HOLCOMB et al v. CARE ONE, LLC,
OPINION. Signed by Judge Brian R. Martinotti on 9/19/2022. (sm)
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NOT FOR PUBLICATION
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
BRENDA HOLCOMB, et al.,
Case No. 2:21-cv-20611 (BRM) (ESK)
CARE ONE LLC,
MARTINOTTI, DISTRICT JUDGE
Before the Court are Defendant Care One LLC’s (“Care One”) Motion to Dismiss pursuant
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) and Motion for Sanctions pursuant to Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 11. (ECF Nos. 11, 19.) Plaintiffs Brenda Holcomb and Alice Tzeng (“Plaintiffs”)
filed an opposition to the motions (ECF No. 26), and Care One filed a reply (ECF No. 27). Having
reviewed the parties’ submissions filed in connection with the Motions and having declined to
hold oral argument pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 78(b), for the reasons set forth
below and for good cause having been shown, Care One’s Motion to Dismiss is GRANTED, and
Care One’s Motion for Sanctions is DENIED.
For the purpose of the motion to dismiss, the Court accepts the factual allegations in the
Complaint as true and draws all inferences in the light most favorable to Plaintiffs. See Phillips v.
Cnty. of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 228 (3d Cir. 2008). The Court also considers any “document
integral to or explicitly relied upon in the complaint.” In re Burlington Coat Factory Sec. Litig.,
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114 F.3d 1410, 1426 (3d Cir. 1997) (quoting Shaw v. Digit. Equip. Corp., 82 F.3d 1194, 1220 (1st
This action arises out of Plaintiffs’ challenge to a COVID-19 vaccination policy allegedly
implemented and enforced by Care One. (Compl. (ECF No. 1) ¶ 1.) Plaintiffs are physicians whose
medical practices are centered around patients at Care One’s facilities. (Id. ¶¶ 1–2.) Care One is a
privately owned limited liability company that operates nursing home and assisted living facilities
in New Jersey. 1 (Id. ¶ 1.) Care One mandated all medical providers who treat patients at its
facilities receive COVID-19 vaccinations or be prohibited from entering its facilities. (Id.)
Plaintiffs sought religious and medical exemptions to the vaccination policy but were denied. (Id.)
Plaintiffs allege the denial of their religious and medical objections to receiving the COVID-19
vaccine cost them their livelihoods because they were no longer permitted to treat patients at Care
One’s facilities. (Id. ¶ 2.)
On December 20, 2021, Plaintiffs filed their Complaint against Care One, alleging: (1)
employment discrimination and failure to accommodate in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights
Act of 1964 (“Title VII”) (Counts I and II); employment discrimination and failure to
accommodate in violation of Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C.
§ 12101, et seq., (Counts III and IV); employment discrimination and refusal to contract under the
New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“NJLAD”) (Count V); tortious interference (Count VI);
breach of contract (Count VII); promissory estoppel (Count VIII); and declaratory judgment
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 2201 (Count IX). (Id. ¶¶ 59–114.)
Care One contests Plaintiffs’ assertion that Care One is the proper party to this litigation. Care
One explains it is “a holding company that is not the licensed owner or operator of the facilities at
issue.” (ECF No. 11-1 at 1.) Care One states it “has affiliates that operate post-acute nursing and
assisted living facilities throughout New Jersey.” (Id. at 2.)
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On January 13, 2022, Care One’s counsel sent Plaintiffs’ counsel a letter stating Plaintiffs’
Complaint required dismissal because: (1) Care One is not a proper defendant; (2) Plaintiffs are
not employees of Care One; and (3) as non-employees, Plaintiffs cannot bring employment
discrimination claims under Title VII, the ADA, or the NJLAD. (Care One Opp. Br. (ECF No. 20)
at 3–4.) The letter further asserted, among other things, Plaintiffs’ counsel did not conduct baseline
due diligence in verifying facts, explaining the relationship between Plaintiffs and Care One, and
obtaining a Notice of Right to Sue from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
(“EEOC”). (Id. at 3.)
On May 5, 2022, Care One filed a motion to dismiss. (ECF No. 11.) On May 27, 2022,
Care One filed a motion for sanctions against Plaintiffs and their counsel. (ECF Nos. 19, 20.) On
June 21, 2022, Plaintiffs filed their opposition to both motions. (ECF No. 26.) On June 28, 2022,
Care One filed its reply. (ECF No. 27.)
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6)
In deciding a motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a
district court is “required to accept as true all factual allegations in the complaint and draw all
inferences from the facts alleged in the light most favorable to [the non-moving party].” Phillips,
515 F.3d at 228. “[A] complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need
detailed factual allegations.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (citations
omitted). However, “a plaintiff’s obligation to provide the ‘grounds’ of his ‘entitle[ment] to relief’
requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of
action will not do.” Id. at 555 (quoting Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986)). A court is
“not bound to accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation.” Papasan, 478 U.S.
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at 286. Instead, assuming the factual allegations in the complaint are true, those “[f]actual
allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Twombly, 550
U.S. at 555.
“To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter,
accepted as true, to ‘state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face.’” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). “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.” Id. at 678 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). This
“plausibility standard” requires the complaint to allege “more than a sheer possibility that a
defendant has acted unlawfully,” but it “is not akin to a ‘probability requirement.’” Id. at 678
(citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). “Detailed factual allegations” are not required, but “more than
an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation” must be pleaded; it must include
“factual enhancement” and not just conclusory statements or a recitation of the elements of a cause
of action. Id. (citations omitted). In assessing plausibility, the court may not consider any “[f]actual
claims and assertions raised by a defendant.” Doe v. Princeton Univ., 30 F.4th 335, 345 (3d Cir.
“Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief [is] . . . a contextspecific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common
sense.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679. “[W]here the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer
more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged—but it has not
‘show[n]’—‘that the pleader is entitled to relief.’” Id. (quoting Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2)). Indeed,
after Iqbal, conclusory or “bare-bones” allegations will no longer survive a motion to dismiss:
“[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory
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statements, do not suffice.” Id. at 678. To prevent dismissal, all civil complaints must set out
“sufficient factual matter” to show that the claim is facially plausible, allowing “the court to draw
the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. The Supreme
Court’s ruling in Iqbal emphasizes that a plaintiff must show that the allegations of his or her
complaints are plausible. See id. at 670.
While, generally, the court may not consider anything beyond the four corners of the
complaint on a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), the Third Circuit has held that “a court
may consider certain narrowly defined types of material without converting the motion to dismiss
[to one for summary judgment pursuant to Rule 56].” In re Rockefeller Ctr. Props. Sec. Litig., 184
F.3d 280, 287 (3d Cir. 1999). Specifically, courts may consider any “document integral to or
explicitly relied upon in the complaint.” In re Burlington Coat Factory, 114 F.3d at 1426 (emphasis
added) (quoting Shaw, 82 F.3d at 1220). However, “[w]hen the truth of facts in an ‘integral’
document are contested by the well-pleaded facts of a complaint, the facts in the complaint must
prevail.” Princeton Univ., 30 F.4th at 342.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11
Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure permits a court to impose sanctions on a
party who has presented a pleading, motion, or other paper to the court without evidentiary support
or for “any improper purpose.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 11(b). “[T]he central purpose of Rule 11 is to deter
baseless filings in District Court and thus, consistent with the Rule Enabling Act’s grant of
authority, streamline the administration and procedure of the federal courts.” Cooter & Gell v.
Hartmarx Corp., 496 U.S. 384, 393 (1990); Reardon v. Murphy, Civ. A. No. 18-11372, 2019 U.S.
Dist. LEXIS 166213, at *10 (D.N.J. Sept. 27, 2019).
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District courts have the power to enjoin the filing of meritless actions “where the pleadings
raise issues identical or similar to those that have already been adjudicated.” In re Packer Ave.
Assocs., 884 F.2d 745, 747 (3d Cir. 1989). However, such injunctions should be “narrowly tailored
and sparingly used,” id., because “access to the courts is a fundamental tenet to our judicial system;
legitimate claims should receive a full and fair hearing no matter how litigious the plaintiff may
be,” Abdul-Akbar v. Watson, 901 F.2d 329, 332 (3d Cir. 1990) (quoting In re Oliver, 682 F.2d 443,
446 (3d Cir. 1982)).
There are “several methods of achieving the various goals of Rule 11,” including
reasonable attorneys’ fees, expenses, or nonmonetary directives. Doering v. Union Cnty. Bd. of
Chosen Freeholders, 857 F.2d 191, 194 (3d Cir. 1988); see Fed. R. Civ. P. 11(c)(4). A court is
granted broad discretion in choosing the nature and severity of sanctions in a particular case. See
DiPaolo v. Moran, 407 F.3d 140, 146 (3d Cir. 2005); Levy v. Jaguar Land Rover N. Am., LLC,
Civ. A. No. 19-13497, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18711, at *22 (D.N.J. Feb. 4, 2020). The rule is
intended to discourage the filing of frivolous, unsupported, or unreasonable claims by “impos[ing]
on counsel a duty to look before leaping and may be seen as a litigation version of the familiar
railroad crossing admonition to ‘stop, look, and listen.’” Lieb v. Topstone Indus. Inc., 788 F.2d
151, 157 (3d Cir. 1986); Keyes v. Nationstar Mortg., LLC, Civ. A. No. 20-02649, 2020 U.S. Dist.
LEXIS 191958, at *27 (D.N.J. Oct. 16, 2020).
“Although a court retains the inherent right to sanction when rules of court or statutes also
provide a vehicle for sanctioning misconduct, resort to these inherent powers is not preferred when
other remedies are available.” In re Prudential Ins. Co. Am. Sales Practice Litig. Agent Actions,
278 F.3d 175, 189 (3d Cir. 2002) “Therefore, generally, a court’s inherent power should be
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reserved for those cases in which the conduct of a party or an attorney is egregious and no other
basis for sanctions exists.” Id. (citation and quotation marks omitted).
Motion to Dismiss
Care One argues Plaintiffs’ employment-based federal claims fail because Plaintiffs are
not employees of the facilities where they treat their patients and Plaintiffs have not exhausted
their administrative remedies by obtaining a Notice of Right to Sue from the EEOC before
initiating this action. (ECF No. 11-1 at 10–14.) Plaintiffs argue they should be construed as Care
One’s employees because Care One retained control over Plaintiffs’ access and ability to treat
patients. (ECF No. 26 at 22–27.) Plaintiffs contend they continue to follow up with the EEOC on
the status of their claim but has brought this federal action “in the interim to vindicate Plaintiffs’
legal rights principally through injunctive relief.” (Id. at 22.)
A failure to exhaust defense may be properly raised on a motion to dismiss. See Anjelino
v. New York Times Co., 200 F.3d 73, 87–88 (3d Cir. 1999). Title VII and the ADA require a
plaintiff bringing an action against an employer for discrimination to first file an action with the
EEOC within 180 days of the alleged conduct. 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(e)(1) (Title VII); 42 U.S.C.
§ 12117(a) (ADA); Webb v. City of Phila., 562 F.3d 256, 262 (3d Cir. 2009) (“Before bringing
suit under Title VII in federal court, a plaintiff must first file a charge with the EEOC.”); Buck v.
Hampton Twp. Sch. Dist., 452 F.3d 256, 260 (3d Cir. 2006) (“Plaintiffs bringing employment
discrimination charges under the ADA must comply with the procedural requirements set forth in
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, at 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5.”).
After filing a charge with the EEOC, a plaintiff must receive a “right to sue” letter before
filing with the district court. See Burgh v. Borough Council of Borough of Montrose, 251 F.3d 465,
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470 (3d Cir. 2001) (stating the EEOC will then investigate the charge, and the plaintiff must wait
until the EEOC issues a right-to-sue letter before she can initiate a private action); Ditzel v. Univ.
of Med. & Dentistry of N.J., 962 F. Supp. 595, 602 (D.N.J. 1997). Only after the EEOC action is
filed, an investigation is completed, and a right to sue letter is issued can a plaintiff be considered
to have exhausted her administrative remedies. Burgh, 251 F.3d at 470. “If a plaintiff brings suit
under Title VII or the ADA before receiving a ‘right-to-sue letter,’ the matter may be dismissed
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to exhaust administrative
remedies.” Small v. Rahway Bd. of Educ., Civ. A. No. 17-1963, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 53421, at
*3 (D.N.J. Apr. 6, 2017) (citations omitted); see, e.g., Robinson v. Univ. of Med. & Dentistry of
N.J., Civ. A. No. 06-1158, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 85121, at *4 (D.N.J. Nov. 17, 2006) (“Because
there is no dispute that Plaintiff failed to file an EEOC charge and obtain a right to sue letter,
Plaintiff’s ADA claims must be dismissed under Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to exhaust administrative
remedies.”). A plaintiff’s failure to exhaust administrative remedies prior to filing a charge of
discrimination under the ADA or Title VII may warrant dismissal. Slingland v. Donahoe, 542 F.
App’x 189, 192 (3d Cir. 2013) (affirming the district court’s dismissal of the plaintiff’s Title VII
claims based on her failure to exhaust the administrative remedies available to her); Anjelino, 200
F.3d at 87–88 (3d Cir. 2000)) (finding failure to exhaust administrative remedies in an ADA suit
by not filing an EEOC charge before bringing suit is properly reviewed under Fed R. Civ. P.
Here, Plaintiffs concede they have not obtained a right to sue letter and the alleged filed
charges are still pending before the EEOC. (ECF No. 26 at 21–22.) Therefore, Plaintiffs admittedly
have not exhausted their administrative remedies before filing suit. See Delprato v. Day Chevrolet
Inc., 427 F. App’x 86, 89 (3d Cir. 2011) (finding a plaintiff “must wait until the EEOC completes
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its investigation of the claim before he can initiate a private action”). Plaintiffs cite no authority in
support of their proposition a federal action may be brought “in the interim to vindicate Plaintiffs’
legal rights.” 2 (ECF No. 26 at 22.) As such, failure to exhaust administrative remedies warrants
dismissal of Plaintiffs’ Title VII and ADA claims. Devine v. St. Luke’s Hosp., 406 F. App’x 654,
656 (3d Cir. 2011) (“Failure to exhaust administrative remedies, while not a jurisdictional defect,
is a ground to dismiss a case for failure to state a claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6).”); Stampone v. Freeman Decorating Co., 196 F. App’x 123, 125 (3d Cir. 2006) (“In the
absence of a right-to-sue letter, a Title VII suit can be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted.”). To the extent Plaintiffs contend they brought suit to pursue
injunctive relief, they have not submitted any motion or application with the Court making such
request. Nor have Plaintiffs explained what injunctive relief they are seeking. 3 Accordingly, Care
One’s motion to dismiss Plaintiffs’ Title VII and ADA claims is GRANTED.
The single case Plaintiffs cite, Fort Bend County v. Davis, is inapposite. 139 S. Ct. 1843 (2019).
In that case, the Supreme Court held the administrative exhaustion requirement of Title VII is a
mandatory processing rule, not a jurisdictional prescription. Id. at 1852 Indeed, the Court
acknowledged Title VII’s charge-filing provisions “require complainants to submit information to
the EEOC and to wait a specified period before commencing a civil action.” Id. at 1851.
While a failure to exhaust administrative remedies suffices as a basis for dismissal, there are
several other deficiencies in Plaintiffs’ Complaint warranting dismissal, including Plaintiffs’
failure to properly name the correct defendant. Plaintiffs appear to tacitly acknowledge Care One
is not the proper party to this suit. (ECF No. 26 at 20–21 (“If there are corporate affiliates distinct
from Care One, LLC that should also be named as Defendants, that can be accomplished through
simple pleading amendments. . . . [U]pon discovery of this basic corporate information, Plaintiffs
will move to amend in short order.”).) Plaintiffs criticize Care One’s purported refusal to disclose
the nature of its affiliation with the facilities; however, as Care One has indicated, its affiliation is
that of a holding company—a separate and distinct entity. See Pearson v. Component Tech. Corp.,
247 F.3d 471, 484 (3d Cir. 2001) (“[M]ere ownership of a subsidiary does not justify the
imposition of liability on the parent.”); Marzano v. Comput. Sci. Corp., 91 F.3d 497, 513 (3d Cir.
1996) (“Even in the case of a parent corporation and its wholly-owned subsidiary, limited liability
normally will not be abrogated.” (quotation omitted)). Notably, Care One attests to providing
Plaintiffs with ownership information for each of the facilities identified in the Complaint and
directed Plaintiffs to public records of the entities operating the facilities at issue. (ECF No. 27 at
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As to Plaintiffs’ NJLAD, breach of contract, promissory estoppel, and tortious interference
claims, the Court declines to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over these state law claims. Under
28 U.S.C. § 1367(c), a district court may decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over a claim
if the court “has dismissed all claims over which it has original jurisdiction.” 28 U.S.C.
§ 1367(c)(3). Federal district courts have original jurisdiction over “all civil actions arising under
the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States.” 28 U.S.C. § 1331. In exercising its
discretion, “the district court should take into account generally accepted principles of ‘judicial
economy, convenience, and fairness to the litigants.’” Growth Horizons, Inc. v. Del. Cnty., Pa.,
983 F.2d 1277, 1284 (3d Cir. 1993) (quoting United Mine Workers v. Gibbs, 383 U.S. 715, 726
(1966)). Where the federal claims are dismissed at an early stage in the litigation, courts generally
decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over state claims. United Mine Workers, 383 U.S. at
726; Growth Horizons, Inc., 983 F.2d at 1284–85. Here, because Plaintiffs’ NJLAD, breach of
contract, promissory estoppel, and tortious interference claims are based purely on state law, they
are not claims over which the Court has original jurisdiction. Therefore, at this early stage in the
litigation, the Court declines to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over Plaintiffs’ remaining state
3, 4.) Plaintiffs are not absolved of adhering to the Rule 8 pleading requirements simply because
Care One has some affiliation with the proper defendant to be named. See In re Zinc Antitrust
Litig., 155 F. Supp. 3d 337, 384 (S.D.N.Y. 2016) (“The fact that two separate legal entities may
have a corporate affiliation—perhaps owned by the same holding company—does not alter this
pleading requirement. Nor is it sufficient for plaintiffs to simply state in conclusory terms that
separate legal entities are ‘sometimes collectively referred to’ by a shared generic name.”). In any
event, in light of Plaintiffs’ failure to exhaust their administrative remedies, Care One’s remaining
arguments are moot, and the Court makes no finding as to proper party.
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Motion for Sanctions
Care One argues the Court should impose sanctions against Plaintiffs and their counsel
because they refused to withdraw or amend their Complaint and continued to pursue their claims
in bad faith. (ECF No. 20 at 8–21.) Care One contends Plaintiffs’ counsel pursued this action in
federal court despite knowing Plaintiffs failed to exhaust their administrative remedies, falsely
asserted the existence of an employment relationship when none purportedly existed, and failed to
address the public information demonstrating Care One is not a proper defendant. (Id. at 9–19.)
Plaintiffs argue their claims are not frivolous and grounds for sanctions do not exist. (ECF No. 26
Rule 11 requires attorneys to conduct “a reasonable investigation of the facts and a
normally competent level of legal research to support” the claims they assert. Oxfurth v. Siemens
A.G., 142 F.R.D. 424, 426 (D.N.J. 1991). Rule 11 aims to sanction “abuse, and ‘should not be
applied to adventuresome, though responsible lawyering which advocates creative legal theories.’”
Id. (citing Mary Ann Pensiero, Inc. v. Lingle, 847 F.2d 90, 94 (3d Cir. 1988)). Courts have been
instructed to apply Rule 11 sanctions only in “exceptional circumstances” and such sanctions are
“appropriate when it is the minimum that will serve to adequately deter the undesirable behavior.”
Id. at 427 (citations omitted).
An attorney’s conduct may implicate penalties under 28 U.S.C. § 1927, which authorizes
the assessment of costs and attorney fees if a court finds that an attorney has “(1) multiplied
proceedings; (2) in an unreasonable and vexatious manner; (3) thereby increasing the cost of the
proceedings; and (4) doing so in bad faith or by intentional misconduct.” In re Prudential Ins. Co.
Am. Sales Practice Litig., 278 F.3d at 188. Federal courts have inherent power to assess attorney’s
fees against counsel that appear before the court when a party has “acted in bad faith, vexatiously,
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wantonly, or for oppressive reasons.” Chambers v. NASCO, Inc., 501 U.S. 32, 33 (1991). “The
imposition of sanctions in this instance . . . mak[es] the prevailing party whole for expenses caused
by his opponent’s obstinacy.” Id. (quotation omitted).
Here, the Court reluctantly declines to impose sanctions. While it may have been prudent
for Plaintiffs to have engaged in some further reasonable investigation before filing their claims,
the Court does not find Plaintiffs acted in bad faith. Notwithstanding, it is important for Plaintiffs
to recognize that their impatience with the EEOC process does not excuse them from fulfilling the
threshold requirement of exhausting their administrative remedies before filing suit. See Moteles
v. Univ. of Pa., 730 F.2d 913, 917 (3d Cir. 1984) (“The preference for [EEOC] conciliation as the
dispute resolution method in employment discrimination proceedings should not be undermined
by a party’s deliberate by-pass of administrative remedies.”). Nor is it appropriate for Plaintiffs to
insist on maintaining suit after being advised of such failure to satisfy those threshold
requirements. 4 Still, “[n]ot every incidence of shoddy lawyering justifies sanctions.” Perirx, Inc.
v. Regents of the Univ. of Cal., Civ. A. No. 20-02212, 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10291, at *3–4 (E.D.
Pa. Jan. 20, 2022) (“[W]hile the Court does not condone lawyers’ sloppiness, the Court is also not
a roving tribunal of professional ethics.”).
To the extent Care One maintains it is a holding company and not the proper defendant,
Plaintiffs explained they reasonably believed Care One was a proper defendant because of its
affiliation with the facilities at issue and indicated a willingness to properly name the correct
defendants. Plaintiffs allegedly suffered an injury and believe they may have a basis to bring a
claim. This does not constitute an “exceptional circumstance” to warrant sanctions under Rule 11.
In a letter sent by Care One to Plaintiffs dated January 13, 2022, Care One requested Plaintiffs
voluntarily withdraw this action in light of the fact Plaintiffs failed to exhaust the required remedies
to maintain their Title VII and ADA claims before filing suit. (Nathanson Decl. (ECF No. 20-2).)
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See Mary Ann Pensiero, 847 F.2d at 99 (“[S]anctions under [Rule 11] are reserved for only
exceptional circumstances.”). Nor at this early stage has Plaintiffs’ counsel “multiplied
proceedings” in an “unreasonable and vexatious manner” for the Court to warrant sanctions under
28 U.S.C. § 1927. Accordingly, Care One’s motion for sanctions is DENIED.
For the reasons set forth above, Care One’s Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 11) is
GRANTED and Motion for Sanctions (ECF No. 19) is DENIED. An appropriate order follows.
/s/ Brian R. Martinotti
HON. BRIAN R. MARTINOTTI
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Dated: September 19, 2022
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