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Suzette Robinson, et al v. Rheon Automatic Machinery

March 3, 2011

SUZETTE ROBINSON, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
RHEON AUTOMATIC MACHINERY, CO., LTD, ET AL., OPINION DEFENDANTS; RHEON AUTOMATIC MACHINERY, CO., LTD, ET AL. THIRD PARTY PLAINTIFFS,
v.
LABREA BAKERY, INC., THIRD PARTY DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Joseph E. Irenas

IRENAS, Senior District Judge

Plaintiffs Suzette Robinson and her husband, Grover McIntyre, (collectively "Plaintiffs") initiated this action against Rheon Automatic Machinery Co., LTD, and Rheon USA (collectively "Rheon") after Robinson was injured while cleaning machinery in the course of her employment. Rheon filed a Third Party Complaint against Robinson's employer, LaBrea Bakery ("LaBrea"). Pending before the Court is LaBrea's Motion to Dismiss the Third Party Complaint pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6).

I.

Robinson was employed by LaBrea as a laborer at its commercial facility in Swedesboro, New Jersey. (Compl. ¶¶ 1-3.) On May 3, 2009, Robinson was cleaning raw dough off a forming conveyor machine ("FC") designed and manufactured by Rheon. (Id.

¶¶ 9, 19.) While cleaning the FC, her right forearm was pulled into the unguarded nip point between the conveyor belt and the metal roller. (Id. ¶ 20.) Robinson's arm remained lodged in the FC for approximately 45 minutes until her co-workers disassembled the machine to free her. (Id. ¶ 22.) Robinson suffered serious and permanent injuries to her right arm and wrist. (Id. ¶ 25.)

On April 15, 2010, Plaintiffs initiated the instant action against Rheon, asserting claims for negligence, strict liability, breach of warranties and loss of consortium.

On November 3, 2010, Magistrate Judge Schneider granted leave for Rheon to file a Third Party Complaint against LaBrea. On November 10, 2010, Rheon filed its Third Party Complaint, seeking indemnity or contribution from LaBrea. The Third Party Complaint alleges that LaBrea failed to instruct and train Robinson on the functions and parts of the FC, proper use of the lock out and tag procedures, and proper cleaning techniques. (Third Party Compl. ¶¶ 17, 19, 21.) According to Rheon, LaBrea acted or failed to act with deliberate intent and substantial certainty that severe injury would occur. (Id. ¶¶ 8-9.) Furthermore, Rheon alleges that requiring Robinson to work on the FC without proper training is inconsistent with the reasonable demands of industrial employment. (Id. ¶ 23.)

On January 3, 2011, LaBrea filed a Motion to Dismiss the Third Party Complaint pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6).*fn1

II.

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) provides that a court may dismiss a complaint "for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." In order to survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must allege facts that raise a right to relief above the speculative level. Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007); see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2).

While a court must accept as true all allegations in the plaintiff's complaint, and view them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 231 (3d Cir. 2008), a court is not required to accept sweeping legal conclusions cast in the form of factual allegations, unwarranted inferences, or unsupported conclusions. Morse v. Lower Merion Sch. Dist., 132 F.3d 902, 906 (3d Cir. 1997). The complaint must state sufficient facts to show that the legal allegations are not simply possible, but plausible. Phillips, 515 F.3d at 234. "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." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009).

When evaluating a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the Court considers "only the allegations in the complaint, exhibits attached to the complaint, matters of public record, and documents that form the basis of a claim." Lum v. Bank of America, 361 F.3d 217, 221 n.3 (3d Cir. 2004). A document that forms the basis of a claim is one that is "integral to or explicitly relied upon in the complaint." Id. (quoting In re Burlington Coat Factory Sec. Litig., 114 F.3d 1410, 1426 (3d Cir. 1997)).

III.

Rheon's Third Party Complaint seeks contractual or common law indemnity or contribution to the extent that Rheon is found liable for Robinson's injuries. ...


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