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Laudis v. Dodgers

United States District Court, C.D. California

August 22, 2014

JIM LAUDIS, Plaintiff,
v.
LOS ANGELES DODGERS, ACE. USA, SEDGWICK CLAIMS MANAGEMENT SERVICES, Defendants.

ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS TO DISMISS COMPLAINT [Dkt. 14 & 16]

DEAD D. PREGERSON, District Judge.

Before the court are Motions to Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint filed by Defendants Los Angeles Dodgers (Dkt. No. 14) and ACE American Insurance Company and Sedgwick Claims Management (Dkt. No. 16). The motions are fully briefed and suitable for decision without oral argument. Having considered the parties' submissions, the court adopts the following order.

I. Background

Plaintiff is a former employee of Defendant Dodgers. In a pro se form complaint, Plaintiff asserts four claims against Defendants: (1) "Serious Wilful Misconduct"; (2) "Employment Discrimination [and] Wrongful Termination, " (3) "Industrial Injury Herniated Disc, " and (4) "Punitive Damages." (Complaint at 6-9.) Plaintiff's Request for Relief seeks damages which include "compensation for serious willful misconduct, " "compensation to the injury herniate[d] disc, " "wilful employment discrimination wrongful termination, " "back pay benefits pain suffering of being a homeless [person], " and "punitiv[e] damage." (Id. at 10.) The Complaint does not contain any factual allegations in support of these claims and prayers for relief.

According to judicially noticeable documents submitted by Defendant Dodgers, Petitioner filed a petition with the California's Workers' Compensation Appeals Board in relation to injuries sustained while employed by Defendant Dodgers. (Dkt. No. 14-1.) On July 2, 2008, following a trial that occurred on May 28, 2009, an administrative law judge ("ALJ") issued a Finding and Award, concluding that Plaintiff sustained injury to his lower back on November 23, 2005. (Id. at 1.) The ALJ found that the injury caused 23% permanent partial disability equivalent to 90.5 weeks of indemnity, paying at $220.00 per week, commencing January 23, 2007, for a total of $19, 910.00. (Id.)

On February 14, 2014, Plaintiff filed the instant Complaint against Defendants. (Dkt. 1.) Defendants Dodgers and ACE American Insurance Company and Sedgwick Claims Management move to dismiss the Complaint for lack of federal jurisdiction under Rule 12(b)(1) and failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted under Rule 12(b)(6). (Dkt. Nos. 16, 17.)

II. Analysis

A. Lack of Federal Subject Matter Jurisdiction

Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. Owen Equip. & Erection Co. v. Kroger , 437 U.S. 365, 374 (1978). Federal district courts have original jurisdiction over claims that "aris[e] under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States, " 28 U.S.C. § 1331 ("federal question" jurisdiction), and claims where there is diversity of citizenship between the parties and the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000, 28 U.S.C. § 1331 ("diversity" jurisdiction). A "federal court is presumed to lack jurisdiction in a particular case unless the contrary affirmatively appears." Stock West, Inc. v. Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation , 873 F.2d 1221, 1225 (9th Cir. 1989). When subject matter jurisdiction is at issue, the plaintiff bears the burden of establishing the jurisdiction it asks the court to invoke. Tosco Corp. v. Communities for a Better Env't , 236 F.3d 495, 499 (9th Cir. 2001) abrogated by Hertz Corp. v. Friend , 559 U.S. 77, 130 S.Ct. 1181, 175 L.Ed.2d 1029 (2010). If the plaintiff does not establish the jurisdiction it seeks to invoke, the court must dismiss the case under Rule 12(b)(1).

In this case, Defendants contend that Plaintiff has failed to demonstrate that the court has jurisdiction to hear his claim. The court agrees. Plaintiff indicated in a form cover note to his Complaint that the basis for jurisdiction is "Federal Question (U.S. Government Not a Party)." (Complaint. Ex. 1 at 1.) However, Plaintiff does not identify in his Complaint any basis for federal question jurisdiction. The Complaint itself states that this court has jurisdiction over his claim "under workers compensation and all matters." (Id. at 1.) However, workers compensation claims are governed by state law, California Labor Code § 3200 et seq., and do not create a federal question. Nor is there any apparent basis for jurisdiction based on diversity of citizenship. Thus, Plaintiff has failed to demonstrate that this court has jurisdiction over this action and the Complaint must therefore be dismissed under Rule 12(b)(1).

B. Failure to State Claim

A complaint will survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) when it contains "sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Ashcroft v. Iqbal , 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly , 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). When considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, a court must "accept as true all allegations of material fact and must construe those facts in the light most favorable to the plaintiff." Resnick v. Hayes , 213 F.3d 443, 447 (9th Cir. 2000). Although a complaint need not include "detailed factual allegations, " it must offer "more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation." Iqbal , 556 U.S. at 678. Conclusory allegations or allegations that are no more than a statement of a legal conclusion "are not entitled to the assumption of truth." Id. at 679. Even under the liberal pleading standard of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2), under which a party is only required to make a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, " a "pleading that offers labels and conclusions' or a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.'" Id . 678 (quoting Twombly , 550 U.S. at 555).

Even were the court to have subject matter jurisdiction over this action, the court agrees with Defendants that Plaintiffs' Complaint does not meet the requirements of Rule 12(b)(6). As noted above, the Complaint asserts four causes of action: 1) "Serious Wilful Misconduct"; (2) "Employment Discrimination [and] Wrongful Termination, " (3) "Industrial Injury Herniated Disc, " and (4) "Punitive Damages." (Complaint at 6-7.) As to the first cause of action, although "wilful misconduct" is a cognizable legal theory under California law, Plaintiff has not indicated the elements of the theory nor alleged any facts in support of the theory. As to the second cause of action, although various state and federal laws provide a cause of action for employment discrimination, Plaintiff has not indicated the legal theory under which he brings his claim, nor alleged any facts to support an employment discrimination claim. Finally, neither the third nor fourth causes of action are cognizable legal theories. Accordingly, Plaintiff's Complaint fails to state any claim upon which relief may be granted.

IV. Conclusion

For the reasons stated above, Defendants' Motions to Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint (Dkt. Nos. 14 and 16) are GRANTED.

IT IS SO ORDERED.


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