United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Western Division
ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS AND
REQUIRING PLAINTIFF TO AMEND ITS COMPLAINT
J. DLOTT JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
matter is before the Court on Defendant's Federal Rule
12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint. (Doc.
16.) Plaintiff filed a memorandum in opposition to which
Defendant has replied. (Docs. 17, 18.) For the reasons set
forth below, Defendant's Motion will be DENIED at this
time, but Plaintiff must file an Amended Complaint, including
an allegation supporting this Court's jurisdiction no
later than June 7, 2018.
Total Quality Logistics, LLC (“TQL”) and
Defendant Logistic Dynamics, Inc. (“LDI”) are
competitors in the freight brokerage industry. (Complaint,
Doc. 4 at ¶ 7.) TQL provides its employees with
extensive, unique training and requires them to sign employee
non-compete agreements to protect its operational secrets and
other confidential information. (Doc. 4 at ¶¶ 10,
17.) TQL alleges that LDI knew Black, Geiselhart, and other
unnamed employees signed non-compete agreements and
intentionally induced employees to breach those agreements to
TQL's detriment. (Doc. 4 at ¶¶ 79-86.)
initiated this action in the Court of Common Pleas in
Clermont County, Ohio, but Defendants removed the case to
this Court alleging diversity jurisdiction pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1332. (Notice of Removal, Doc. 1.) TQL
originally named three Defendants: Brent Black and Matthew
Geiselhart-former TQL employees subsequently employed by
LDI-and LDI. (Doc. 4 at ¶¶ 2-4.) TQL alleged claims
for breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and
misappropriation of trade secrets against Black and
Geiselhart, and a claim for tortious interference with a
contractual relationship against LDI. (Doc. 4 at ¶¶
37-86.) However, TQL voluntarily dismissed with prejudice all
claims against Black (Doc. 9), and it is does not appear that
Geiselhart has been served in this matter. Thus, the only
claim properly before the Court at this time is the tortious
interference claim against LDI.
LDI filed the instant Rule 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss (Doc.
16). LDI contends that Plaintiff's tortious interference
claim must be dismissed because: (1) the allegations against
LDI are conclusory and therefore fail to meet the
Twombly/Iqbal pleading standard; and (2) hiring an
individual subject to a non-compete agreement does
not-without more-amount to tortious interference with
contractual relations. (Doc. 16 at PageID 144.) Plaintiff TQL
contends that its complaint states an actionable claim
against LDI, but, in the alternative, TQL requests leave to
amend its complaint. (Doc. 17 at PageID 162-63.)
MOTION TO DISMISS
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) allows a party to move to
dismiss a complaint for “failure to state a claim upon
which relief can be granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). To
withstand a motion to dismiss, a complaint must comply with
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a), which requires “a
short and plain statement of the claim showing that the
pleader is entitled to relief.” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 677-78 (2009) (quoting Rule 8(a)).
complaint must include sufficient facts to state a claim that
is plausible on its face and not speculative. Bell
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 570
(2007). “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.” Iqbal, 556 U.S.
at 678. Mere “labels and conclusions [or] a formulaic
recitation of the elements of a cause of action” will
not suffice. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. A complaint
must contain “either direct or inferential allegations
respecting all material elements to sustain a recovery under
some viable legal theory.” DiGeronimo Aggregates,
LLC v. Zemla, 763 F.3d 506, 509 (6th Cir. 2014)
(citation omitted). However, it “does not need detailed
factual allegations” or “heightened fact pleading
of specifics.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 570.
A district court examining the sufficiency of a complaint
must accept well-pleaded facts as true, but not legal
conclusions or legal conclusions couched as factual
allegations. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678-79;
DiGeronimo Aggregates, 763 F.3d at 509.
based upon information and belief are appropriate only
“where a complaint contains supporting factual
allegations.” Cassidy v. Teaching Co., LLC,
No. 2:13-CV-884, 2014 WL 1599518, at *3 (S.D. Ohio Apr. 21,
2014). A plaintiff “must plead facts that create a
permissible inference of wrongdoing.” In re
Darvocet, Darvon, & Propoxyphene Prods. Liab.
Litig., 756 F.3d 917, 931 (6th Cir. 2014) (internal
quotation and citation omitted). “The mere fact that
someone believes something to be true does not create a
plausible inference that it is true.” Id.
case at bar, TQL's single claim against LDI states, in
77. Plaintiff incorporates by reference all of the previous
paragraphs set forth in this Verified Complaint as if ...