United States District Court, D. Arizona
Seikaly & Stewart, P.C., a Michigan Professional Corporation, individually, Plaintiff,
Stephen Fairley; the Rainmaker Institute LLC; Inspired Marketing Concepts, Inc.; Darrin Mish, jointly and severally, Defendants. the Rainmaker Institute LLC, Counterclaimant,
Seikaly & Stewart, P.C., a Michigan Professional Corporation, individually, Counterdefendant
For Seikaly & Stewart PC, a Michigan Professional Corporation (individually), Plaintiff, Counter Defendant: Michael P Pianin, LEAD ATTORNEY, Pianin & Associates PC, Scottsdale, AZ.
For Stephen Fairley, Rainmaker Institute LLC, Defendants: Kim Seibert Alvarado, LEAD ATTORNEY, Robert Grasso, Jr., Grasso Law Firm PC, Chandler, AZ.
For Inspired Marketing Concepts, Inc., Darrin Mish, Defendants: Richard J Mockler, Solomon Law Group PA, Tampa, FL.
For Stephen Fairley, Rainmaker Institute LLC, Counter Claimants: Robert Grasso, Jr., Grasso Law Firm PC, Chandler, AZ.
Michelle H. Burns, United States Magistrate Judge.
Pending before the Court is Defendants Stephen Fairley and The Rainmaker Institute LLC's (collectively " TRI" ) Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings. (Doc. 18.) After considering the arguments raised by the parties in their briefing, the Court now issues the following ruling.
This lawsuit arises from Plaintiff Seikaly & Stewart, P.C.'s alleged dissatisfaction with internet marketing services provided by TRI. Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint alleging the following causes of action against all Defendants: (I) violation under 18 U.S.C. § 1962(c), which is improperly identified as a cause of action under " RICO § 1961" in the Amended Complaint; (II) violation under " RICO § 1962(d)" ; and (III) common law fraud. Thereafter, TRI filed its Answer and Counterclaim against Plaintiff. The Amended Complaint states the following, in pertinent part:
Plaintiff is a Michigan law firm. (Am. Compl. ¶ 8.) TRI is based in Arizona and provides internet marketing services for small law firms and sole practitioners. (Am. Compl. ¶ ¶ 1, 10, 16.) Stephen Fairley owns or controls TRI. (Am. Compl.
¶ 9.) A component of the internet marketing services provided by TRI incorporates Search Engine Optimization (or " SEO" ). (Am. Compl. ¶ 2.) SEO is the process of improving the visibility or ranking of a website in the results of a search engine's search results. (Am. Compl. ¶ ¶ 2, 3.) SEO is intended to help increase website visibility in internet search results when key terms describing law firm clients are entered into internet search engines like Google. (Am. Compl. ¶ 3.)
In July 2011, Plaintiff, through one of its attorneys, attended a TRI seminar in Orlando, Florida. (Am. Compl. ¶ 29.) At the seminar, TRI promoted its ability to establish a web presence for clients through the creation of blogs and its ability to draw web traffic to clients' websites through link building. (Am. Compl. ¶ ¶ 28, 30.) TRI had hosted seminars in various locations. (Am. Compl. ¶ 28.)
In September 2011, Plaintiff executed two one-year contracts with TRI. (Am. Compl. ¶ 32.) According to the Amended Complaint, one contract was entitled " The Rainmaker Institute Blog Writing and Social Media Agreement Form G." (Am. Compl. ¶ 32.) The second contract was entitled " The Rainmaker Institute Link Building 1 Year Agreement." (Am. Compl. ¶ 32.) TRI rendered services pursuant to the contracts. (Am. Compl. ¶ ¶ 36, 38, 42, 44.)
Plaintiff alleges tat search engine methods " are constantly evolving." (Am. Compl. ¶ 22.) Google and other internet search engines implement new programs and algorithms that can interfere with link building and other SEO services. (Am. Compl. ¶ ¶ 39, 40.) In or about April 2012, during the term of Plaintiff's contracts with TRI, Plaintiff alleges that Google implemented " new programs and algorithms" to enforce its policies against certain forms of " link building," which made TRI's link building methods less valuable. (Am. Compl. ¶ 40.) Toward the end of the contract year, Plaintiff felt TRI's marketing programs had not demonstrated any improvement. (Am. Compl. ¶ 48.)
Nevertheless, Plaintiff executed a new six-month agreement for additional marketing services with TRI. (Am. Compl. ¶ ¶ 48-49.) Approximately two months into the new, six-month contract extension, Plaintiff " ceased dealing with TRI," except in an attempt to resolve the matter. (Am. Compl. ¶ 50.)
In its Amended Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that it is dissatisfied with the quality of the links provided by TRI. (Am. Compl. ¶ ¶ 36, 38.) TRI allegedly created fewer links than were required under the terms of the link building contract. (Am. Compl. ¶ ¶ 36, 37.) Plaintiff alleges its " web page rankings were not being achieved as represented." (Am. Compl. ¶ 42.) TRI's internet marketing services allegedly were not successful and failed to demonstrate any improvement in Plaintiff's law firm business. (Am. Compl. ¶ 48.)
On November 1, 2013, TRI filed its Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings. (Doc. 18.) Plaintiff filed its Response on December 6, 2013, and TRI filed its Reply on December 18, 2013. (Docs. 24, 25.) On February 4, 2014, the final day for joining parties and amending pleadings as set forth in the Court's Case Management Order, Plaintiff filed a pleading entitled Motion to File Amended Complaint seeking only to name and add Defendants Inspired Marketing Concepts, Inc., and Darrin Mish in place of " John Doe" named in ...