United States District Court, D. Maryland
James K. Bredar United States District Judge
Plaintiff Thomas Glass pro se filed this case alleging wrongful termination and defamation in the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County against his former employer, Ryder Integrated Logistic Corporation, and Beth Teague, Ryder’s Senior Logistics Manager. (Compl., ECF No. 2.) After removal based upon diversity jurisdiction (Notice of Removal, ECF No. 1), Defendants filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim (ECF No. 9). In addition to that pending motion, Glass has also filed a “motion to joinder of Defendant’s party” (ECF No. 16), a motion to amend his complaint (ECF No. 18), and an amended motion to amend his complaint (ECF No. 22). The motions have been briefed (ECF Nos. 23 & 24), and no hearing is required, Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2014). Defendant’s motion will be granted and Plaintiff’s motions will be denied.
II. Standard of Dismissal for Failure to State a Claim
A complaint must contain “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 Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). Facial plausibility exists “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 678. An inference of a mere possibility of misconduct is not sufficient to support a plausible claim. Id. at 679. As the Twombly opinion stated, “Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” 550 U.S. at 555. “A pleading that offers ‘labels and conclusions’ or ‘a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.’ . . . Nor does a complaint suffice if it tenders ‘naked assertion[s]’ devoid of ‘further factual enhancement.’” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 557). Although when considering a motion to dismiss a court must accept as true all factual allegations in the complaint, this principle does not apply to legal conclusions couched as factual allegations. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555.
III. Standard for Motion to Amend
A motion for permission to amend the complaint is governed by Rule 15(a), which directs the Court to “freely give leave when justice so requires.” The Fourth Circuit has stated that leave to amend under Rule 15(a) should be denied only in three situations: when the opposing party would be prejudiced, when the amendment is sought in bad faith, or when the proposed amendment would be futile. Laber v. Harvey, 438 F.3d 404, 426 (4th Cir. 2006). A proposed amendment is considered futile if it cannot withstand a motion to dismiss. Perkins v. United States, 55 F.3d 910, 917 (4th Cir. 1995).
IV. Allegations of the Complaint
According to Glass’s complaint, he was employed with Ryder from March 28, 2015, to on or about August 10, 2015, when he was discharged. (Compl. ¶ 4.) (From other documents in the file, the Court notes Glass was apparently employed as a vehicle operator. See exhibits attached to proposed amended complaint. ECF No. 18.) The operative paragraphs of his complaint state as follows:
7. Plaintiff believes and on the basis alleges, that the discharge occurred as a result of operating the company vehicle to a assigned [sic] destination, during the course of operations, the vehicle caught fire prior to reaching the assigned destination.
8. Plaintiff alleges that the discharge was for reasons unrelated to the employment contract. Furthermore, the termination of plaintiff’s employment was a constructive event which lead [sic] to constructive termination, defamation with intent to damage the plaintiff’s reputation post termination, terminating the plaintiff’s employment was in contravention of the employment contract.
(Compl. ¶¶ 7 & 8.)
For ample reason, Defendants assert Glass’s complaint fails to state a claim for relief. All that the Court can gather from the complaint is that Glass worked for Ryder, he was driving a company vehicle to an assigned destination, his vehicle caught fire, and Ryder discharged him. The complaint is devoid of factual allegations that would permit the Court to infer Glass’s discharge was wrongful. It is also completely lacking in factual allegations to support a claim of defamation. Furthermore, he has made no factual allegations that ...