Third Circuit dismisses pizzeria driver's complaint against former employer for lack of standing

By Nicholas Malfitano | May 4, 2017

PHILADELPHIA – A trio of judges from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit have upheld a prior District Court ruling and dismissed the complaint of a former pizza delivery driver against his employer, for lack of basis and standing.

On May 2, Judges Michael A. Chagares, Thomas I. Vanaskie and Cheryl Ann Krause ruled to dismiss Philadelphia resident Jason Brown’s complaint against his former employer, Pete Filopoulous of Pete’s Pizza, also located in Philadelphia.

Brown appealed from the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania’s order dismissing his action as frivolous for not meeting the requirements of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a). As the federal appellate judiciary believed Brown’s appeal presented no substantial question, they chose to uphold the District Court’s judgment.

Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a), a complaint “must provide a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” According to that same rule, “a complaint’s factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.”

“The District Court properly concluded that Brown’s complaint does not meet this standard. Rather, the complaint contains only a one-sentence conclusory accusation regarding ‘peonage work ethics’ and ‘forced labor’ that is so vague that it does not suggest Brown is entitled to relief,” the Third Circuit said in its analysis.

The Third Circuit added dismissal of a complaint is warranted, if it fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, one that is “plausible on its face.” In that same vein, the appellate court labeled Brown’s complaint as “vague and implausible on its face.”

The Third Circuit judges termed Brown’s claims as “a jumbled amalgam of unsupported accusations” against Filopoulous – the owner of a pizza shop where Brown formerly worked as a delivery driver. Among his claims, Brown accused Filopoulous of “being a trade secret thief operating in syndication” with a divinity complex, who operated legacy systems to “structure misrepresentation, fraud, incompetence, dissatisfaction, coercion, disrespect, fault, error, and discrimination.”

“These arguments reinforce the failure of the complaint to state any viable claim. In addition, the District Court did not err in concluding that allowing Brown to amend his complaint would be futile. Brown’s implausible allegations underscore that it would be pointless to allow him to amend. For these reasons, we conclude that this appeal presents no substantial question. Accordingly, we will summarily affirm the District Court’s order dismissing Brown’s complaint. Brown’s motion for a hearing is denied,” the Third Circuit said.

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit case 17-1016

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania case 2:16-cv-06349

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at

Want to get notified whenever we write about U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ?

Sign-up Next time we write about U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, we'll email you a link to the story. You may edit your settings or unsubscribe at any time.

Organizations in this Story

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

More News

The Record Network