United States District Court, D. New Jersey
matter comes before the court on defendants' motion to
dismiss part of the Complaint, in particular the claim of
intentional infliction of emotional distress
("IIED"), for failure to state a claim, pursuant to
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). For the reasons stated herein, the
motion will be granted.
allegations of the Complaint, assumed to be true for purposes
of this motion (see Section II.A, infra),
may be summarized as follows.
August 19, 2016, the plaintiff, Sabreen Nassar, was a paying
customer on the premises of Six Flags Great Adventure
amusement park in Jackson, New Jersey. She rode on a roller
coaster called "El Toro." While doing so, she was
"caused to sustain serious injuries to her head, face
and mouth due to having been viciously struck about the face,
head and mouth by a part of the ride (or other flying object)
. . . ." (Complaint, ECF no. 1-1 ("Cplt")
¶ 5) The defendants and their agents are alleged to have
committed negligent acts or omissions, including failure to
maintain the ride properly, failure to warn of a dangerous
condition, failure to inspect the ride properly, and
maintaining a dangerous condition for an unreasonable period
of time. (Cplt. ¶ 9) Defendants are also alleged to have
failed to care for Ms. Nassar when she was injured. (Cplt.
¶ 11) Ms. Nassar alleges that she has maintained
permanent injury, requiring medical attention. It is alleged
that the defendant's actions "constitute the
intentional infliction of emotional distress" as well as
a breach of the "duty of care." (Cplt. ¶¶
Nassar, through counsel, filed her complaint in New Jersey
Superior Court, Law Division, Sussex County. The defendants
filed a notice of removal, based on this court's
diversity jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a). (ECF no. 1)
The notice of removal states that Ms. Nassar is a citizen of
the State of New Jersey. It implies that the defendants are
incorrectly named in the complaint, and that the relevant
entities are Six Flags Great Adventure, LLC, and Six Flags
Theme Parks, Inc., which are alleged to be citizens of states
other tiian New Jersey. (I will refer to defendants
collectively as "Six Flags.") Although this New
Jersey civil complaint does not contain an ad damnum
clause, the nature of the injuries alleged gives rise to a
plausible inference that the damages claimed are in excess of
then, die notice sets forth a basis for this Court's
jurisdiction, and the plaintiff has not moved to remand. Of
course, a defect in the Court's subject matter
jurisdiction may be raised at any time, should such an issue
emerge in discovery.
Standard on a Rule 12(b)(6) Motion
Civ. P. 12(b)(6) provides for the dismissal of a complaint,
in whole or in part, if it fails to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted. The moving party bears the burden of
showing that no claim has been stated. Hedges v. United
States, 404 F.3d 744, 750 (3d Cir. 2005). In deciding a
motion to dismiss, a court must take all allegations in the
complaint as true and view them in the light most favorable
to the plaintiff. See Warth v. Seldin, 422 U.S. 490,
501 (1975); Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts, Inc. v.
Mirage Resorts Inc., 140 F.3d 478, 483 (3d Cir. 1998);
see also Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d
224, 231 (3d Cir. 2008) ("reasonable inferences"
principle not undermined by later Supreme Court
Twombly case, infra).
Civ. P. 8(a) does not require that a complaint contain
detailed factual allegations. Nevertheless, "a
plaintiffs obligation to provide the 'grounds' of his
'entitlement to relief requires more than labels and
conclusions, and formulaic recitation of the elements of a
cause of action will not do." Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). Thus, the factual
allegations must be sufficient to raise a plaintiffs right to
relief above a speculative level, such that it is
"plausible on its face." See Id. at 570;
see also Umland v. PLANCO Fin. Serv., Inc., 542 F.3d
59, 64 (3d Cir. 2008). 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, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). While "[t]he
plausibility standard is not akin to a 'probability
requirement'... it asks for more than a sheer
possibility." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (2009).
Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress
Flags asserts that the IIED claim must be dismissed because
the Complaint fails to allege (a) an "intentional"
state of mind; (b) "extreme and outrageous"
conduct; and (c) sufficiently "severe" emotional
state a prima facie case for IIED, a plaintiff must plausibly
assert that: 1) The defendant acted either intentionally to
do the act and to produce emotional distress or acted
"recklessly in deliberate disregard of a high degree of
probability that emotional distress will follow"; 2) The
defendant's conduct is so "extreme and outrageous
... as to go beyond all possible bounds of decency, and to be
regarded as atrocious, and utterly intolerable in a civilized
community"; 3) The defendant's intentional or
reckless conduct proximately caused the plaintiffs emotional
distress; and 4) The plaintiff suffered emotional distress
that is "so severe that no reasonable [person] could be
expected to endure it." Juzwiak v. Doe, 415
N.J.Super. 442, 451, 2 A.3d 428, 433 (App. Div. 2010) (citing
and quoting Buckley v. Trenton Saving Fund Socy.,
Ill N.J. 355, 54 ...