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Morgan Truck Body, LLC v. Fredrickson Distribution LLC

United States District Court, Third Circuit

September 5, 2013

MORGAN TRUCK BODY, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
FREDRICKSON DISTRIBUTION LLC, Defendant, and RICHARD BACON, Defendant.

OPINION

JAMES KNOLL GARDNER, District Judge.

The matter before the court is Defendant's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint, which motion was filed on November 23, 2012.[1] For the reasons expressed below, Defendants' Motion to Dismiss is denied.

JURISDICTION

Jurisdiction in this matter is proper pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332, because the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000.00, and is between citizens of different states.[2]

VENUE

Venue is proper pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1391(a)(2) because a substantial part of the events giving rise to the plaintiff's claims allegedly occurred within this district.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On October 22, 2012, plaintiff Morgan Truck Body, LLC, initiated this action by filing in this court its Complaint against defendants Fredrickson Distribution, LLC and Richard Bacon which asserts a common law breach of contract claim against each defendant. On October 25, 2012 plaintiff filed its Amended Complaint.

The Amended Complaint was dismissed without prejudice for plaintiff to file a Second Amended Complaint properly pleading the grounds upon which this court's jurisdiction depends.[3] On November 7, 2012 plaintiff filed the operative Second Amended Complaint, which properly pleads the grounds upon which this court's jurisdiction depends.

On November 23, 2012 defendants filed the within motion to dismiss. Plaintiff filed its memorandum in opposition to the within motion on December 6, 2012.

Hence this Opinion.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

A claim may be dismissed under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for "failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." A Rule 12(b)(6) motion requires the court to examine the sufficiency of the complaint. Conley v. Gibson , 355 U.S. 41, 45, 78 S.Ct. 99, 102, 2 L.Ed.2d 80, 84 (1957) (abrogated in other respects by Bell Atlantic Corporation v. Twombly , 550 U.S. 544, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007)). Generally, in ruling on a motion to dismiss, the court relies on the complaint, attached exhibits, and matters of public record, including other judicial proceedings. Sands v. McCormick , 502 F.3d 263, 268 (3d Cir. 2008).

Except as provided in Federal Rule of Civil Pro-cedure 9, a complaint is sufficient if it complies with Rule 8(a)(2), which requires "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief". Rule 8(a)(2) does not require heightened fact pleading of specifics, but only enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face. Twombly , 550 U.S. at 570, 127 S.Ct. at 1974, 167 L.Ed.2d at 949.[4]

In determining whether a complaint is sufficient, the court must accept all factual allegations as true, construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, and determine whether, under any reasonable reading, the plaintiff may be entitled to relief. Fowler , 578 F.3d at 210 (citing Phillips v. County of Allegheny , 515 F.3d 224, 233 (3d Cir. 2008)).

Although "conclusory" or "bare-bones allegations" will not survive a motion to dismiss, Fowler , 578 F.3d at 210, a complaint may not be dismissed merely because it appears unlikely that the plaintiff can prove those facts or will ultimately prevail on the merits. Phillips , 515 F.3d at 231. Nonetheless, to survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the complaint must provide "enough facts to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of the necessary element." Id. at 234 (quoting Twombly , 550 U.S. at 556, 127 S.Ct. at 1965, 167 L.Ed.2d at 940) (internal quotations omitted).

The court is required to conduct a two-part analysis when considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion. First, the factual matters averred in the complaint, and any attached exhibits, should be separated from legal conclusions asserted. Fowler , 578 F.3d at 210. Any facts pled must be taken as true, and any legal conclusions asserted may be disregarded. Id. at 210-211.

Second, the court must determine whether those factual matters averred are sufficient to show that the plaintiff has a "plausible claim for relief." Id. at 211 (quoting Iqbal , 556 U.S. at 679, 129 S.Ct. at 1950, 178 L.Ed.2d at 884).

Ultimately, this two-part analysis is "context-specific" and requires the court to draw on "its judicial experience and common sense" to determine if the facts pled in the complaint have "nudged [plaintiff's] claims" over the line from "[merely] conceivable [or possible] to plausible." Iqbal , 556 U.S. at 679-680, 129 S.Ct. at 1949-1951, 178 L.Ed.2d at 884-885.

A well-pled complaint may not be dismissed simply because "it strikes a savvy judge that actual proof of those facts is improbable, and that a recovery is very remote and unlikely." Twombly , 550 U.S. at 556, 127 S.Ct. at 1965, 167 L.Ed.2d at 940-941 (internal quotations omitted).

FACTS

Based on the averments in plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint, which I must accept as true under the applicable standard of review discussed above, the pertinent facts are as follows.

Plaintiff, Morgan Truck Body, LLC ("Morgan LLC" or "Morgan") is in the business of manufacturing and installing truck bodies onto truck chassis purchased from other manufacturers. Morgan LLC's business relies on "a worldwide supplier system to source the materials used in that business."[5]

Because of scarce supply and unfavorable tariffs levied upon Morgan LLC's particular suppliers, Morgan treats information about its suppliers and its supplier list as confidential. The development, maintenance, and continued use of Morgan's supplier network provides plaintiff with a significant competitive advantage over its competitors in the truck manufacturing and assembly business.[6]

Defendant Fredrickson Distribution, LLC ("Fredrickson LLC" or "Frederickson") is in the business of importing and distributing industrial products. Fredrickson LLC often does business with other firms that supply the types of materials used by Morgan LLC. Defendant Richard Bacon is the President of Fredrickson LLC.[7]

Following the formation of a business relationship between Morgan LLC and Fredrickson LLC, [8] Morgan and Fredrickson entered into a written Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure Agreement ("Non-Disclosure Agreement").[9] The business relationship between the Morgan LLC and Fredrickson LLC required Morgan LLC to ...


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