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JTV MFG, Inc. v. Braketown USA, Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. Iowa, Western Division

September 9, 2014

JTV MFG, INC., Plaintiffs,
v.
BRAKETOWN USA, INC., and ERMAK USA, Defendants.

ORDER ON MOTION TO DISMISS

DONALD E. O'BRIEN, Senior District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND

The above captioned case concerns a lawsuit brought by the Plaintiff, JTV Manufacturing, Inc. [hereinafter JTV], against Braketown USA, Inc., d/b/a Mac-Tech [hereinafter Braketown], and Ermak USA, Inc. [hereinafter Ermak], the distributer and manufacturer of a fiber laser cutting machine (a piece of industrial equipment).

This matter is currently before the Court on the Defendants' Motion to Dismiss, Docket No. 6. The Defendants seek to dismiss the Plaintiff's Complaint or have venue changed to Illinois. The parties appeared for a hearing on April 8, 2014. After listening to the parties' arguments, the Court took the matter under consideration and now enters the following.

II. BACKGROUND

In short, this case involves a warranty claim made by the Plaintiff against the Defendants. The Plaintiff bought a high priced piece of industrial equipment from manufacturer, Ermak, through sales agent, Braketown. The Plaintiff claims the equipment does not work and filed suit.

This case was removed to Federal Court on January 13, 2014. On January 21, 2014, the Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss (Docket No. 6). In their original Motion to Dismiss, the Defendants raise three main arguments. First, the Defendants argue the Court does not have jurisdiction over the Defendants. Second, the Defendants argue that the Plaintiff has failed to state a claim against Ermak. Finally, the Defendants argue that even if the case is allowed to proceed, venue should be changed to Illinois.

On February 10, 2014, the Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint (Docket No. 14). In response to the Amended Complaint and the Plaintiff's other filings, the Defendants dropped their claim that the Court does not have personal jurisdiction. See Docket No. 19, p. 1.

III. MOTION TO DISMISS STANDARD

The notice pleading standard of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires a plaintiff to give "a short and plain statement showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." In order to meet this standard and 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." Ashcroft v. Iqbal , 556 U.S. 662, 663 (2009) (internal quotations and citation omitted). This requirement of facial plausibility means that the factual content of the plaintiff's allegations must "allow[ ] the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Cole v. Homier Distrib. Co., Inc. , 599 F.3d 856, 861 (8th Cir. 2010). Furthermore, courts must assess the plausibility of a given claim with reference to the plaintiff's allegations as a whole, not in terms of the plausibility of each individual allegation. Zoltek Corp. v. Structural Polymer Group , 592 F.3d 893, 896 n. 4 (8th Cir. 2010) (internal citation omitted). This inquiry is "a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense." Iqbal , 556 U.S. at 664.

"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." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly , 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (internal alterations and citations omitted). Nevertheless, although the "plausibility standard requires a plaintiff to show at the pleading stage that success on the merits is more than a sheer possibility, " it is not a "probability requirement." Braden v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. , 588 F.3d 585, 594 (8th Cir. 2009). As such, "a well-pleaded complaint may proceed even if it strikes a savvy judge that actual proof of the facts alleged is improbable, and that a recovery is very remote and unlikely, " Id.

In assessing "plausibility, " as required by the Supreme Court in Iqbal, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals has explained that courts should consider only the materials that are necessarily embraced by the pleadings and exhibits attached to the complaint. See Mattes v. ABC Plastics, Inc. , 323 F.3d 695, 697 n. 4 (8th Cir. 2003), stating that "in considering a motion to dismiss, the district court may sometimes consider materials outside the pleadings, such as materials that are necessarily embraced by the pleadings and exhibits attached to the complaint. Porous Media Corp. v. Pall Corp. , 186 F.3d 1077, 1079 (8th Cir. 1999). The Court may also consider "materials that are part of the public record or do not contradict the complaint." Miller v. Redwood Toxicology Lab., Inc. , 688 F.3d 928, 931 (8th Cir. 2012). "A more complete list of the matters outside of the pleadings that a court may consider, without converting a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss into a Rule 56 motion for summary judgment, pursuant to Rule 12(d), includes matters incorporated by reference or integral to the claim, items subject to judicial notice, matters of public record, orders, items appearing in the record of the case, and exhibits attached to the complaint whose authenticity is unquestioned." Van Stelton v. Van Stelton, 11-CV-4045-MWB, 2013 WL 3776813 (N.D. Iowa 2013) (internal citations omitted).

IV. ISSUES

In their Motion to Dismiss, the Defendants raise two issues. First, they argue that the Plaintiff has failed to state a viable warranty claim against Ermak. Second, the Defendants argue that venue is not proper in the Northern District of Iowa and that this case should be transferred to the Northern District of Illinois.[1]

V. ANALYSIS

A. Failure to State a Claim

This case generally involves a breach of contract/warranty claim made by the Plaintiff against the Defendants. Specifically, the Plaintiff claims it bought a piece of industrial equipment from Ermak through Mac-Tech. The Plaintiffs claim that the Defendants breached the contract because the equipment does not work. The parties agree that a choice of law provision dictates that Illinois law is applicable. In their Motion to Dismiss, Docket No. 6, the Defendants argue that ...


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