United States District Court, D. New Jersey
OPINION [DKT. NOS. 31, 37]
RENÉE MARIE BUMB, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court upon the filing of motions by
Defendants GEA Process Engineering, Inc. (“GEA”),
[Dkt. No. 31], and Clayton H. Landis, Inc. (“CHL”
and collectively with GEA, the “Moving
Defendants”), [Dkt. No. 37], seeking the dismissal of
Plaintiff Christopher Flaherty's First Amended Complaint
pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). For the following reasons,
the Moving Defendants' motions will be GRANTED, and
Plaintiff's claims against the Moving Defendants will be
at the time he suffered the injuries that form the basis of
this action, was a 52 year-old employee of Shelby Mechanical,
Inc. (“Shelby”). (Am. Compl. ¶ 9, 31).
Defendant LiDestri Foods, Inc. (“LiDestri”) is a
food, drink, and spirit manufacturer. (Id. ¶
2). Defendant GEA is an engineering company that, among other
things, sells and installs aseptic filling systems for
beverage manufacturers and bottlers. (Id. ¶ 3).
In March 2015, LiDestri purchased an “ECOSpin 2 Aseptic
Filler” (the “Filler”), an “extremely
large and heavy” piece of equipment, from GEA.
(Id. ¶¶ 2, 10).
course of his employment for Shelby, Plaintiff was tasked
with assisting with the installation of the Filler at
LiDestri's food processing facility at 1550 John Tipton
Boulevard, Pennsauken, New Jersey. (Id. ¶ 9).
Defendant CHL was hired to provide a project manager to
manage the day-to-day responsibilities for the installation
of the Filler. (Id. ¶ 12). Two individuals, who
Plaintiff only identifies as Luciano and Massimo, and who
Plaintiff avers did not speak English, were also part of the
crew working on the installation. (Id. ¶¶
August 25, 2015, at the direction of either GEA, CHL, or
LiDestri, Plaintiff lifted the Filler, or a one-ton portion
thereof, with a hydraulic jack. (Id. ¶ 19). At
the same time, portions of the Filler were sitting on dollies
on an uneven and sloped surface. (Id. ¶¶
20-21). Plaintiff was ordered to stop raising the Filler and
when he did so the Filler slipped off the dollies and landed
on Plaintiff's leg, trapping Plaintiff under it and
breaking his leg in multiple places. (Id.
¶¶ 24, 28). Plaintiff underwent an open reduction
and hardware fixation surgery to repair the breaks to his leg
and was hospitalized for a week. (Id. ¶ 29). He
has been unable to work since this occurred. (Id.
initiated this action by filing a Complaint in the Superior
Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Camden County, on August
24, 2017 (No. L-3318-17). (Notice of Removal ¶ 1)[Dkt. No.
1]. In his Complaint, Plaintiff alleged negligence against
LiDestri; Cheer Pack North America, LLC (“Cheer
Pack”); Guala Pack North America, Inc.
(“GPNA”); Gualapack S.p.A. (“Guala
Pack”); Massimo Annaratone; and “Luciano”
whose last name was unknown to Plaintiff (collectively, the
“Original Defendants”). (Compl. ¶¶ 2-7,
37-83, Notice of Removal, Exhibit I). On October 23, 2017,
LiDestri, Cheer Pack, GPNA, and Guala Pack removed this
action to this Court on the basis of diversity of
citizenship. (Notice of Removal ¶ 1, 4-6); 28 U.S.C.
§ 1332; 28 U.S.C.§ 1441; 28 U.S.C. § 1446.
December 8, 2017, Plaintiff filed his Amended Complaint,
asserting negligence claims against LiDestri; GEA; CHL; and
John Doe Defendants 1-5. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that
LiDestri, GEA, and CHL, who all played some role in the
installation of the Filler, failed to follow or enforce
proper safety precautions during the installation of the
Filler. Plaintiff's addition of these new defendants-GEA
and CHL-is the basis for the currently pending motions to
December 29, 2017, in accordance with this Court's
Individual Rules and Procedures, GEA filed a letter seeking a
pre-motion conference concerning its intention to file a
motion to dismiss Plaintiff's claims against it as
untimely. [Dkt. No. 21]. On February 7, 2018, the Court held
a telephonic conference during which counsel for Defendants
GEA and CHL presented their arguments concerning the
untimeliness of Plaintiff's claims against them. During
this conference, the Court inquired as to whether some
limited discovery may be necessary, and whether the questions
anticipated to be presented in the Moving Defendants'
motions may be better suited for summary judgment.
Nevertheless, the Court instructed the Moving Defendants to
file their motions to dismiss.
filed its motion on February 8, 2018. [Dkt. No. 31]. CHL
filed its identical motion on February 14, 2018. [Dkt. No.
withstand a motion to dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6),
“a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter,
accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)).
“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.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 662.
“[A]n unadorned, the defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me
accusation” does not suffice to survive a motion to
dismiss. Id. at 678. “[A] plaintiff's
obligation to provide the ‘grounds' of his
‘entitle[ment] to relief' requires more than labels
and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements
of a cause of action will not do.” Twombly,
550 U.S. at 555 (quoting Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S.
265, 286 (1986)).
reviewing a plaintiff's allegations, the district court
“must accept as true all well-pled factual allegations
as well as all reasonable inferences that can be drawn from
them, and construe those allegations in the light most
favorable to the plaintiff.” Bistrian v. Levi,
696 F.3d 352 n.1 (3d Cir. 2012). When undertaking this
review, courts are limited to the allegations found in the
complaint, exhibits attached to the complaint, matters of
public record, and undisputedly authentic documents that form
the basis of a claim. See In re Burlington Coat Factory
Sec. Litig., 114 F.3d 1410, 1426 (3d Cir. 1997);
Pension Benefit Guar. Corp. v. White Consol. Indus.,
Inc., 998 F.2d 1192, 1196 (3d Cir. 1993).
a statute of limitations defense may only be raised by way of
motion under Rule 12(b)(6) where “the time alleged in
the statement of a claim shows that the cause of action has
not been brought within the statute of limitations.”
Schmidt v. Skolas, 770 F.3d 241, 249 (3d Cir. 2014)
(internal quotations omitted). If “the bar is not
apparent on the face of the complaint, then it may not ...