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Cleveland Clinic Foundation v. Studer

United States District Court, Sixth Circuit

May 29, 2013

THE CLEVELAND CLINIC FOUNDATION, Plaintiff,
v.
QUINTON D. STUDER, et al., Defendants.

OPINION AND ORDER

CHRISTOPHER A. BOYKO, District Judge.

This matter comes before the Court upon the Motion (ECF DKT #8) of Defendants, Quinton D. Studer and Barry G. Porter, to Dismiss. For the following reasons, the Motion is denied.

I. BACKGROUND

Case No. 1:10CV1957 was originally filed in this Court on September 2, 2010. Plaintiff Studer Group, filed its First Amended Complaint on September 29, 2010, seeking declaratory relief against Cleveland Clinic Foundation ("CCF"); and alleging that in 2006, Studer Group and CCF entered into a Strategic Alliance Agreement, granting Studer Group the exclusive right to market, distribute, license and service CCF's Discharge Callback Program. After the Agreement terminated by its own terms, Studer Group developed its Patient Call Manager Product. Studer Group alleges CCF is asserting that Studer Group's product infringes CCF's intellectual property rights. Studer Group is seeking a Declaratory Judgment, declaring the parties' rights under the Strategic Alliance Agreement regarding intellectual property, and declaring ownership of the Patient Call Manager Product.

On October 18, 2010, CCF filed its Answer to the First Amended Complaint and Counterclaims. CCF seeks an accounting and alleges, against Studer Group, Copyright Infringement; Trade Secret Misappropriation; Breach of Contract; Conversion; Unfair Competition under the Lanham Act and common law; and violation of the Ohio Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

On August 3, 2012, CCF filed the above-captioned Complaint against Quinton D. Studer and Barry G. Porter, who are alleged to be co-owners, managing members, and/or officers of Studer Group. This Complaint was likewise assigned to the docket of this Court. The Complaint repeats the facts, nearly verbatim, of CCF's Counterclaims filed in the previous matter, and alleges joint and several liability of these individuals for claims of Trade Secret Misappropriation, Copyright Infringement, Constructive Trust, and Unjust Enrichment regarding the Discharge Callback Program.

In their Motion to Dismiss (ECF DKT #8), Studer and Porter argue that CCF's claims are compulsory counterclaims which should have been brought in the prior action. In the alternative, Studer and Porter contend that the Court should dismiss Count I of CCF's Complaint because the Ohio Trade Secret Act is preempted by the Copyright Act of 1976.

II. LAW AND ANALYSIS

Civil Rule 12(b)(6) Standard

In deciding a motion to dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), the court must accept as true all of the factual allegations contained in the complaint. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93-94 (2007). The court need not, however, accept conclusions of law as true:

Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2), a pleading must contain a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." As the Court held in [ Bell Atlantic v. ] Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 127 S.Ct. 1955 [(2007)], the pleading standard Rule 8 announces does not require "detailed factual allegations, " but it demands more than an unadorned, the-Defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation. Id. at 555. A pleading that offers "labels and conclusions" or "a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Id. at 555. Nor does a complaint suffice if it tenders "naked assertion[s]" devoid of "further factual enhancement." Id. at 557.
To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to "state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Id. at 570. A claim has facial plausibility when the Plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the Defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged. Id. at 556. The plausibility standard is not akin to a "probability requirement, " but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a Defendant has acted unlawfully. Id. Where a complaint pleads facts that are "merely consistent with" a Defendant's liability, it "stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief.'" Id. at 557.

Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).

According to the Sixth Circuit, the standard described in Twombly and Iqbal "obliges a pleader to amplify a claim with some factual allegations in those contexts where such amplification is needed to render the claim plausible. " Weisbarth v. Geauga Park Dist., 499 F.3d 538, 541 (6th ...


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