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Snell v. BPL Plasma, Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Western Division

April 11, 2018

BRIAN J. SNELL, Plaintiff,
v.
BPL PLASMA, INC., Defendant.

          ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S PARTIAL MOTION TO DISMISS

          ORTRIE D. SMITH, SENIOR JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

         Pending is Defendant's Partial Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim, which seeks dismissal of Count I of Plaintiff's First Amended Petition. Doc. #27. For the following reasons, Defendant's motion is granted.

         I. BACKGROUND[1]

         In October 2016, Defendant hired Plaintiff as a medical supervisor at a plasma collection center. Plaintiff was advised that Defendant's employee handbook governed the employment relationship, and he should refer to the handbook for employment related issues. Plaintiff's job duties entailed performing physical examinations on prospective donors, eliciting information from donors, and determining donor suitability. Plaintiff also performed recordkeeping duties.

         In July 2017, Plaintiff incorrectly dated a form, and his employment was terminated. Thereafter, Plaintiff advised Defendant he was exercising his right to challenge his termination pursuant to the employee handbook. Plaintiff was later informed his dismissal would be in “good standing, ” but his termination was the result of “willful falsification” of documents. Plaintiff also sought payment for his earned personal time off (“PTO”). Defendant denied payment because Plaintiff's termination was for an “act of dishonesty, willful neglect, insubordination, or falsification of documents.”

         In November 2017, Plaintiff filed a lawsuit in the Circuit Court of Jackson County, Missouri. Defendant removed the matter to this Court, and filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, or in the alternative, motion for more definite statement. Doc. #5. Plaintiff sought and obtained an extension of time to respond to the motion. Docs. #10-11. After Plaintiff failed to timely respond, the Court issued a show cause order. Doc. #16. In response, Plaintiff filed a “motion for return of action to circuit court and response to Defendant's notice of removal.” Doc. #17. Plaintiff also requested a stay until the Court decided Plaintiff's motion. Doc. #19. The Court denied Plaintiff's request to stay the matter, and directed Plaintiff to respond to the motion to dismiss. Doc. #20.

         On February 8, 2018, Plaintiff filed his opposition to Defendant's motion and also filed his First Amended Petition. Docs. #22-23. Plaintiff also sought withdrawal of his motion seeking to return this matter to state court, and the Court granted that request. Docs. #21, 24. Because the First Amended Petition included additional factual allegations and legal grounds, Defendant's motion was rendered moot. Doc. #24.[2]

         On February 22, 2018, Defendant filed a motion to dismiss Count I of the First Amended Petition, arguing Plaintiff failed to state a claim. Doc. #27. Again, Plaintiff failed to timely respond to Defendant's motion. The Court directed him to show cause why the motion should not be granted. Plaintiff filed his opposition to the motion. Doc. #40. And Defendant filed its reply. Doc. #41. The motion is now ripe for consideration.

         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 Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). In ruling 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 Sch. 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, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (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 679. A claim is facially plausible if it allows the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the conduct alleged. See Horras v. Am. Capital Strategies, Ltd., 729 F.3d 798, 801 (8th Cir. 2013); Braden v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 588 F.3d 585, 594 (8th Cir. 2009). “[I]n alleging fraud or mistake, a party must state with particularity the circumstances constituting fraud or mistake. Malice, intent, knowledge, ...


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