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Mitchell v. Sanchez

United States District Court, Western District of Missouri, Western Division

March 25, 2015

BLONDELL F. MITCHELL, Plaintiff,
v.
RICK SANCHEZ, et al, Defendants.

ORDER AND OPINION GRANTING IN PART AND DEFERRING JUDGMENT IN PART ON DEFENDANTS’ MOTIONS TO DISMISS

ORTRIE D. SMITH, SENIOR JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

Pending before the Court are Defendant Mediacom Communications Corporation’s Motion to Dismiss (Doc. #10) and Defendants Rick Sanchez, Cable News Network, Time Warner Cable Inc. and Time Warner Inc.’s Motion to Dismiss (Doc. #13). The Court grants the motions in part and defers consideration in part.

I. Facts/Background

Plaintiff Blondell Mitchell (“Plaintiff) alleges Defendants incorrectly stated on various media broadcasts that she has AIDS/HIV. Based on these allegations, Plaintiff claims Defendants violated the Lanham Act and committed the torts of invasion of privacy and intrusion into seclusion, false light invasion of privacy, and defamation per se. Plaintiff asserts this court has subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331, due to the alleged Lanham Act violation.

II. Standard

The liberal pleading standard created by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007) (per curiam) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)). “Specific facts are not necessary; the statement need only 'give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.”' Id. (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). In ruling on a motion to dismiss, the Court Amust accept as true all of the complaint's factual allegations and view them in the light most favorable to the Plaintiff[ ]." Stodghill v. Wellston School Dist., 512 F.3d 472, 476 (8th Cir. 2008).

To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face. 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. The plausibility standard is not akin to a probability requirement, but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully. Where a complaint pleads facts that are merely consistent with a defendant's liability, it stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief.

Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009).

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.

Id. at 1950.

Additionally, a court must liberally construe a pro se complaint and “pro se litigants are held to a lesser pleading standard than other parties.” Whitson v. Stone County Jail, 602 F.3d 920, 922 n.1 (8th Cir. 2010). However, pro se complaints “still must allege sufficient facts to support the claims advanced.” Stone v. Harry, 364 F.3d 912, 914 (8th Cir. 2004).

III. Discussion

Plaintiff asserts Defendants violated 15 U.S.C. ยงยง 1125(a)(1)(A) and (B) of the Lanham Act. Doc. #4. ...


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