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Frontier Van Lines v Valley Solutions

Frontier Van Lines v Valley Solutions

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Published by Eric Goldman

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Published by: Eric Goldman on May 26, 2011
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10/23/2011

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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTFOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIAFRONTIER VAN LINES MOVINGAND STORAGE, INC. and SHARONBITON, a/k/a Mike BittonPlaintiffs,v.VALLEY SOLUTIONS, INC., t/d/b/aMoverReviews.com, and MATTSCHMIDTDefendants.11cv0526
ELECTRONICALLYFILED
 
MEMORANDUM OPINIONI.
 
Introduction
On March 9, 2011, Plaintiffs Frontier Van Lines Moving and Storage, Inc.
(“Frontier”) and Sharon Biton (“Biton”) filed a Complaint in the Court of CommonPleas of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania against Valley Solutions, Inc. (“ValleySolutions”) and Matt Schmidt (“Schmidt”)
alleging defamation, and this case wasproperly removed to this Court, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332.Valley Solutions, t/d/b/a, MoverReviews.com, hosts and maintains awebsite wherein reviews are posted by persons who seek the services of movingcompanies, including Frontier. Frontier alleges that Defendant Schmidt posted two
Case 2:11-cv-00526-AJS Document 15 Filed 05/24/11 Page 1 of 12
 
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defamatory statements about Frontier, and that Valley Solutions also published,authored, created, or acted in concert with Schmidt in authoring, creating, andposting and in failing to remove the alleged defamatory statements, thus resultingin harm to its business and the personal reputation of the business owners. Doc.No. 1-1. Plaintiffs seek compensatory and punitive damages.On April 28, 2011, Valley Solutions filed a Motion to Dismiss the claimsagainst it under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Doc. No. 4.Valley Solutions asserts that
Plaintiffs‟
claims against it are barred by Title V of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, specifically that part codified at 47U.S.C. § 230. For the reasons discussed below, Valley Solutions
Motion toDismiss will be denied without prejudice.
1
 
II.
 
Standard of Review
Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2), civil complaints must contain
a “short and plain statement of the claim showing that the
pleader is entitled to
relief.”
A complaint may be dismissed pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6) if it does not allege “
enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible
on its face.”
 
Phillips v. Cnty. of Allegheny
, 515 F.3d 224, 234 (3d Cir. 2008)
1
As of this date, Plaintiffs have yet to make service on individual Defendant, Matt Schmidt.According to the Complaint, Schmidt is the alleged author of the allegedly defamatory statement.
Case 2:11-cv-00526-AJS Document 15 Filed 05/24/11 Page 2 of 12
 
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(quoting
 Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly
, 550 U.S.544, 570 (2007)).
2
To survive amotion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a claim for relief now
“„
requires more thanlabels and conclusions
‟” or “„
a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action.
‟”
 
 Ashcroft v. Iqbal
, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1948 (2009) (quoting
Twombly
, 550
U.S. at 555). While Rule 8 was “a notable and generous departure from the hyper 
-technical, code-
 pleading regime of a prior era,”
it does not
unlock the doors of discovery for
a plaintiff armed with nothing more than conclusions.”
 Iqbal
, 129 S.Ct. at 1950.
In light of the Supreme Court‟s decision in
 Iqbal
, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has advised district courts to review Rule 12(b)(6)motions to dismiss for failure to state a claim as follows:[D]istrict courts should conduct a two-part analysis. First, the factual andlegal elements of a claim should be separated. The District Court mustaccept all of the complaint's well-pleaded facts as true, but may disregardany legal conclusions. Second, a District Court must then determinewhether the facts alleged in the complaint are sufficient to show that the
 plaintiff has a “plausible claim for relief.” In other words, a complaint must
do more than allege the plaintiff's entitlement to relief. A complaint has to
“show” such an entitlement with its facts. As the Supreme Court instructed
in
 Iqbal
, “[w]here the well
-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infermore than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged
 – 
 
 but it has not „show[n]‟ – 
 
„that the pleader is entitled to relief.‟”
This
“plausibility” determination will be “a context
-specific task that requires thereviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common
sense.”
2
In
Twombly
, the United States Supreme Court abrogated its decision in
Conley v. Gibson
, 355U.S. 41 (1957),
which allowed dismissal of a claim only if “no set of facts” co
uld be conceivedto support it.
Conley
, 355 U.S. at 45.
Case 2:11-cv-00526-AJS Document 15 Filed 05/24/11 Page 3 of 12

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