhibits attached to the complaint and items appearing in the record of the case.” Mayer v. Belichick, 605 F.3d 223, 230 (3d Cir. 2010) (citing Pension Benefit Guar. Corp. v. White Consol. Indus., Inc., 998 F.2d 1192, 1196 (3d Cir. 1993)).

         To test the sufficiency of the complaint, the court conducts a three-step inquiry. See Santiago v. Warminster Township, 629 F.3d 121, 130-31 (3d Cir. 2010). First, “the court must ‘tak[e] note of the elements a plaintiff must plead to state a claim.’” Id. at 130 (alteration in original) (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 675 (2009)). Next, the factual and legal elements of a claim must be separated; well-pleaded facts are accepted as true, while mere legal conclusions may be disregarded. Id. at 131-32; see Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210-11 (3d Cir. 2009). Then, once the court isolates the well-pleaded factual allegations, it must determine whether they are sufficient to show a “plausible claim for relief.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). A claim is facially plausible when the plaintiff pleads facts “that allow[] the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.

         III. Discussion

         Reduced to its essentia, plaintiffs’ position is that Rite Aid’s principal display panel labels are misleading. Plaintiffs claim that a reasonable consumer would understand the principal display panel labels alone as promising a full serving of nutritional supplement in each capsule or tablet. Rite Aid contends that plaintiffs lack standing to seek injunctive relief and that ...


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