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Newson v. Prinston Pharmaceutical, Inc.

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

March 27, 2019

DERRICK NEWSON, Plaintiff,
v.
PRINSTON PHARMACEUTICAL, INC., Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND RECOMMENDATION

          DAVID C. KEESLER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         THIS MATTER IS BEFORE THE COURT on “Defendant's Partial Motion To Dismiss Plaintiff's Amended Complaint” (Document No. 12). This motion has been referred to the undersigned Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §636(b), and is now ripe for disposition. Having carefully considered the arguments, the record, and the applicable authority, the undersigned will respectfully recommend that the motion be granted in part and denied in part.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff Derrick Newson (“Plaintiff” or “Newson”) initiated this action with the filing of a “Complaint” (Document No. 1) on May 22, 2018. The original Complaint asserted claims against Plaintiff's employer, Defendant Prinston Pharmaceutical Inc. (“Defendant” or “Prinston”), for violation of the Family and Medical Leave Act, 29 U.S.C. § 2601, et seq. (“FMLA”) and violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000(e), et seq. (“Title VII”). (Document No. 1). Defendant's first “Motion To Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint” (Document No. 3) was filed on August 6, 2018.

         Plaintiff Newson then filed an “Amended Complaint” (Document No. 7) on August 20, 2018. The Amended Complaint asserts the same FMLA and Title VII claims as the original Complaint, and adds claims for discrimination in violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. et seq. (“ADA”) and wrongful termination in violation of public policy pursuant to the common law of North Carolina. (Document No. 7). Based on Plaintiff's amended pleading, the undersigned issued an “Order” (Document No. 10) on August 30, 2018, directing that Defendant's “Motion To Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint” (Document No. 3) be denied as moot.

         Now pending before the Court is “Defendant's Partial Motion To Dismiss Plaintiff's Amended Complaint” (Document No. 12), filed on September 4, 2018. Defendant seeks dismissal of Counts II-IV in the Amended Complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). (Document No. 12).

         The pending motion has been fully briefed and is ripe for review and a recommendation to the Honorable Robert J. Conrad, Jr. See (Document Nos. 12, 13, 14, and 16).

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         A motion to dismiss pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) tests the “legal sufficiency of the complaint” but “does not resolve contests surrounding the facts, the merits of a claim, or the applicability of defenses.” Republican Party of N.C. v. Martin, 980 F.2d 943, 952 (4th Cir. 1992); Eastern Shore Markets, Inc. v. J.D. Assoc. Ltd. Partnership, 213 F.3d 175, 180 (4th Cir. 2000). A complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss will survive if it contains “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)); see also, Robinson v. American Honda Motor Co., Inc., 551 F.3d 218, 222 (4th Cir. 2009). “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.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. “Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Id.

         The Supreme Court has also opined that

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires only “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” 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.'” In addition, when ruling on a defendant's motion to dismiss, a judge must accept as true all of the factual allegations contained in the complaint.

Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93-94 (2007) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555-56).

         “Although for the purposes of this motion to dismiss we must take all the factual allegations in the complaint as true, we are not bound to accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation.” Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986). The court “should view the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.” Mylan Labs, Inc. v. Matkar, 7 F.3d 1130, 1134 (4th Cir. 1993).

         III. DISCUSSION

         A. Factual Background

         Plaintiff was employed by Defendant Prinston as a Quality Technician II, who was responsible for ensuring the quality of Prinston's pharmaceutical products. (Document No. 7, p. 3; Document No. 13, p. 1). Defendant contends that Plaintiff was actually employed by Generics Bidco II LLC d/b/a Prinston Laboratories. (Document No. 13, p. 1, ...


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