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Hines v. Rimtec Corp.

August 10, 2007

GERALD H. HINES, PLAINTIFF,
v.
RIMTEC CORPORATION, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hillman, District Judge

OPINION

This matter has come before the Court on Defendant's motion to dismiss Plaintiff's discrimination and retaliation claims against it. For the reasons expressed below, Defendant's motion will be granted in part and denied in part.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff, Gerald Hines, pro se, claims in his Complaint that Defendant, Rimtec Corporation, his employer, discriminated against him due to his disability, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. § 12101, et seq., and due to his race, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"). Plaintiff also claims that Defendant retaliated against him for filing a worker's compensation benefits claim, and discriminated against him by not providing worker's compensation benefits.*fn1 Plaintiff lists twelve dates from December 2003 through April 2006 as the time frame for the alleged discrimination.*fn2

Plaintiff has not further explained his claims, except that he has attached to his Complaint a copy of his previously-filed claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"), as well as a copy of the EEOC's investigation and decision. In his EEOC complaint, Plaintiff claimed that he was terminated from employment on June 18, 2004 because of his race, and not because he tested positive for drugs for a second time in two months. He further contended in his EEOC complaint that a Caucasian co-worker who allegedly also tested positive for drugs a second time was not fired. The EEOC made a finding of no probable cause to credit the allegations in Plaintiff's complaint, and issued a notice of Plaintiff's right to sue.

Defendant has moved to dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint pursuant to Federal Civil Procedure Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. Specifically, Defendant contends that Plaintiff's ADA claim fails because he has not stated what his disability is, or how Defendant discriminated against him due to his alleged disability. Defendant also contends that Plaintiff's Title VII claim fails because he has not alleged, and he cannot prove, a prima facie claim of discrimination. Additionally, Defendant argues that Plaintiff's claims regarding his worker's compensation claim must be dismissed because they are not the real party in interest.

Plaintiff has opposed Defendant's motion, and has filed what the Court construes to be an opposition to the motion, as well as a motion to amend his Complaint in order to cure the defects raised by Defendant. See Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 107 (1976) ("[A] pro se complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers."). The claims in Plaintiff's Complaint, as well as his proposed amendments to those claims, will be analyzed in turn.

DISCUSSION

A. Motion to Dismiss Standard

When considering a motion to dismiss a complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6), a court must accept all well-pleaded allegations in the complaint as true and view them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Evancho v. Fisher, 423 F.3d 347, 351 (3d Cir. 2005). It is well settled that a pleading is sufficient if it contains "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). Under the liberal federal pleading rules, it is not necessary to plead evidence, and it is not necessary to plead all the facts that serve as a basis for the claim. Bogosian v. Gulf Oil Corp., 562 F.2d 434, 446 (3d Cir. 1977). However, "[a]lthough the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not require a claimant to set forth an intricately detailed description of the asserted basis for relief, they do require that the pleadings give defendant fair notice of what the plaintiff's claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Baldwin County Welcome Ctr. v. Brown, 466 U.S. 147, 149-50 n.3 (1984) (quotation and citation omitted).

A district court, in weighing a motion to dismiss, asks "'not whether a plaintiff will ultimately prevail but whether the claimant is entitled to offer evidence to support the claim.'" Bell Atlantic v. Twombly, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1969 n.8 (2007) (quoting Scheuer v. Rhoades, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974)). A court need not credit either "bald assertions" or "legal conclusions" in a complaint when deciding a motion to dismiss. In re Burlington Coat Factory Sec. Litig., 114 F.3d 1410, 1429-30 (3d Cir. 1997). The defendant bears the burden of showing that no claim has been presented. Hedges v. U.S., 404 F.3d 744, 750 (3d Cir. 2005) (citing Kehr Packages, Inc. v. Fidelcor, Inc., 926 F.2d 1406, 1409 (3d Cir. 1991)).

Finally, a court in reviewing a Rule 12(b)(6) motion must only consider the facts alleged in the pleadings, the documents attached thereto as exhibits, and matters of judicial notice. Southern Cross Overseas Agencies, Inc. v. Kwong Shipping Group Ltd., 181 F.3d 410, 426 (3d Cir. 1999). A court may consider, however, "an undisputedly authentic document that a defendant attaches as an exhibit to a motion to dismiss if the plaintiff's claims are based on the document." Pension Benefit Guar. Corp. v. White Consol. Indus., Inc., 998 F.2d 1192, 1196 (3d Cir. 1993). If any other matters outside the pleadings are presented to the court, and the court does not exclude those matters, a Rule 12(b)(6) motion will be treated as a summary judgment motion pursuant to Rule 56. Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b).

B. Motion to Amend Complaint Standard

Federal Civil Procedure Rule 15(a) provides that a party may amend his pleading "once as a matter of course at any time before a responsive pleading is served." If a defendant has already filed his answer or otherwise responded to the Complaint, leave to amend is freely given in the absence of undue delay, bad faith, dilatory motive, unfair prejudice, ...


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