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Murray v. Stan's Bar-B-Q

January 23, 2007

MARY MURRAY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
STAN'S BAR-B-Q, KIM FORTNER, STAN FORTNER, LOLITA CRUZ, AND LOANN LAMONS, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Mattice

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Before the Court are (1) Plaintiff's Motion to Amend Complaint, (2) Plaintiff's Amended Motion to Amend Complaint, and (3) Defendants' Motion to Dismiss and/or Motion for Summary Judgment.

For the reasons explained below, Plaintiff's Motion to Amend Complaint and Amended Motion to Amend Complaint are DENIED, and Defendants' Motion to Dismiss and/or Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED.

I. STANDARDS

A. Dismissal

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) provides for the dismissal of a complaint over which the Court does not have subject matter jurisdiction.

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) provides for the dismissal of a complaint that fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. The purpose of Rule 12(b)(6) is to permit a defendant to test whether, as a matter of law, the plaintiff is entitled to relief even if everything alleged in the complaint is true. Mayer v. Mylod, 988 F.2d 635, 638 (6th Cir. 1993). A complaint should not be dismissed for failure to state a claim unless "it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief." Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957); Arrow v. Fed. Reserve Bank, 358 F.3d 392, 393 (6th Cir. 2004). The complaint must contain either "direct or inferential allegations respecting all the material elements to sustain a recovery . . . ." Scheid v. Fanny Farmer Candy Shops, Inc., 859 F.2d 434, 436 (6th Cir. 1988) (internal quotations and citations omitted). The Court must determine not whether the plaintiff will ultimately prevail but whether the plaintiff is entitled to offer evidence to support his claims. Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974). In making this determination, the Court must construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff and accept as true all well-pleaded factual allegations. Arrow, 358 F.3d at 393; Mixon v. Ohio, 193 F.3d 389, 400 (6th Cir. 1999). The Court need not accept as true mere legal conclusions or unwarranted factual inferences. Id.

B. Amendment of the Complaint

Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a), leave to amend "shall be freely given when justice so requires." "[U]ndue delay, bad faith or dilatory motive on the part of the movant, repeated failure to cure deficiencies by amendments previously allowed, undue prejudice to the opposing party by virtue of allowance of the amendment, [and] futility of amendment" are among the reasons that a Court may deny leave to amend. Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962).

II. ANALYSIS

A. Defendants' Motion to Dismiss

The version of Plaintiff's complaint that is currently in effect is the amended complaint filed on July 31, 2006 [Court Doc. No. 5], and it is this complaint to which Defendants' motion to dismiss is directed. Defendants contend that the amended complaint must be dismissed on several bases: (1) the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over Plaintiff's claims; (2) Plaintiff's claims are barred by the applicable statute of limitations; and (3) Plaintiff's complaint fails to state a claim for which relief can be granted.

First, Defendants contend that the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over Plaintiff's claims. Federal district courts have two types of original subject matter jurisdiction: federal question jurisdiction and diversity jurisdiction. Federal question jurisdiction applies to "all civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States." 28 U.S.C. § 1331. In contrast, diversity jurisdiction applies to "all civil actions where the matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75,000 . . . and is between . . . citizens of different States . . . ." 28 U.S.C. § 1332.

Defendants argue that Plaintiff's claims sound in tort and, as a result, do not trigger the Court's federal question jurisdiction, and the Court must conclude that Defendants are correct. First, Plaintiff's amended complaint does not specifically list any federal law under which she brings her claims. Second, the factual allegations of Plaintiff's complaint-that her employer showed a lack of concern for her safety and did nothing when her concerns were brought to the attention of management and that her employer showed negligence by ignoring the seriousness and urgency of certain events that occurred in the workplace-sound entirely in tort. Thus, there ...


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