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White v. Homer Laughlin China Co.

United States District Court, N.D. West Virginia

August 13, 2019

CALVIN L. WHITE, Plaintiff,
v.
HOMER LAUGHLIN CHINA CO., Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS AMENDED COMPLAINT

          FREDERICK P. STAMP, JR., UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         I. Background

         This civil action arises out of alleged events that took place while the pro se[1] plaintiff, Calvin L. White, was employed at Homer Laughlin China Co. (“Homer Laughlin”). ECF No. 1.

         This Court previously entered a memorandum opinion and order denying defendant's motion to dismiss but granting the alternative motion for a more definite statement. ECF No. 12. After construing the pro se complaint in a liberal fashion, this Court specifically noted that the plaintiff was previously advised by the Notice of General Guidelines for Appearing Pro Se in Federal Court (ECF No. 3), among other things, that his case remains subject to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the Local Rules of the Northern District of West Virginia. ECF No. 12 at 6 n.3. This Court then specifically stated that under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 12 (e), the plaintiff is required to more clearly plead and define his claims against Homer Laughlin so that the defendant may adequately prepare a response, and that under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 10 (b), the plaintiff is also required to set forth his claims in numbered paragraphs and separate paragraphs to the extent practicable. ECF No. 12 at 6.

         Upon review of the plaintiff's pro se complaint, the defendant's motion to dismiss the original complaint, and the plaintiff's response in opposition, this Court declined to grant the defendant's motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim pursuant to Rule 12 (b) (6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and instead, granted the defendant's alternative motion for a more definite statement. Id. Accordingly, this Court directed the pro se plaintiff “to re-file his complaint with clarity both in its organization and in its allegations against the defendant.” Id.

         Thereafter, plaintiff filed his pro se amended complaint. ECF No. 13. Defendant Homer Laughlin then filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiff's amended complaint for failure to comply with this Court's memorandum opinion and order and pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12 (b) (6) or, in the alternative, a motion for a more definite statement. ECF No. 15. This Court then entered a Roseboro Notice (ECF No. 17) and the plaintiff filed a response in opposition to the defendant's motion to dismiss (ECF No. 18).

         In the motion to dismiss the plaintiff's amended complaint (ECF No. 15), defendant contends that despite receiving ample instruction from the Court about how to re-file his complaint with clarity both in its organization and in its allegations against the defendant, the plaintiff has failed to do so. ECF No. 16 at 1. Rather, defendant notes that plaintiff merely filed another handwritten complaint that does not clearly define his claim, does not meet the pleading requirements of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and does not plausibly allege any claims for relief against Homer Laughlin, noting that plaintiff does not plead any facts from which the Court could infer that his employment termination was unlawful under federal law. Id. at 1-2. Defendant contends that this Court should dismiss the plaintiff's amended complaint with prejudice for failure to follow this Court's previous order, or under Rule 12(b)(6). Id.

         Plaintiff then filed a response in opposition to defendant's motion to dismiss the amended complaint. ECF No. 18. In response, plaintiff states that he does not want his case to be dismissed because he was “discriminated by co-work[ers] and bosses” and “was not treated fairly.” ECF No. 18 at 1. Plaintiff asserts he has “a witness who is willing to come to court and tell the trut[h] about everything.” Id. Plaintiff then again recounts portions of the narrative of the alleged underlying events and reiterates many of the arguments previously made in his original complaint. Id.

         II. Applicable Law

         In assessing a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim under Rule 12 (b) (6), a court must accept all well-pled facts contained in the complaint as true. Nemet Chevrolet, Ltd v. Consumeraffairs.com, Inc, 591 F.3d 250, 255 (4th Cir. 2009). However, “legal conclusions, elements of a cause of action, and bare assertions devoid of further factual enhancement fail to constitute well-pled facts for Rule 12 (b) (6) purposes.” Id. (citing Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009)). This Court also declines to consider “unwarranted inferences, unreasonable conclusions, or arguments.” Wahi v. Charleston Area Med. Ctr., Inc., 562 F.3d 599, 615 n.26 (4th Cir. 2009).

         The purpose of a motion under Rule 12 (b) (6) is to test the formal sufficiency of the statement of the claim for relief; it is not a procedure for resolving a contest about the facts or the merits of the case. 5B Charles Alan Wright & Arthur R. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure § 1356 (3d ed. 1998). The Rule 12 (b) (6) motion also must be distinguished from a motion for summary judgment under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56, which goes to the merits of the claim and is designed to test whether there is a genuine issue of material fact. Id. For purposes of the motion to dismiss, the complaint is construed in the light most favorable to the party making the claim and essentially the court's inquiry is directed to whether the allegations constitute a statement of a claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8 (a). Id. § 1357.

         A complaint should be dismissed “if it does not allege ‘enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Giarratano v. Johnson, 521 F.3d 298, 302 (4th Cir. 2008) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). “Facial plausibility is established once the factual content of a complaint ‘allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.'” Nemet Chevrolet, 591 F.3d at 256 (quoting Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949). Detailed factual allegations are not required, but the facts alleged must be sufficient “to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555.

         III. Discussion

         This Court has reviewed the plaintiff's pro se amended complaint in a liberal fashion, and in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, and finds that the amended complaint fails to place defendant on notice as to what claims plaintiff believes he is bringing and does not allege facts sufficient to state a claim to relief that is plausible on is face. This Court's previous memorandum opinion and order explicitly required the plaintiff to “re-file his complaint with clarity both in its organization and in its allegations against the defendant.” ECF No. 12 at 6 (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 10 (b)). ...


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