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Rapp v. Hampton Management LLC

United States District Court, D. Montana, Butte Division

July 24, 2018

JEFFREY S. RAPP, Plaintiff,
v.
HAMPTON MANAGEMENT LLC, Defendant.

          ORDER, AND FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION

          Jeremiah C. Lynch United States Magistrate Judge

         Before the court is Hampton Inns Management LLC's (“Hampton Inns”) Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss Plaintiff Jeffrey Rapp's complaint. Also before the Court are Rapp's two pleadings filed as a “Demand for Summary Judgment”, and a “Motion to Compell [sic] Truthful Answers Participate in Mediation.”

         For the reasons discussed, the Court recommends Hampton Inns' motion to dismiss be granted in part, and denied in part. And Rapp's motions are subject to denial.

         I. Background

         Rapp commenced this action with his complaint filed in the Montana Eighteenth Judicial District Court, Gallatin County. Hampton Inns removed the case to this Court based upon the Court's diversity of citizenship jurisdiction provided at 28 U.S.C. § 1332.

         Rapp worked for Hampton Inns when its General Manager, Doris Fleming, began making statements to Hampton Inns about Rapp which he asserts were false. Fleming accused Rapp of (1) engaging in inappropriate conduct with a young female co-worker, (2) being an incompetent employee for failing to install batteries in smoke detectors, and (3) fraudulently reporting his work hours. Hampton Inns' Human Resource Manager, Robert Blom, repeated the statements to the Montana Department of Labor, in workers' compensation matters, and to Hampton Inns' attorneys. Rapp also alleges “Defendant[, through Fleming, ] spread it all over town that Rapp was a pervert, [a] thief, and derelict/incompetent in his duties[.]” (Doc. 9 at 4.) Rapp asserts the defamatory statements damaged his reputation, and that he is entitled to an award of compensatory damages.

         II Applicable Law

         A. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss

         Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) permits a party to move for dismissal where the allegations of a pleading “fail[] to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” A cause of action may be dismissed under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) either when it asserts a legal theory that is not cognizable as a matter of law, or if it fails to allege sufficient facts to support an otherwise cognizable legal claim. SmileCare Dental Group v. Delta Dental Plan of California, Inc., 88 F.3d 780, 783 (9th Cir. 1996). In addressing a Rule 12(b)(6) challenge the Court accepts all factual allegations in the complaint as true (Hospital Bldg. Co. v. Trustees of the Rex Hospital, 425 U.S. 738, 740 (1976)), and construes the pleading in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Tanner v. Heise, 879 F.2d 572, 576 (9th Cir. 1989).

         The Court's standard of review under Rule 12(b)(6) is informed by Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2) which requires that a pleading “must contain a ‘short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 677-678 (2009) (quoting Rule 8). Although Rule 8(a)(2) does not require “detailed factual allegations”, a plaintiff must set forth more than bare allegations that the defendant unlawfully harmed the plaintiff. Id. (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)).

         To survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 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.'” Ashcroft, 556 U.S. at 678. “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id.

         B. Application of Montana Law

         Because jurisdiction over this action is founded upon diversity of citizenship, the Court applies the substantive law of Montana, the forum state. Medical Laboratory Mgmt. Consultants v. American Broadcasting Companies, Inc., 306 F.3d 806, 812 (9th Cir. 2002).

         III. ...


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