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Rituraj Singh Panwar v. Access Therapies

January 28, 2013

RITURAJ SINGH PANWAR, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ACCESS THERAPIES, INC, RN STAFF INC, RAMON VILLEGAS, DEFENDANTS. RN STAFF INC, COUNTER CLAIMANT,
v.
RITURAJ SINGH PANWAR, COUNTER DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Tanya Walton Pratt, Judge United States District Court

ORDER ON MOTION TO DISMISS

This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff Rituraj Singh Panwar's ("Mr. Panwar") Motion to Dismiss RN Staff Inc.'s ("RN Staff") Counterclaim (Dkt. 49). RN Staff's counterclaim alleges that Mr. Panwar's Amended Complaint constitutes an abuse of process because the allegations were for the purpose of circumventing the administrative process required by the Immigration and Nationality Act ("INA"). (Dkt. 44). For the reasons stated below, Mr. Panwar's motion to dismiss RN Staff's counterclaim (Dkt. 49) is GRANTED.

I.BACKGROUND

Mr. Panwar, on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, filed this lawsuit against RN Staff and other defendants for breach of contract, violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act ("RICO"), violations of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act ("TVPA"), violations of Indiana statutory wage law and common law claims. (Dkt. 1). After being terminated from his employment, following the filing of this lawsuit, Mr. Panwar filed an Amended Complaint, adding a claim under the Fair Labor Standards Practices Act's ("FLSA") anti-retaliation provision. (Dkt. 16).

Mr. Panwar is a citizen of India who worked for RN Staff under an H-1B visa, which enables corporations in the United States to hire foreign skilled labor. Mr. Panwar alleges that the defendants were involved in a scheme to defraud H-1B employees of wages that the federal government requires defendants to pay under the H-1B visa program. Rather than bringing his claims under the INA, Mr. Panwar alleges breach of contract and violations of wage statutes, RICO and the TVPA.

RN Staff filed an amended answer to Mr. Panwar's Amended Complaint, asserting a counterclaim for abuse of process. (Dkt. 44). The counterclaim alleges that "Panwar's allegations against RN Staff were made for the purpose of circumventing the administrative procedures and remedies of the Immigration and Nationality Act and its applicable rules and regulations." Dkt. 44 at 27 ¶ 7. RN Staff argues that Mr. Panwar's claims require adjudication under the INA, which requires exhaustion of administrative remedies prior to filing an action in district court; therefore, RN Staff argues, the claims in Mr. Panwar's Amended Complaint are an improper use of process.

II.LEGAL STANDARD

When reviewing a 12(b)(6) motion, the Court takes all well-pleaded allegations in the complaint as true and draws all inferences in favor of the non-moving party. Bielanski v. Cnty. of Kane, 550 F.3d 632, 633 (7th Cir. 2008) (citations omitted). However, the allegations must "give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests" and the "[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Pisciotta v. Old Nat'l Bancorp, 499 F.3d 629, 633 (7th Cir. 2007) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). Stated differently, the complaint must include "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Hecker v. Deere & Co., 556 F.3d 575, 580 (7th Cir. 2009) (citations omitted). To be facially plausible, the complaint must allow "the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citation omitted). Pleadings consisting of no more than mere ...


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