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Sepulveda v. Ford Motor Co.

United States District Court, D. Colorado

June 26, 2015

SYLVIA ALICIA SEPULVEDA, Plaintiff,
v.
FORD MOTOR COMPANY, Defendant.

ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS

CHRISTINE M. ARGUELLO, District Judge.

Although Plaintiff filed her Amended Complaint in violation of Fed.R.Civ.P. 15, the Court elects to consider it and, thus, Defendant's Motion to Strike Plaintiff's Amended Complaint (Doc. # 21) is denied. Further, because Colorado's applicable statute of limitations bars Plaintiff's claim, Defendant's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Amended Complaint (Doc. # 25) is granted, and its Motion to Dismiss (Doc. # 6) is denied as moot.

I. BACKGROUND

On February 4, 2013, Plaintiff was driving a 2012 Ford Fiesta, VIN 3FADP4EJ9CM219908, in Fort Collins, Colorado. (Doc. # 1 at 1.) While driving the Ford Fiesta, Plaintiff was involved in a car accident. ( Id. ) Plaintiff claims that due to an air bag defect, she sustained severe injuries. ( Id. ) On March 20, 2015, Plaintiff filed a Complaint. ( Id. ) On March 24, 2015, Defendant filed a Motion to Dismiss; Plaintiff responded on May 5, 2015, and Defendant replied on May 18, 2015. (Doc. ## 6, 10, 13.) On May 27, 2015, Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint, to which Defendant filed a Motion to Strike. (Doc. ## 16, 21.) On June 16, 2015, Defendant filed a Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Amended Complaint. (Doc. # 25.) Plaintiff did not file a response.[1]

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a claim may be dismissed due to the plaintiff's "failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." A dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) may be based on the lack of a cognizable legal theory or on the absence of sufficient facts alleged under a cognizable legal theory. See id.; see also Golan v. Ashcroft, 310 F.Supp.2d 1215, 1217 (D. Colo. 2004). The Rule 12(b)(6) standard tests "the sufficiency of the allegations within the four corners of the complaint after taking those allegations as true." Mobley v. McCormick, 40 F.3d 337, 340 (10th Cir. 1994).

Additionally, under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2), a pleading must contain a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." This pleading standard "does not require detailed factual allegations, but it demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation. A pleading that offers labels and conclusions or a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 677-78 (2009) (quoting and citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted; alterations incorporated).

Further, "only a complaint that states a plausible claim for relief survives a motion to dismiss [under Rule 12(b)(6)]. Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief will... be a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense. But where the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged-but it has not shown-that the pleader is entitled to relief." Id. at 679 (quotation marks omitted).

The purpose of this pleading requirement is two-fold: "to ensure that a defendant is placed on notice of his or her alleged misconduct sufficient to prepare an appropriate defense, and to avoid ginning up the costly machinery associated with our civil discovery regime on the basis of a largely groundless claim." Kan. Penn Gaming, LLC v. Collins, 656 F.3d 1210, 1214 (10th Cir. 2011) (internal quotation marks omitted).

III. DISCUSSION

A. PLAINTIFF'S AMENDED COMPLAINT

Defendant contends that Plaintiff's Amended Complaint must be stricken because it violated Fed.R.Civ.P. 15. Rule 15 allows a party to amend its pleading once as a matter of course within twenty-one days after serving it, with the opposing party's written consent, or by leave of the Court when justice so requires. Fed. R Civ. P. 15(1)(B), (2).

As noted above, Plaintiff filed a Complaint on March 20, 2015. (Doc. # 1.) On May 27, 2015-more than two months later-Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint without Defendant's written consent or leave of the Court. (Doc. # 16.) While Defendant is technically correct that Plaintiff's Amended Complaint should be stricken, in light of Plaintiff's pro se status, the fact that the Amended Complaint does not materially impact the Court's disposition of Defendant's Motion to Dismiss, and courts should freely give leave to amend a pleading, the Court elects to consider Plaintiff's Amended Complaint. See Pierce v. Amaranto, 276 F.Appx. 788, 792 (10th Cir. 2008) ("[W]hile it is true that courts construe a pro se plaintiff's filings liberally, this court has repeatedly insisted that pro se parties follow the same rules of procedure that govern other litigants.") (citation and internal quotation marks omitted); but see Murray v. Archambo, 132 F.3d 609, 612 (10th ...


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