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Stevens v. Trona Railway Co.

February 11, 2009

THOMAS W. STEVENS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
TRONA RAILWAY COMPANY, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: VIRGINIA A. Phillips United States District Judge

[Motion filed on January 16, 2009]

ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO DISMISS

Defendant's Motion for to Dismiss came before the Court for hearing on February 9, 2009. After reviewing and considering all papers filed in support of, and in opposition to, the Motion, the Court GRANTS the Motion, with leave to amend the Complaint.

I. BACKGROUND

A. Allegations in Plaintiff's Complaint

Searles Valley Minerals employed Plaintiff Thomas W. Stevens ("Plaintiff") as a trainman. (See Compl. at ¶ 5.) Defendant Trona Railway ("Defendant") also employed Plaintiff as a "joint employee, borrowed employee, or subservant of a company, Searles Valley Minerals, that was in turn a servant of Trona Railway." (Id.)

On December 4, 2006, Plaintiff was working for Defendant on top of a railroad car, called a "hopper car." (Id. at ¶ 7.) Plaintiff attempted to lift the heavy metal lid off the top of the hopper car, but a metal bar located across the lid flew backwards and struck Plaintiff, injuring him severely. (Id. at ¶ 8.)

Defendant's failure to maintain the running boards on the lid of the hopper car as required by law caused Plaintiff's injuries. (Id. at ¶ 10.)

B. Procedural History

Plaintiff filed this action on December 3, 2008, alleging the following claims: (1) Negligence per se under the Federal Employers' Liability Act ("FELA"), 45 U.S.C. §§ 51, et seq. and the Federal Appliance Safety Act ("FASA"), 49 U.S.C. § 20301; (2) Negligence under FELA; (3) Negligence [under California law]; and (4) Products liability.

On January 16, 2009, Defendant filed a Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint ("Motion") and a Request for Judicial Notice, with attached exhibits. On January 26, 2009, Plaintiff filed Opposition to Defendant's Motion. On February 2, 2009, Defendant filed a Reply.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

Under Rule 12(b)(6), a party may bring a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. As a general matter, the Federal Rules require only that a plaintiff provide "'a short and plain statement of the claim' that will give the defendant fair notice of what the plaintiff's claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957) (quoting Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2)); Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. __, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964 (2007). In addition, the Court must accept all material allegations in the complaint - as well as any reasonable inferences to be drawn from them - as true. See Doe v. United States, 419 F.3d 1058, 1062 (9th Cir. 2005); ARC Ecology v. U.S. Dep't of Air Force, 411 F.3d 1092, 1096 (9th Cir. 2005).

"While a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's obligation to provide the 'grounds' of his 'entitlement to relief' requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of ...


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