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Miami Valley Paper LLC v. Lebbing Engineering & Consulting GMBH

July 20, 2006

MIAMI VALLEY PAPER LLC, PLAINTIFF,
v.
LEBBING ENGINEERING & CONSULTING GMBH, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: S. Arthur Spiegel United States Senior District Judge

OPINION AND ORDER

This matter is before the Court on Defendant's Motion to Dismiss (doc. 9), Plaintiff's Memorandum in Opposition (doc. 15), Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File a second Amended Complaint (doc. 16), and Defendant's Response to Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Amend (doc. 17).

RELEVANT FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

The facts in this case are as follows. The Plaintiff, Miami Valley Paper LLC (hereinafter "MVP"), is a Delaware company with its principal place of business in Franklin, Ohio (Doc. 9). The Defendant, Lebbing Engineering & Consulting GMBH (hereinafter "Lebbing"), is a German limited liability company with its principal place of business in Germany (Id.). In the Spring of 2003, MVP entered into a contract to purchase a used paper winder for $155,000.00 from Lebbing to use at their Franklin, Ohio facility (Id.). MVP specified the desired model and Lebbing subsequently shipped the winder to the United States (Id.).

MVP made partial payments on the winder until the item was received, at which point they ceased payments (Id.). MVP claims that the winder did not conform to the requested specifications (doc. 15). Upon receiving the winder, MVP notified Lebbing that they rejected the machine (Id.). Then, MVP sold the winder at public auction for $1,000 to one of its affiliates (Id.). MVP claims it spent an additional $1,000 to have the winder auctioned (Id.).

Plaintiff filed its initial Complaint on October 28, 2005, which stated Lebbing's principal place of business as New Jersey (doc. 1). On January 25, 2006 Plaintiff amended their Complaint, changing Lebbing's principal place of business to Germany (doc. 4). Before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File an Amended Complaint, alleging five causes of action: 1) breach of express warranty; 2) breach of warranty of fitness for a particular purpose; 3) unjust enrichment; 4) fraudulent inducement; and 5) negligent misrepresentation (Id.). MVP alleges damages for payments made on the deficient winder as well as additional costs incurred in selling the winder pursuant to relevant Ohio law (Id.).

APPLICABLE LEGAL STANDARD

A motion to dismiss pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) requires the Court to determine whether a cognizable claim has been pleaded in the complaint. The basic federal pleading requirement is contained in Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a), which states that, a pleading "shall contain . . . a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Westlake v. Lucas, 537 F.2d 857, 858 (6th Cir. 1976). In its scrutiny of the complaint, the Court must construe all well-pleaded facts liberally in favor of the party opposing the motion. Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236, 94 S.Ct. 1683, 1687 (1974)(overruled on other grounds). Rule 8(a)(2) operates to provide the defendant with "fair notice of what plaintiff's claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47, 78 S.Ct. 99 (1957). A court examines a complaint in light of the objectives of Rule 8 using the standard articulated in Jones v. Sherrill, 827 F.2d 1102, 1103 (6th Cir. 1987): In reviewing a dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6), the court must accept as true all factual allegations in the complaint. Windsor v. The Tennessean, 719 F.2d 155, 158 (6th Cir. 1983), cert. denied, 469 U.S. 826 (1984). The motion to dismiss must be denied unless it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of the claim which would entitle her to relief. Id. at 158; Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41 (1957).

Jones, 824 F.2d at 1103.

The admonishment to liberally construe the plaintiff's claim when evaluating a Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal does not relieve a plaintiff of his obligation to satisfy federal notice pleading requirements and allege more than bare assertions of legal conclusions. Wright, Miller & Cooper, Federal Practice and Procedure: § 1357 at 596 (1969). "In practice, a complaint . . . must contain either direct or inferential allegations respecting all of the material elements [in order] to sustain a recovery under some viable legal theory." Car Carriers, Inc. v. Ford Motor Co., 745 F.2d 1101, 1106 (7th Cir. 1984), cert. denied, 470 U.S. 1054 (1985) (quoting In Re: Plywood Antitrust Litigation, 655 F.2d 627, 641 (5th Cir. 1981), cert. dismissed, 462 U.S. 1125 (1983)); see also Sutliffe, Inc. v. Donovan Companies, Inc., 727 F.2d 648, 654 (7th Cir. 1984); Wright, Miller & Cooper, Federal Practice and Procedure: § 1216 at 121-23 (1969). The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit clarified the threshold set for a Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal:

[W]e are not holding the pleader to an impossibly high standard; we recognize the policies behind Rule 8 and the concept of notice pleading. A plaintiff will not be thrown out of court for failing to plead facts in support of every arcane element of his claim. But when a complaint omits facts that, if they existed, would clearly dominate the case, it seems fair to assume that those facts do not exist.

Scheid v. Fanny Farmer Candy Shops, Inc., 859 F.2d 434, 437 (6th Cir. 1988).

LAW AND DISCUSSION

Lebbing argues, in its Motion to Dismiss (doc. 9), that the contract disputes between the Parties are governed by the Convention on the International Sale of Goods ("CISG"), which MVP did not identify in their Amended Complaint (Id.). Therefore, Lebbing argues, MVP's contract claims are preempted by the CISG Treaty which applies to contracts between parties whose places of business ...


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