United States District Court, N.D. Oklahoma
OPINION AND ORDER
TERENCE C. KERN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is Defendant's Motion to Dismiss Count Six of
Plaintiff's Complaint (“Motion to Dismiss”)
(Doc. 14) pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6) (“Rule 12(b)(6)”). For the foregoing
reasons, the Motion to Dismiss is GRANTED.
Roger Shane Pebsworth (“Plaintiff”) was employed
by Defendant Spirit AeroSystems, Inc. (“Spirit”)
from February 2010 to February 2016. (Compl. ¶ 7, Doc.
2-2.) On January 17, 2016, Plaintiff injured an ulnar nerve
at work. (Id. ¶ 9-10.) Plaintiff immediately
reported the injury to his supervisor, Bryan Waller
(“Waller”). (Id. ¶ 10.) Waller told
Plaintiff that because it was close to the end of the work
shift, he would fill out the appropriate injury reporting
forms the next day, although he never did so. (Id.
¶ 16.) Spirit later refused Plaintiff permission to
leave work to seek medical treatment. (Id.)
January 25, 2016, Waller instructed Plaintiff to attend a
meeting with Defendant Jordan C. Kentzler
(“Kentzler”), the Human Resources Supervisor.
(Id. ¶¶ 12, 47.) When Plaintiff entered
the meeting, a security guard of Spirit immediately frisked
him for weapons. (Id. ¶ 13.) Kentzler also
asked Plaintiff to sign a blank statement, which Plaintiff
refused to do. (Id.) Plaintiff repeatedly asked
Kentzler for an explanation for this treatment, but Kentzler
did not answer. Instead, Kentzler asked Plaintiff about
criminal conduct, as well as firearms and weapons that he
owned, and required Plaintiff to answer the questions.
(Id. ¶ 14.) At the end of the meeting, Kentzler
terminated Plaintiff. (Id. ¶ 14.)
3, 2016, Plaintiff filed his Petition against Spirit and
Kentzler in Creek County District Court. In his Petition,
Plaintiff alleges (1) Family and Medical Leave Act
(“FMLA”) Interference; (2) FMLA Retaliation; (3)
Assault; (4) Battery; (5) False Imprisonment; (6) Intentional
Infliction of Emotional Distress (“IIED”); and
(7) Malicious Interference with a Contractual Relationship.
(Doc. 2-2.) Counts (1) through (6) are alleged against
Spirit, and Count (7) is alleged against Kentzler.
was served with a copy of the Petition and Summons on
September 29, 2016. On October 18, 2016, Spirit timely
removed this case from Creek County District Court pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 1441. It is undisputed that this Court
has original jurisdiction over Plaintiff's FMLA claims
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331. (Id.) The Court
has supplemental jurisdiction over Plaintiff's remaining
state law claims, including the IIED claim, pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1367. (Id.) On November 15, 2016,
Spirit filed its Motion to Dismiss. (Doc. 14.)
Rule 12(b)(6) Standard
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 v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). “[T]he mere metaphysical
possibility that some plaintiff could prove
some set of facts in support of the pleaded claims
is insufficient; the complaint must give the court reason to
believe that this plaintiff has a reasonable
likelihood of mustering factual support for these
claims.” Ridge at Red Hawk, LLC v. Schneider,
493 F.3d 1174, 1177 (10th Cir. 2007) (emphasis in original).
Tenth Circuit has interpreted “plausibility” to
“refer to the scope of the allegations in a
complaint” rather than to mean “likely to be
true.” Robbins v. Okla. ex rel. Okla. Dep't of
Human Servs., 519 F.3d 1242, 1247 (10th Cir. 2008).
Thus, “if [allegations] are so general that they
encompass a wide swath of conduct, much of it innocent, then
the plaintiffs have not nudged their claims across the line
from conceivable to plausible.” Id. (internal
quotations omitted). “The allegations must be enough
that, if assumed to be true, the plaintiff plausibly (not
just speculatively) has a claim for relief.”
Id. “This requirement of plausibility serves
not only to weed out claims that do not (in the absence of
additional allegations) have a reasonable prospect of
success, but also to inform the defendants of the actual
grounds of the claim against them.” Id. at
1248. In considering a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6),
the Court generally may not consider facts outside of those
alleged in the complaint.
Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress
recognizes IIED as an independent tort. Eddy v.
Brown, 715 P.2d 74, 76 (Okla. 1986). In order to state a
claim for IIED, a plaintiff must allege facts showing: (1)
the defendant's conduct was intentional or reckless; (2)
the defendant's conduct was extreme and outrageous; (3)
the defendant's conduct caused the plaintiff to suffer
emotional distress; and (4) the plaintiff's emotional
distress was severe. Daemi v. Church's Fried Chicken,
Inc., 931 F.2d 1379, 1387 (10th Cir. 1991) (applying
Oklahoma law). IIED does not provide redress for every
invasion of emotional serenity or every anti-social act that
may produce hurt feelings. Miller v. Miller, 956
P.2d 887, 900 (Okla. 1998). Rather, the emotional distress
must be so severe that no reasonable person could be expected
to endure it. See Robbins Motorsports, L.L.C. v.
Nat'l Fire & Marine Ins. Co., No. CIV-10-245,
2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59365, *12-13 (N.D. Okla. June 3, 2011)
(internal citations omitted).
law directs the district court to act as a
“gatekeeper” and make an initial determination
about the outrageousness of the defendant's conduct, as
well as whether severe emotional distress can be found,
before sending the claim to a jury. See Bingaman v.
Spirit Aerosystems, Inc., No. 14-CV-677-GKF, 2015 U.S.
Dist. LEXIS 183267, at *7 (N.D Okla. Feb. 4, 2015)
(evaluating a motion to dismiss); Johnson v. ORS Nasco,
LLC, No. 13-CV-777-JED, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 197073, *1
(N.D. Okla. Sept. 30, 2014) (evaluating a motion to dismiss).
To satisfy the “extreme and outrageous” element,
a plaintiff must prove the defendant's conduct was so
extreme and outrageous as to be beyond all possible bounds of
decency. Eddy, 715 P.2d at 77 (“Conduct which,
though unreasonable, is neither beyond all possible bounds of
decency in the setting in which it occurred, nor is one that
can be ...