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Newton v. Kenific Group

United States District Court, D. Maryland

October 15, 2014


For Joshua Newton, Plaintiff: Gregg Howard Mosson, Stephen B Lebau, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Lebau and Neuworth LLC, Baltimore, MD.

For The Kenific Group, Defendant: Zachary Lee Erwin, LEAD ATTORNEY, Franklin and Prokopik PC, Baltimore, MD.

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William M. Nickerson, Senior United States District Judge.

Pending before the Court is Defendant's Partial Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint. ECF No. 12. The motion is fully briefed. Upon consideration of the pleadings and applicable law, the Court determines that no hearing is necessary, Local Rule 105.6, and that Defendant's Partial Motion to Dismiss will be denied.


Plaintiff Joshua Newton alleges that Defendant, the Kenific Group, did not fulfill its promise of employment and brings this action to recover damages arising from his reliance on the proffered job. The facts, as alleged in the Complaint, are as follows.

Plaintiff began looking for new employment in October 2013 while working at Toyota Motor Credit. On October 8, Plaintiff interviewed with Defendant's representative, Kyle Brumby, where Plaintiff alleges he " made it crystal-clear" that he

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was secure in his current job and would only accept a position with Defendant if it provided greater compensation. Compl. ¶ 24, ECF No. 2. After the interview, Plaintiff received a written job offer from Defendant for a position as a Senior Program Analyst with a salary of $54,000, a start date of October 28, 2013, and instructions to complete employment forms. The written job offer also stated: " [t]he offer of employment is contingent upon successful completion of the reference background checks," " contingent upon your representation that you are not bound by the terms of any agreement with a previous employer," and " contingent upon [Plaintiff's] execution of the Company's standard employee agreement." Compl. Ex. 1 at 2-3, ECF No. 2-1.[1] The offer was further contingent on acceptance by October 16, 2013. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant did not disclose that employment was subject to any other contingencies and, instead, represented that the prospect of employment was " rock-solid." Compl. ¶ 79.

Plaintiff accepted Defendant's offer and resigned from his former job to be available on the specified start date. On October 21, Defendant informed Plaintiff that it would need to modify the start date pending government approval of Plaintiff's employment. Plaintiff alleges that prior to that date, " Defendant had not represented . . . that further review, or any other review, of Plaintiff's credentials was required." Compl. ¶ 50. At Brumby's request, Plaintiff met with Brumby again on October 24 to, allegedly, begin job training. During this meeting, Plaintiff alleges that " Brumby acted as if . . . Plaintiff had the job in hand." Compl. ¶ 57.

On October 28, Plaintiff emailed Defendant requesting information on his new start date and Defendant responded that Plaintiff would hear back the next day. Instead, Defendant did not communicate with Plaintiff until November 4, and shortly thereafter informed Plaintiff that his ré sumé was rejected by the government. Defendant thereafter allegedly " promised it was not going to leave Plaintiff 'out to dry'" and told Plaintiff he " needed to resign so that Defendant could offer him another position." Compl. ¶ ¶ 67-68. Plaintiff was " perplexed and disturbed by [this] request" and refused to resign until he was offered another position. Compl. ¶ ¶ 69-70. No replacement offer was ever made, and, in early November, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant informed him that he would not be hired.

Plaintiff initially brought this action in the Circuit Court for Baltimore County claiming negligent misrepresentation, promissory estoppel, and quantum meruit for services rendered during the interview process. Plaintiff requested both compensatory and punitive damages. Defendant, a Virginia corporation, removed the action to this Court invoking diversity jurisdiction. ECF No. 1. Defendant then filed the instant partial motion to dismiss the counts of negligent misrepresentation and promissory estoppel. ECF No. 12.


A complaint must be dismissed if it does not allege " enough facts to state a claim to relief plausible on its face." Bell A. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007). Under the plausibility standard, a complaint must contain " more than labels and conclusions" or a " formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action." Id. at 555. Rather, the complaint must be supported by factual allegations, " taken as true," that " raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Id. at 555-56.

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The Supreme Court has explained that " [t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice" to plead a claim. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009).

The plausibility standard requires that the pleader show more than a sheer possibility of success, although it does not impose a " probability requirement." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556. Instead, " [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." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 663. Thus, a court must " draw on its judicial experience and common sense" to determine whether the pleader has stated a ...

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