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Marshall Investments v. Krones

May 10, 2013

MARSHALL INVESTMENTS CORPORATION, PLAINTIFF,
v.
KRONES, INC., AND KRONES A.G., IN RE: LE-NATURE'S INC. DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Ambrose, Senior District Judge

OPINION and

ORDER OF COURT

The Defendants, Krones, Inc., and Krones A.G., filed a Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Amended Complaint and Brief in Support based on the American Rule. (ECF Nos. 573-574).*fn1

Plaintiff has filed an Opposition thereto (ECF No. 577) and Defendants have filed a Reply Brief (ECF No. 580). After careful consideration of the submissions of the parties and based on my reasoning set forth below, I find that Defendants' Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 573) is granted.

I. STANDARD OF REVIEW

Defendants filed their Motion to Dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure -- Failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. When deciding whether to grant or deny a 12(b)(6) motion the Supreme Court has held:

While a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff=s obligation to provide the grounds of his entitlement to relief requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do. Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level, on the assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true (even if doubtful in fact).

Bell Atlantic Co. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (cites and footnote omitted)(emphasis added); see also, Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 234 (3d Cir. 2008) (a plaintiff=s factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level).

In Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937 (2009), the Supreme Court held, A. . . a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face. 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, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (citations omitted).

In Iqbal, the Court specifically highlighted the two principles which formed the basis of the Twombly decision: First, for the purposes of a motion to dismiss, courts must accept as true all factual allegations set forth in the complaint, but courts are not bound to accept as true any legal conclusions couched as factual allegations. Id. at 1949-1950. See also, Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203 (3d Cir. 2009). Second, a complaint will only survive a motion to dismiss if it states a plausible claim for relief, which requires a court to engage in a context-specific task, drawing on the court's judicial experience and common sense. Id. at 1950. Where well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged B but has not shown B the complainant is entitled to relief. Id., citing, F.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2).

II. CHOICE OF LAW

The underlying lawsuit was originally filed in Wisconsin. Plaintiff is located in Minnesota and does not concede that Wisconsin law applies, but for purposes of this motion Plaintiff asserts that the choice of law does not matter because both Wisconsin and Minnesota recognize the third party litigation rule. (ECF No. 577, p. 7., n. 2). As a result, Plaintiff cites to mostly Wisconsin law. (ECF No. 577). I agree with Plaintiff that for the issues herein, the choice of law does not matter.

III. LEGAL DISCUSSION*fn2

Plaintiff has brought this litigation to recovery its attorneys' fees in defending other lawsuits brought against it. (ECF No. 574). Defendants argue that Plaintiff's Complaint should be dismissed based on the "American Rule." Id. The "American Rule" provides that attorneys' fees generally are not recoverable unless a statute or an agreement between the parties provides otherwise. Osborne v. Chapman, 574 N.W.2d 64 (Minn. 1998); Meas v. Young, 417 N.W.2d 55 (Wis. App. 1987). ...


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