United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
M. MUNLEY JUDGE
the court for disposition is the motion to dismiss portions
of Plaintiff Scott Bennett's complaint filed by the
defendants, Talen Energy Corporation and Susquehanna Nuclear,
LLC. The parties have briefed their respective positions, and
the matter is ripe for decision.
operate a nuclear power plant. (Doc. 1, Compl. ¶ 9).
From 1997 through September 2007, plaintiff worked as a
contractor for the defendants. (Id. ¶ 14). In
September 2007, Defendant Susquehanna Nuclear, LLC, hired
plaintiff as a full-time production foreman. (Id.
¶¶ 13-14). The Nuclear Regulatory Commissioner
(hereinafter “NRC”) has promulgated extensive
regulations, which are applicable to the defendants.
(Id. ¶ 9). For example, the NRC requires all
nuclear power plants to “adopt Fitness for Duty
(“FFD”) programs that prescribe Unescorted Access
(“UA”) requirements for employees entering
secured areas of the nuclear facility.” Id.
¶ 10. The FFD programs provide for drug and alcohol
screening of employees. (Id. ¶ 11).
submitted a urine sample for testing under the FFD program on
February 15, 2018. (Id. ¶ 15). The test
revealed that plaintiff's blood alcohol level was above
the permitted level, and thus plaintiff violated the FFD
program. (Id. ¶ 16). This FFD violation was
plaintiff's first in his twenty-plus years in the nuclear
industry. (Id. ¶ 22). Due to the FFD violation,
plaintiff's UA authorization was denied and terminated
for a minimum of fourteen (14) days. (Id.
¶¶ 17-18). The medical review officer assured
plaintiff that he would return to work before March 31, 2018.
(Id. ¶ 19). Instead, on March 23, 2018,
defendants notified plaintiff that his employment was
terminated. (Id. ¶ 20).
also have an Employee Assistance Program (hereinafter
“EAP”). This program assists employees in
resolving personal problems such as, inter allia,
substance abuse problems. Defendants never provided plaintiff
with an opportunity to complete an EAP regarding drug and
alcohol abuse, which had been provided to other employees
after their first FFD violation. (Id. ¶ 23).
revocation of plaintiff's UA status evidently stayed with
him as he sought employment at other nuclear power
facilities. Plaintiff applied for a job at an NRC facility in
Louisiana as a work-week manager with a starting salary of
$120, 000.00 year plus benefits and bonuses. (Id.
¶ 24). Plaintiff failed to obtain the position because
he did not have his UA badge. (Id. ¶ 25).
nuclear power plant in Michigan offered plaintiff a job in or
around January 2019. (Id. ¶¶ 26, 28). The
starting salary for this job was $120, 000.00 a year plus
benefits and bonuses. (Id. ¶ 26). One of
defendants' employees told representatives at the
facility that plaintiff was “unfit for duty at a
nuclear facility, ” and the job offer was rescinded.
(Id. ¶¶ 29-30).
a nuclear power plant in Minnesota offered plaintiff a job
making between $80-90 an hour, with twelve-hour shifts, seven
days a week for six weeks. (Id. ¶¶ 31-32).
filed the instant four-count complaint based upon these
facts. The complaint asserts the following causes of action:
Count I- Intentional Interference with Prospective
Contractual Relations; Count II-Defamation; Count
III-Wrongful Termination; and Count IV- Violation of 10
C.F.R. § 26.75. (Doc. 1, Compl.). In response to the
complaint, the defendants filed the instant motion to dismiss
Counts III and IV of the complaint. The parties have briefed
their respective positions, bringing the case to its present
plaintiff alleges a violation of federal law, we have federal
question jurisdiction. See 28 U.S.C. § 1331
(AThe district courts shall have original jurisdiction of all
civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or
treaties of the United States.@). We have supplemental
jurisdiction over the plaintiff's state law claims
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367. Pennsylvania law applies
to plaintiff's state law claims.
filed their motion to dismiss the counts III and IV of the
complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure. The court tests the sufficiency of the
complaint's allegations when considering a Rule 12(b)(6)
motion. All well-pleaded allegations of the complaint must be
viewed as true and in the light most favorable to the
non-movant to determine whether, “‘under any
reasonable reading of the pleadings, the plaintiff may be
entitled to relief.'” Colburn v. Upper Darby
Twp., 838 F.2d 663, 665-66 (3d Cir. 1988) (quoting
Estate of Bailey by Oare v. Cnty. of York, 768 F.2d
503, 506 (3d Cir. 1985)). The plaintiff must 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. Cnty. of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 234
(3d Cir. 2008) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 556 (2007)). Moreover, the plaintiff must
allege facts that “justify moving the case beyond the
pleadings to the next stage of litigation.”
Id. at 234-35. In evaluating the sufficiency of a
complaint the court may also consider “matters of
public record, orders, exhibits attached to the complaint and
items appearing in the record of the case.” Oshiver