United States District Court, S.D. West Virginia, Bluefield
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
A. FABER SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
before the court is defendant's partial motion to
dismiss, (Doc. No. 4), and plaintiff's motion to amend
his Complaint. (Doc. No. 10). For the reasons that follow,
the motion to dismiss is GRANTED IN PART and
DENIED IN PART, and plaintiff's motion
to amend his Complaint is DENIED.
dispute arises out of defendant's termination of
plaintiff's employment on or about January
2018. (Doc. No. 1, Exh. A at ¶ 7).
According to the Complaint, the allegations of which are
taken as true for purposes of the motion to dismiss,
plaintiff was employed as a service technician for the
defendant. (Id. at ¶ 8). Defendant set forth
its employment policies in an employee handbook, which
plaintiff acknowledged having received and read. (Doc. No. 4,
Exh. A). At the time his employment was terminated, plaintiff
suffered from a disability, and per doctor's orders, had
ceased working due to an injury. (Doc. No. 1, Exh. A at
¶¶ 9, 15). Defendant was aware of plaintiff's
disability. (Id. at ¶ 10). Additionally,
plaintiff asserts that agents of the defendant orally
promised him that he would be offered light duty work upon
his return to work. (Id. at ¶¶ 20, 21).
Nevertheless, defendant terminated plaintiff without offering
any accommodations for plaintiff's disability and without
any offer for light duty work. (Id. at ¶ 20).
suit for wrongful termination contains three claims: (1) a
claim for violation of the West Virginia Human Rights Act
(“WVHRA”); (2) a claim that his termination
violated public policy (a Harless claim); and (3) a
claim that defendant's oral promises and its employee
handbook created an implied employment contract with
plaintiff such that his termination constituted a breach of
filed a partial motion to dismiss, seeking to dismiss
plaintiff's Harless claim and the breach of
contract claim. Plaintiff filed a Response to defendant's
partial motion to dismiss, and within that Response also
included a motion to amend the Complaint. (Doc. No. 10).
Rule 12(b)(6) - Motion to Dismiss
motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim for relief
should not be granted unless it appears to a certainty that
the plaintiff would be entitled to no relief under any state
of facts which could be proved in support of his claim."
Rogers v. Jefferson-Pilot Life Ins. Co., 883 F.2d
324, 325 (4th Cir. 1989) (citation omitted) (quoting
Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 48 (1957) and
Johnson v. Mueller, 415 F.2d 354, 355 (4th Cir.
1969)). "In considering a motion to dismiss, the court
should accept as true all well-pleaded allegations and should
view the complaint in a light most favorable to the
plaintiff." Mylan Laboratories, Inc. v.
Matkari, 7 F.3d 1130, 1134 (4th Cir. 1993); see also
Ibarra v. United States, 120 F.3d 474, 474 (4th Cir.
evaluating the sufficiency of a pleading, the cases of
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007), and
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009), provide
guidance. When reviewing a motion to dismiss, under Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), for failure to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted, a court must
determine whether the factual allegations contained in the
complaint “give the defendant fair notice of what the .
. . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests, ”
and, when accepted as true, “raise a right to relief
above the speculative level.” Twombly, 550
U.S. at 555 (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41,
47 (1957) and 5 Charles Alan Wright & Arthur R. Miller,
Federal Practice and Procedure § 1216 (3d ed.
2004)). “[O]nce a claim has been stated adequately, it
may be supported by showing any set of facts consistent with
the allegations in the complaint.” Twombly,
550 U.S. at 563. As the Fourth Circuit has explained,
“to withstand a motion to dismiss, a complaint must
allege ‘enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.'” Painter's
Mill Grille, LLC v. Brown, 716 F.3d 342, 350
(4th Cir. 2013) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570).
to Iqbal and the interpretation given it by our
[L]egal 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.
See Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949. We also decline 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); see also Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1951-52.
Ultimately, a complaint must contain “sufficient
factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to
relief that is plausible on its face.'”
Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (quoting Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167
L.Ed.2d 929 (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.” Id. In other
words, the complaint's factual allegations must produce
an inference of liability strong enough to nudge the
plaintiff's claims “‘across the line from
conceivable to plausible.'” Id. at 1952
(quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955).
Satisfying this “context-specific” test does not
require “detailed factual allegations.”
Id. at 1949-50 (quotations omitted). The complaint
must, however, plead sufficient facts to allow a court,
drawing on “judicial experience and common sense,
” to infer “more than the mere possibility of
misconduct.” Id. at 1950. Without such
“heft, ” id. at 1947, the
plaintiff's claims cannot establish a valid entitlement
to relief, as facts that are “merely consistent with a
defendant's liability, ” id. at 1949, fail
to nudge claims “across the line from conceivable to
plausible.” Id. at 1951.
Nemet Chevrolet, LTD v. Consumeraffairs.com, Inc.,
591 F.3d 250, 255-56 (4th Cir. 2009). When considering a
12(b)(6) motion, a court must accept all of the
complaint's factual allegations as true and draw all
reasonable inferences therefrom in favor of the plaintiff.
See Kensington Volunteer Fire Dep't, Inc. v.
Montgomery Cnty., Md., 684 F.3d 462, 467 (4th Cir.
Rule 15(a) - Motion ...