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Wilson v. E.I. Dupont De Nemours and Co.

United States District Court, D. Delaware

March 13, 2017


          Roger Scott Wilson, Newark, Delaware, Pro Se Plaintiff.

          Lauren E.M. Russell, Esquire, Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor, LLP, Wilmington, Delaware, and Janet O. Lee, Esquire and J. Michael Nolan, III, Esquire, Jackson Lewis P.C., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Counsel for Defendants.


          STARK, U.S. District Judge


         Plaintiff Roger Scott Wilson ("Plaintiff') proceeds pro se. He commenced this action on October 23, 2015, pursuant to the whistleblower protection provision of the Consumer Product Safety Act, 15 U.S.C. § 2087 ("CPSA"), and the employee protection provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. § 218c ("FLSA"). (D.I. 1) The Court has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1331.

         Presently before the Court are Defendants' motion to dismiss and Plaintiffs motion for summary judgment, as well as the parties' oppositions to both motions. (D.I. 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21) For the reasons that follow, the Court will grant Defendants' motion and will deny Plaintiffs motion.


         Plaintiff was employed by Defendants E.I. Du Pont de Nemours and Company ("Du Pont") and Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc. ("Pioneer") in various positions for some 24 years until July 27, 2012, when, he alleges, he was forced to resign. Plaintiff alleges that his resignation was the culmination of retaliation and harassment that he endured for 12 years after he refused to file a falsified safety report in August 2000 concerning a July 27, 2000 gas cylinder leak incident. Plaintiff alleges that he was discharged in violation of the CPSA and the FLSA. He seeks compensatory and punitive damages.


         Because Plaintiff proceeds pro se, his pleading is liberally construed and his complaint, "however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers." Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (internal quotation marks omitted).

         Evaluating a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) requires the Court to accept as true all material allegations of the complaint. See Spruill v. Gillis, 372 F.3d 218, 223 (3d Cir. 2004). "The issue is not whether a plaintiff will ultimately prevail but whether the claimant is entitled to offer evidence to support the claims." In re Burlington Coat Factory Sec. Utig., 114 F.3d 1410, 1420 (3d Cir. 1997) (internal quotation marks omitted). Thus, the Court may grant such a motion to dismiss only if, after "accepting all well-pleaded allegations in the complaint as true, and viewing them in the light most favorable to plaintiff, plaintiff is not entitled to relief." Maio v. Aetna, Inc., 221 F.3d 472, 481-82 (3d Cir. 2000) (internal quotation marks omitted).

         A well-pleaded complaint must contain more than mere labels and conclusions. See Ashcrojt p. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009); Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007). A plaintiff must plead facts sufficient to show that a claim has substantive plausibility. See Johnson v. City of "Shelby, __U.S.__, 135 S.Ct. 346, 347 (2014). A complaint may not dismissed, however, for imperfect statements of the legal theory supporting the claim asserted. See Id. at 346.

         Under the pleading regime established by Twombly and Iqbal, a court reviewing the sufficiency of a complaint must take three steps: (1) take note of the elements the plaintiff must plead to state a claim; (2) identify allegations that, because they are no more than conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of truth; and (3) when there are well-pleaded factual allegations, assume their veracity and then determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief. See Connelly v. Lane Const. Corp., 809 F.3d 780, 787 (3d Cir. 2016). Deciding whether a claim is plausible will be a "context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679.

         To survive a motion to dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face. SeeWilliams v. BASF Catalysts IJLC,765 F.3d 306, 315 (3d Cir. 2014) (citing Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 and Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). A claim is facially plausible "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. At bottom, "[t]he complaint must state enough facts to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of [each] necessary ...

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