United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
E. JACKSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on the motion of defendant Texas
Roadhouse Holdings, L.L.C., to dismiss the complaint. The
plaintiff has not responded, and the time allowed for doing
so has expired.
complaint, plaintiff Doris Evans alleges that on July 12,
2011, she was a patron at a Texas Roadhouse restaurant owned
by defendant in St. Charles County, Missouri. [Doc #1-1 at
2]. As she exited the restaurant, plaintiff's foot got
caught on a floor mat or rug located near the entrance,
causing her to fall. [Doc #1-1 at 2]. According to the
complaint, the mat or rug was “dangerous” either
because of its height, its style, its lack of flat/beveled
edges, it did not lie flat on the floor, or it was not
properly illuminated. Plaintiff alleges that she sustained a
spinal fracture and a leg fracture which required surgery.
Plaintiff alleges that her injuries are disabling and that
she continues to experience pain. She asserts claims against
the defendant based on theories of premises liability (Count
I), res ipsa loquitor (Count II), negligent supervision
(Count III), and respondeat superior (Count IV). Plaintiff
seeks an award of actual damages and attorneys' fees.
defendant does not cite any legal basis for its motion to
dismiss. Thus, it is unclear whether the defendant seeks
dismissal for failure to state a claim under Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(6), judgment on the pleadings under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c),
or summary judgment under Fed.R.Civ.P. 56. For the reasons
set forth below, the defendant's motion fails under
purpose of a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) is to test
the legal sufficiency of the complaint. Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(6). The factual allegations of a complaint are assumed
true and construed in favor of the plaintiff, “even if
it strikes a savvy judge that actual proof of those facts is
improbable.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 556 (2007) (citing Swierkiewicz v. Sorema
N.A., 534 U.S. 506, 508 n.1 (2002)); Neitzke v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 327 (1989) (“Rule 12(b)(6)
does not countenance . . . dismissals based on a judge's
disbelief of a complaint's factual allegations.”);
Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974) (stating
that a well-pleaded complaint may proceed even if it appears
“that a recovery is very remote and unlikely”).
The issue is not whether the plaintiff will ultimately
prevail, but whether the plaintiff is entitled to present
evidence in support of his claim. Scheuer, 416 U.S.
at 236. A viable complaint must include “enough facts
to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570; see
id. at 563 (stating that the “no set of
facts” language in Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S.
41, 45-46 (1957), “has earned its retirement”);
see also Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678-84
(2009) (holding that the pleading standard set forth in
Twombly applies to all civil actions).
“Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to
relief above the speculative level.” Twombly,
550 U.S. at 555.
considering a motion for judgment on the pleadings under Rule
12(c), Fed.R.Civ.P., the Court must accept as true all
factual allegations set out in the complaint and construe the
complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff,
drawing all inferences in her favor. Wishnatsky v.
Rovner, 433 F.3d 608, 610 (8th Cir. 2006).
“Judgment on the pleadings is appropriate only when
there is no dispute as to any material facts and the moving
party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law, @ the same
standard used to address a motion to dismiss for failure to
state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6). Ashley County, Ark. v.
Pfizer, Inc., 552 F.3d 659, 665 (8th Cir. 2009)
(citing Westcott v. City of Omaha, 901 F.2d 1486,
1488 (8th Cir. 1990)).
Rule 56, summary judgment may be granted “if the movant
shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material
fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter
of law.” In ruling on a motion for summary judgment,
the court is required to view the facts in the light most
favorable to the non-moving party, giving that party the
benefit of all reasonable inferences to be drawn from the
underlying facts. AgriStor Leasing v. Farrow, 826
F.2d 732, 734 (8th Cir. 1987). The moving party bears the
burden of showing both the absence of a genuine issue of
material fact and its entitlement to judgment as a matter of
law. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242,
252 (1986); Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio
Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586-87 (1986).
sole argument presented in the defendant's motion is
that, “[b]ased on information and belief, ”
plaintiff was not a patron at its restaurant as she claims.
According to the allegations of the complaint, which the
Court must accept as true for purposes of Rule 12(b)(6) and
Rule 12(c), plaintiff was a patron at the restaurant when she
fell and sustained injuries and the rug on which she tripped
presented a dangerous condition. The defendant has not
submitted any affidavits, deposition testimony, or other
materials contradicting the plaintiff's allegations. As
such, there remains a material factual dispute that cannot be
resolved on the basis of the present record. Defendant has
not shown that it is entitled to summary judgment.
* * * *
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the motion of
defendant Texas Roadhouse L.L.C., to ...