United States District Court, D. Delaware
MATTHEW D. PINNAVAIA, on behalf of Joseph C. Pinnavaia, deceased, Plaintiff,
THE CELOTEX ASBESTOS SETTLEMENT TRUST, Defendant.
Matthew D. Pinnavaia, on behalf of Joseph C. Pinnavaia,
deceased, Oceanside, California, Pro Se Plaintiff.
N. Kunz, III, Esquire, Morris James LLP, Wilmington,
Delaware. Counsel for Defendant.
U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.
Matthew D. Pinnavaia on behalf of Joseph C. Pinnavaia,
deceased, ("Plaintiff), who proceeds pro se and
has been granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis,
commenced this action on August 22, 2016. (D.I. 2) He alleges
Defendant Celotcx Asbestos Settlement Trust
("Defendant") violated his deceased father's
right to due process under the Fifth and Fourteenth
Amendments. Pending is Defendant's motion to dismiss
pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) or, in die alternative,
12(b)(1). (D.I. 8) For the reasons that follow, the Court
will grant the motion.
is a settlement trust formed pursuant to the Bankruptcy Code,
11 U.S.C. §524(g), by the Celotex Corporation
("Celotex") and Carey Canada, Inc. ("Carey
Canada") (its wholly-owned subsidiary), following their
bankruptcy, to compensate individuals injured by their
asbestos-containing building products. (See D.I. 10,
Ex. A at ¶¶ 13-14) (order confirming plan of
reorganization). Plaintiff filed a claim to the Trust based
on his father's alleged exposure to asbestos products.
(D.I. 2 at ¶ 5) The Trust denied the claim as
time-barred under Defendant's claims resolution
procedures. (Id. at ¶ 16) Plaintiff alleges
that the statute of limitations clause is illegal and an
unlawful imposition of artificial limits placed upon his
father in violation of due process rights under die Fifth and
Fourteenth Amendments. (Id. at¶ 17) Plaintiff
was authorized to initiate lidgation concerning the value of
his claim under die claims processing procedures adopted by
the Trust. (Id. at ¶ 8; Ex. 3)
moves for dismissal on the grounds that: (1) it is not a
governmental actor and the claim fails as a matter of law;
(2) the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction; and (3) the
claim is time-barred. (D.I. 9) Plaintiff opposes on the basis
that his father's due process rights were violated. (D.I.
14) He did not address the other grounds for dismissal raised
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." Maw v. Aetna,
Inc., 221 F.3d 472, 481-82 (3d Cir. 2000) (internal
quotation marks omitted).
well-pleaded complaint must contain more than mere labels and
conclusions. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009); Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 555 (2007). A plaintiff must plead facts sufficient to
show that a claim has substantive plausibility. See
Johnson v. City of She/by, __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.
survive a motion to dismiss, a civil plaintiff must allege
facts that 'raise a right to relief above the speculative
level on the assumption that the allegations in the complaint
are true (even if doubtful in fact).'" Victaulic
Co. v. Tieman, 499 F.3d 227, 234 (3d Cir. 2007) (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). 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."
Iqbaly 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 element" of a plaintiffs claim. Wilkerson
v. New Media Tech. Charter Sch. Inc., 522 F.3d 315, 321
(3d Cir. 2008) (internal quotation marks omitted).
Court is not obligated to accept as true "bald
assertions'' Morse v. Lower Merion Sch.
Dist., 132 F.3d 902, 906 (3d Cir. 1997) (internal
quotation marks omitted), "unsupported conclusions and
unwarranted inferences, " Schuylkill Energy Res.,
Inc. v. Pennsylvania Power & Light Co., 113 F.3d
405, 417 (3d Cir. 1997), or allegations that are
"self-evidently false, " Nami v. Fauver,
82 F.3d 63, 69 (3d Cir. 1996). 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).