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Elsherif v. Mayo Clinic

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

April 5, 2019

Mohamed Elsherif, Plaintiff,
v.
Mayo Clinic and Robert J. Spinner, Defendants.

          Vytas M. Rimas, Esq., Rimas Law Firm, PLLC, counsel for Plaintiff.

          George R. Wood, Esq., Katherine Nyquist, Esq., and Stephanie D. Sarantopoulos, Esq., Littler Mendelson, PC, counsel for Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          DONOVAN W. FRANK, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         INTRODUCTION

         This matter is before the Court on a Motion to Dismiss Count X of the Amended Complaint brought by Defendant Mayo Clinic. (Doc. No. 9.) In Count X of his Amended Complaint, Plaintiff Mohamed Elsherif asserts a cause of action against Defendant Mayo Clinic for breach of contract. (Doc. No. 5.) For the reasons set forth below, the Court grants the motion.

         BACKGROUND

         In this case Plaintiff alleges twenty counts against Defendants Mayo Clinic and Richard J. Spinner related to Plaintiff's work as a Research Temporary Professional (“RTP”) in the Research Department of the Mayo Clinic, located in Rochester, Minnesota. (Doc. No. 5 (Am. Compl.) ¶¶ 2, 9; Doc. No. 7 (Defs.' Answer) ¶¶ 2, 9.) As Defendants concede, Plaintiff completed a one-month observation period as an RTP before accepting appointments for the same position for one-year terms set for approximately August 1, 2015 to July 31, 2017. (Defs.'. Answer ¶¶ 11, 12.) Plaintiff's employment with Defendants ended on July 7, 2017. (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 9, 32.)

         Count X of the Amended Complaint alleges that the parties “entered into various agreements” that imposed obligations upon Defendant Mayo Clinic with respect to the conditions of Plaintiff's employment. (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 120, 121.) Plaintiff further alleges that several policies maintained by Defendant Mayo Clinic such as its anti-discrimination policy, grievance policy, and code of conduct defined the terms and obligations of the parties' employment agreement. (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 49-54.) Each of the policies referenced in the Amended Complaint contains three similarly-worded disclaimers, including statements that the policies are “subject to change at any time.” (Doc. No. 13 (“Campbell Decl.”), Exs. 1-7.) The policies contain identical disclaimers that “[t]he contents of this policy are not intended to constitute a contract of employment, ” and that “[b]oth Mayo Clinic and the individual may terminate the employment relationship at any time.” (Campbell Decl. at 2, 5, 9, 14, 18, 21, 27, 31.)

         Defendant Mayo Clinic now moves to dismiss Plaintiff's claim for breach of contract under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).

         DISCUSSION

         I. Legal Standard

         In deciding a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), a court assumes all facts in the complaint to be true and construes all reasonable inferences from those facts in the light most favorable to the complainant. Morton v. Becker, 793 F.2d 185, 187 (8th Cir. 1986). In doing so, however, a court need not accept as true wholly conclusory allegations, Hanten v. Sch. Dist. of Riverview Gardens, 183 F.3d 799, 805 (8th Cir. 1999), or legal conclusions drawn by the pleader from the facts alleged, Westcott v. City of Omaha, 901 F.2d 1486, 1488 (8th Cir. 1990). A court may consider the complaint, matters of public record, orders, materials embraced by the complaint, and exhibits attached to the complaint in deciding a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6). Porous Media Corp. v. Pall Corp., 186 F.3d 1077, 1079 (8th Cir. 1999).

         To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 545 (2007). Although a complaint need not contain “detailed factual allegations, ” it must contain facts with enough specificity “to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Id. at 555. As the United States Supreme Court reiterated, “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, ” will not pass muster under Twombly. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). In sum, this standard “calls for enough fact[s] to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of [the claim].” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556.

         II. ...


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