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Prieur v. Acuity

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

November 3, 2015

JOSHUA PRIEUR, Plaintiff,
v.
ACUITY, Defendant

          For Joshua Prieur, Plaintiff: Marshall D. Lasser, Southfield, MI.

         For Acuity, A Mutual Insurance Company, Defendant: Kathleen H. Klaus, Maddin, Hauser, Southfield, MI.

         OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS

         Honorable LINDA V. PARKER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This diversity jurisdiction action arises from Plaintiff's claim for Michigan workers' compensation benefits and Defendant's request during the processing of the claim that Plaintiff attend an independent medical examination (" IME" ).[1] In his Complaint,

Page 671

filed July 17, 2015, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant twice committed the tort of false imprisonment by requiring him to attend an IME or risk losing his workers' compensation benefits.[2] Presently before the Court is Defendant's motion to dismiss, filed pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) on August 13, 2015. The motion has been fully briefed. The Court finds the facts and legal arguments sufficiently presented in the parties' pleadings and therefore is dispensing with oral argument pursuant to Eastern District of Michigan Local Rule 7.1(f). For the reasons that follow, the Court is granting Defendant's motion.

         I. Applicable Standard

         A motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) tests the legal sufficiency of the complaint. RMI Titanium Co. v. Westinghouse Elec. Corp., 78 F.3d 1125, 1134 (6th Cir. 1996). 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." To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint need not contain " detailed factual allegations," but it must contain more than " labels and conclusions" or " a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action . . .." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007) . A complaint does not " suffice if it tenders 'naked assertions' devoid of 'further factual enhancement.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557).

         As the Supreme Court provided in Iqbal and Twombly, " [t]o survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). " 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. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). The plausibility standard " does not impose a probability requirement at the pleading stage; it simply calls for enough facts to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of illegal [conduct]." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556.

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          In deciding whether the plaintiff has set forth a " plausible" claim, the court must accept the factual allegations in the complaint as true. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94, 127 S.Ct. 2197, 167 L.Ed.2d 1081 (2007). This presumption, however, is not applicable to legal conclusions. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 668. Therefore, " [t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).

         II. Factual Background

         According to Plaintiff's Complaint, he suffered traumatic brain injury in a work-related accident and his employer was insured for Michigan workers' compensation benefits by Defendant. (ECF No. 1 ¶ ¶ 2, 3.) Plaintiff alleges that Defendant sent letters to Plaintiff on October 8, 2013 and November 13, 2013, requesting that he submit to an examination by psychologist Dr. Rhonda Levy-Larson on November 13 and 26, 2013. ( Id. ¶ 6.) The letters advised Plaintiff: " Your failure to appear for this examination could substantially affect your right to workers' compensation benefits." ( Id. ) Plaintiff alleges that Defendant routinely uses such language when requesting that claimants undergo examinations. ( Id. ¶ 5.)

         Michigan's Workers' Disability Compensation Act provides that if a claimant refuses to submit to or obstructs an employer's or carrier's requested examination of the claimant by a physician or surgeon, the claimant's right to compensation will be suspended and, during the period of suspension, may be forfeited. Mich. Comp. Laws § 418.385. Plaintiff contends that Dr. Levy-Larson ...


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