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Anderson v. Kanawha Valley Regional Transportation Authority

United States District Court, S.D. West Virginia

March 30, 2018

KENNETH M. ANDERSON, Plaintiff,
v.
KANAWHA VALLEY REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          Dwane L. Tinsley, United States Magistrate Judge

         This matter is assigned to the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge for final disposition pursuant to the consent of the parties (ECF No. 8). Pending before the court are the defendant's Renewed Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 14) and the plaintiff's Letter-Form Motion for Hearing (ECF No. 16).

         PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On March 23, 2017, the undersigned denied the defendant, Kanawha Valley Regional Transportation's (“KRT”) initial Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 3) and granted the plaintiff leave to file an Amended Complaint in an attempt to cure deficiencies as set forth in the undersigned's Memorandum Opinion and Order (ECF No. 12). On April 21, 2017, the plaintiff filed his Amended Complaint (ECF No. 13). Thereafter, the defendant filed a Renewed Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 14) and a Memorandum of Law in support thereof (ECF No. 15). In response, the plaintiff filed a Letter-Form Motion for Hearing (ECF No. 16). The defendant filed a response (ECF No. 17) stating that it does not oppose the plaintiff's request for a hearing.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Pro se complaints are held to less stringent standards than those drafted by attorneys, and the court is obliged to construe liberally such complaints. However, in Bell Atlantic Corp v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007), the Supreme Court observed that a case should be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted if, viewing the well-pleaded factual allegations in the complaint as true and in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, the complaint does not contain “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” While the complaint need not assert “detailed factual allegations, ” it must contain “more than labels and conclusions” or a “formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action.” Id. at 555.

         The Supreme Court elaborated on its holding in Twombly in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009), a civil rights case. The Court wrote:

Two working principles underlie our decision in Twombly. First, the tenet that a court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in a complaint is inapplicable to legal conclusions. Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice. [Twombly, 550 U.S.] at 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955 (Although for the purposes of a motion to dismiss we must take all of the factual allegations in the complaint as true, we “are not bound to accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation” (internal quotation marks omitted). Rule 8 . . . does not unlock the doors of discovery for a plaintiff armed with nothing more than conclusions. Second, only a complaint that states a plausible claim for relief survives a motion to dismiss. Id., at 556.
In keeping with these principles a court considering a motion to dismiss can choose to begin by identifying pleadings that, because they are no more than conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of truth. While legal conclusions can provide the framework of a complaint, they must be supported by factual allegations. When there are well-pleaded factual allegations, a court should assume their veracity and then determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief.

556 U.S. at 678-79.

         ANALYSIS

         The plaintiff's Amended Complaint again contends that “I stand at the designated bus stop and drivers pass on by as if I am not there! I call in to report this misconduct and nothing happens - it continues.” (ECF No. 13 at 1). The Amended Complaint further reiterates the plaintiff's allegation that he was the victim of an “attempted murder” by a bus driver over a year ago (but does not provide any specific details concerning this incident). (Id.) The plaintiff then speculates that the defendant has “minimalized what these drivers are doing” “because I'm a black man” and “my life has no value to anyone with such racist opinions.” (Id. at 2). The plaintiff further asserts that “KRT management knows the identity of the driver that committed these acts” and “[t]heir pretend ignorance of the identity of their names is a convenient excuse, a cop-out to dodge their responsibility to punish these drivers!!!” (Id.) Thus, the plaintiff ultimately alleges that “KRT is responsible for the conduct or . . . misconduct of their drivers!” (Id. at 3).

         The defendant's Renewed Motion to Dismiss contends that the plaintiff's Amended Complaint, like the original Complaint “provides virtually nothing to put KRT fairly on notice of why it is being sued. It is nothing more than a list of recitals and conclusory statements, lacking any factual allegations of any credibility whatsoever.” (ECF No. 15 at 2). Similar to the initial Complaint, the Amended Complaint lacks “names of KRT personnel who were involved in the allegations, what events were to have occurred, dates, locations, or manner that something happened.” (Id.) The defendant further argues that the ...


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