PITTSBURGH — University Veterinary Specialists LLC (UVS) has filed a motion to dismiss a staff manager’s wrongful termination complaint, citing lack of factual elements and subject matter jurisdiction.

On June 20, the defendants, UVS and its founders. Dr. Apryle and Anthony Horbal, filed the motion against a lawsuit filed by Rory Lubold, former UVS co-chief veterinary medical officer. The motion describes some of the allegations against the defendants "immaterial, impertinent and scandalous."

Lubold filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania against the defendants for wrongful termination and unpaid severance pay on April 19. He claims the defendants allegedly failed to provide a valid reason for his termination and had violated the employee agreement and Pennsylvania's Wage Payment and Collection Law for not issuing his severance.

In his claim, Luboid also made inflammatory comments against Anthony Horbal, stating that "'Horbal is (sic) convicted felon, a fact Dr. Lubold did not learn until recently’” and included details of his employment and litigation histories.

According to the motion, Lubold’s claims regarding the defendant’s past are irrelevant and was included to embarrass him and as an attempt to cloud the case at hand. The motion requests the parts pertaining to Anthony Horbal's past be stricken if the claim is not dismissed due to their relevancy.

The motion states Lubold’s allegations are not enough to substantiate whether or not his termination was unwarranted and intended to cause him harm or prove a breach of contract occurred. Lubold also fails to prove the level of involvement Apryle Horbal had in the decisions that led to his dismissal and denial of his severance pay, according to the defense’s memorandum.  

It is further argued Lubold’s own allegations rebut his claims of wrongful termination. In his complaint, Lubold state Anthony Horbal listed “failure to perform” and “poor work ethic” as the basis for his termination.

Moreover, the defense refers to a text message Lubold states he allegedly received from Anthony Horbal complaining about his frequent vacationing and suggesting the two should talk and discuss Lubold’s “future at UVS.” The motion concludes that a combination of poor job performance, lack of work ethic and absences from work were the reasons the defendants cut ties with Lubold.   

An argument concerning subject matter jurisdiction was also brought forth. Lubold filed his complaint to a district court in Pennsylvania but he allegedly is still domiciled in Arizona and was only taking residence in Pennsylvania for his position at UVS.

Although Lubold contends he still resides in Arizona, according to the motion, but because he intended to reside in Pennsylvania and filed his claim in-state, the diversity statute does not apply and the court does not have jurisdiction over the proceedings because of it. The defendants are represented by Jamie L. Lenzi of Cipriani & Werner P.C. and Catherine Pastrikos Kelly of Meyner and Landis LLP. 

U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania case number 2:17-cv-00487-MRH

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