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Wrenwick v. Berry Global Films, LLC

United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Charlotte Division

July 31, 2018

WILLIAM WRENWICK, Plaintiff,
v.
BERRY GLOBAL FILMS, LLC., Defendant.

          ORDER

          Graham C. Mullen, Is; United States District Judge.

         THIS MATTER is before the Court on the Motion to Dismiss (Doc. No. 13) filed by Defendant Berry Global Films, LLC. Plaintiff William Wrenwick has responded, and Defendant has filed a reply. Plaintiff filed a surreply in this matter on May 8, 2018, without leave of the Court. Defendant has also moved to strike this surreply, and Plaintiff had an opportunity to respond. This matter is now ripe for adjudication.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff William Wrenwick (“Wrenwick”) was employed as a truck driver by Defendant Berry Global Films, LLC (“Berry Global Films”). Wrenwick was terminated on March 9, 2017, after a conversation with Defendant Craig Cook (“Cook”), an HR Manager for Berry Global Films.

         Wrenwick filed a Charge of Discrimination with the EEOC on April 19, 2017, alleging that he was fired out of retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC issued a Dismissal and Notice of Rights to Wrenwick on April 21, 2017.

         Wrenwick, acting pro se, subsequently brought this action against Cook and Berry Global Films, alleging that he was terminated from his position out of retaliation. In his initial Complaint, Wrenwick mislabeled Berry Global Films as “Berry Plastics/ A.E.P. Industrial, a/k/a Berry Plastics Global Group, Inc./ A.E.P. Industries, Inc.” Berry Global Films and Cook jointly filed a motion to dismiss the original Complaint. On January 23, 2018, this Court granted in part and denied in part that motion, dismissing all claims against Cook but quashing the service of process on Berry Global Films. The Court allowed Wrenwick twenty-one days to amend his Complaint, file a new summons, and properly serve Berry Global Films.

         Wrenwick filed his Amended Complaint on February 15, 2018, correctly identifying Berry Global Films. Berry Global Films again moves to dismiss the Amended Complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction because Wrenwick's summons and service of process were defective. Berry Global Films also moves to dismiss the Amended Complaint for failure to state a claim.

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         “Before a federal court may exercise personal jurisdiction over a defendant, the procedural requirement of service of summons must be satisfied.” Omni Capital Int'l, Ltd. v. Rudolf Wolff & Co., Ltd., 484 U.S. 97, 104 (1987). “When there is actual notice, every technical violation of the rule or failure of strict compliance may not invalidate the service of process. But the rules are there to be followed, and plain requirements for the means of effecting service of process may not be ignored.” Armco, Inc. v. Penrod-Stauffer Bldg. Sys., Inc., 733 F.2d 1087, 1089 (4th Cir. 1984). “Once service has been contested, the plaintiff bears the burden of establishing the validity of service pursuant to Rule 4.” O'Meara v. Waters, 464 F.Supp.2d 474, 476 (D. Md. 2006).

         When faced with a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Court must “accept as true all well-pleaded allegations and . . . view the complaint in a light most favorable to the plaintiff.” Mylan Labs, Inc. v. Matkari, 7 F.3d 1130, 1134 (4th Cir. 1993). The Court “assume[s] the[] veracity” of these factual allegations, and “determine[s] whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009). However, the court “need not accept as true unwarranted inferences, unreasonable conclusions, or arguments.” E. Shore Mkts., Inc. v. J.D. Assocs. LLP, 213 F.3d 175, 180 (4th Cir. 2000). Thus, to survive a motion to dismiss, the plaintiff must include within his complaint “sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)).

         III. DISCUSSION

         A. Motion to Strike

         Wrenwick filed a surreply in this matter, labeled “Continuing Original Brief, ” on May 8, 2018. A surreply is not allowed by the Local Civil Rules absent leave of the Court. Wrenwick did not request leave of the Court to file a surreply more than a month after the close of the briefing schedule in this matter, nor does Wrenwick offer any rationale for his additional late filing. And finally, ...


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