Baker v. Logan's Roadhouse, Inc. et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge Virginia Emerson Hopkins on 10/10/2013. (JLC)
2013 Oct-10 PM 05:17
U.S. DISTRICT COURT
N.D. OF ALABAMA
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
LOGAN’S ROADHOUSE, INC., et
) Case No.: 1:13-CV-1521-VEH
Before the court is a Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 7) filed by one of the defendants
in this action, Jamie Strickland (“Mr. Strickland”). The court has considered both the
Motion and the attached “incorporated memorandum of law.” Id. The plaintiff,
Joanna Baker (“Ms. Baker”), did not file a response within the deadlines imposed by
the court. After evaluating Mr. Strickland’s arguments, the court finds that his Motion
should be GRANTED.
Statement of the Case
Ms. Baker initiated this action on or about July 9, 2013, by filing a Complaint
in the Circuit Court of Calhoun County, Alabama. Id. at 1. The Complaint named
Logan’s Roadhouse, Inc. (“Logan’s”) and Mr. Strickland as defendants – as well as
18 fictitious entities (collectively, the “Defendants”). Doc. 1-1 at 3-4 The Complaint
alleges that the Defendants were jointly and severally liable for negligence,
willfulness, and/or wantonness concerning an injury Ms. Baker suffered while she
was at Logan’s restaurant in Oxford, Alabama. Id. at 3-13. The Defendants removed
the action to this court on August 16, 2013, based on diversity jurisdiction and the
claim that Mr. Strickland was fraudulently joined. Doc. 1. Ms. Baker did not oppose
removal. Mr. Strickland filed the present Motion on August 23, 2013. Doc. 7.
Standard of Review
Generally, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require only that the complaint
provide “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled
to relief.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a). However, to survive a motion to dismiss brought under
Rule 12(b)(6), a complaint must “state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007) (“Twombly”). “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.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556)
(“Iqbal”). That is, the complaint must include enough facts “to raise a right to relief
above the speculative level.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (citation and footnote
omitted). Pleadings that contain nothing more than “a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action” do not meet Rule 8 standards, nor do pleadings suffice
that are based merely upon “labels or conclusions” or “naked assertion[s]” without
supporting factual allegations. Id. at 555, 557 (citation omitted). “[O]nce a claim has
been stated adequately, it may be supported by showing any set of facts consistent
with the allegations in the complaint.” Id. at 563 (citation omitted). When ruling on
a motion to dismiss, a court must “take the factual allegations in the complaint as true
and construe them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.” Pielage v. McConnell,
516 F.3d 1282, 1284 (11th Cir. 2008) (citing Glover v. Liggett Group, Inc., 459 F.3d
1304, 1308 (11th Cir. 2006)).
Mr. Strickland’s name appears only twice in Ms. Baker’s Complaint: (1) as a
named party in the case caption, and (2) in paragraph three as “an individual resident
citizen of the State of Alabama and . . . over the age of nineteen (19) years old.” He
is not mentioned again in the document. As Mr. Strickland correctly observes, Ms.
Baker makes no effort to justify his inclusion in this case. She does not assert any
specific facts against him under any of her counts that might allow this court to
reasonably infer that he might be liable for her injuries. Thus, even assuming that
every allegation made by Ms. Baker is true, the court is unable to find that she has
stated a claim against Mr. Strickland that is “plausible on its face.” Twombly, 550
U.S. at 570.
For these reasons, Mr. Strickland’s Motion is due to be and is hereby
GRANTED. The court will enter a separate order consistent with this opinion.
DONE and ORDERED this the 10th day of October, 2013.
VIRGINIA EMERSON HOPKINS
United States District Judge
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