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Anheuser-Busch, LLC v. Atlas Industrial Holdings, LLC

United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Eastern Division

September 6, 2017


          Vascura Magistrate Judge.



         This matter is before the Court upon Plaintiff Anheuser-Busch, LLC's Motion to Dismiss Defendant Atlas Industrial Holdings, LLC's Counterclaim (Doc. 18). Defendant opposed Plaintiff's Motion (Doc. 24) and Plaintiff replied in support (Doc. 26). This matter is now ripe for review. For the following reasons, Defendant's Motion is DENIED in part and GRANTED in part.

         I. BACKGROUND

         This lawsuit arises out of work Atlas Industrial Holdings, LLC (“Atlas”) performed at an Anheuser-Busch, LLC (“Anheuser-Busch”) brewery in Columbus. The parties contracted for the work under a document called the “Master Project Agreement.” (See Doc. 1-1, Master Project Agreement). Atlas agreed with Anheuser-Busch to remove rusted angle iron and obsolete brackets from a can pasteurizer. (Doc. 1, Compl. at ¶¶ 19-20). Unfortunately, while Atlas was performing the contractually agreed-upon work, Anheuser-Busch alleges an Atlas employee negligently used an acetylene torch and started a fire, causing damage to the brewery building and the products and materials in the building. (Id. at ¶¶ 2, 27, 34). Ultimately, Anheuser-Busch submitted a claim to its insurance company, Lexington Insurance Company, but Lexington's coverage decision is not available to this Court.

         Anheuser-Busch's lawsuit seeks damages against Atlas for its allegedly negligent actions and for breach of contract. Atlas's counterclaim asks for declaratory judgment against Anheuser-Busch, alleging that Anheuser-Busch was contractually responsible for “procur[ing] a separate All Risk Bui[l]der's Risk policy or (2) rely[ing] on its existing all-risk property insurance policy.” (Doc. 8, Answer and Countercl. at ¶ 75). Accordingly, Atlas asks the Court to affirmatively rule that Anheuser-Busch is liable for some or all of the damages suffered because Anheuser-Busch either failed to obtain an adequate insurance policy or that Anheuser-Busch's insurance policy with Lexington Insurance is responsible for the payment of damages arising from the fire. Anheuser-Busch now moves to dismiss Atlas' Counterclaim because Anheuser-Busch alleges the Counterclaim is not yet ripe and because Anheuser-Busch alleges the Master Project Agreement did not require Anheuser-Busch to obtain insurance for the work Atlas performed.


         Anheuser-Busch brings this motion pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, alleging that Atlas failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.

         Under the Federal Rules, any pleading that states a claim for relief must contain a “short and plain statement of the claim” showing that the pleader is entitled to such relief. Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). To meet this standard, a party must allege sufficient facts to state a claim that is “plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). A claim will be considered “plausible on its face” when a plaintiff sets forth “factual content that allows 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).

         Rule 12(b)(6) allows parties to challenge the sufficiency of a complaint under the foregoing standards. In considering whether a complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, the Court must “construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, accept its allegations as true, and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff.” Ohio Police & Fire Pension Fund v. Standard & Poor's Fin. Servs. LLC, 700 F.3d 829, 835 (6th Cir. 2012) (quoting Directv, Inc. v. Treesh, 487 F.3d 471, 476 (6th Cir. 2007)). However, “the tenet that a court must accept a complaint's allegations as true is inapplicable to threadbare recitals of a cause of action's elements, supported by mere conclusory statements.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 663. Thus, while a court is to afford plaintiff every inference, the pleading must still contain facts sufficient to “provide a plausible basis for the claims in the complaint”; a recitation of facts intimating the “mere possibility of misconduct” will not suffice. Flex Homes, Inc. v. Ritz-Craft Corp of Mich., Inc., 491 F. App'x 628, 632 (6th Cir. 2012); Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679.


         The Master Project Agreement has a section called “Builder's Risk Property Insurance” which Atlas alleges required Anheuser-Busch to obtain adequate insurance coverage for the damage caused in this case. Anheuser-Busch argues that the Builder's Risk Coverage provision in the Master Project Agreement does not apply here and thus, Atlas's counterclaim has no merit. Anheuser-Busch further argues that it did get the coverage required by the Master Project Agreement and that the counterclaim is not ripe.

         The Court will address each of Anheuser-Busch's arguments in turn.

         A. ...

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