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Cornucopia Products, LLC v. Bed, Bath & Beyond, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Arizona

September 24, 2014

Cornucopia Products, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
Bed, Bath & Beyond, Inc., Defendant.

ORDER AND OPINION [Re: Motions at dockets 10 and 14]

JOHN W. SEDWICK, Senior District Judge.

I. MOTIONS PRESENTED

At docket 10 defendant Bed, Bath & Beyond, Inc. ("BBB") moves to dismiss the original complaint filed by plaintiff Cornucopia Products, LLC ("CP"). CP responds at docket 15, and BBB replies at docket 18. CP moves at docket 14 to amend the original complaint. BBB's response is included in its memo at docket 18. CP replies at docket 19. Oral argument was heard on September 24, 2014.

II. BACKGROUND

CP alleges that it invents and manufactures various items, including heated towel warming devices for distribution in retail stores. One of its towel warming device customers from time-to-time has been BBB. CP has some items manufactured abroad in China. CP alleges that its trade secrets are incorporated into towel warming devices. CP's proposed First Amended Complaint ("FAC") sets out three claims. In Count One, CP alleges that BBB misappropriated its towel warming trade secrets. Count Two alleges that BBB tortiously interfered in CP's business expectancy with a Chinese manufacturer. Count Three alleges that BBB breached a contract to purchase towel warming devices from CP.

III. STANDARD OF REVIEW

Rule 12(b)(6) tests the legal sufficiency of a plaintiff's claims. In reviewing such a motion, "[a]ll allegations of material fact in the complaint are taken as true and construed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party."[1] To be assumed true, the allegations, "may not simply recite the elements of a cause of action, but must contain sufficient allegations of underlying facts to give fair notice and to enable the opposing party to defend itself effectively."[2] Dismissal for failure to state a claim can be based on either "the lack of a cognizable legal theory or the absence of sufficient facts alleged under a cognizable legal theory."[3] "Conclusory allegations of law... are insufficient to defeat a motion to dismiss."[4]

To avoid dismissal, a plaintiff must plead facts sufficient to "state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face."[5] "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."[6] "In sum, for a complaint to survive a motion to dismiss, the non-conclusory factual content, ' and reasonable inferences from that content, must be plausibly suggestive of a claim entitling the plaintiff to relief."[7]

IV. DISCUSSION

A. Motion at Docket 10

BBB's motion at docket 10 asks the court to dismiss the original complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim. CP's response concedes there are shortcomings in the original complaint, but contends that the defects in the original complaint are cured in the FAC. While CP's response also advances some substantive arguments, in addition to contending that the FAC cures the problems, resolution of the motion to amend at docket 14 will necessarily address them. For these reasons, the motion at docket 10 will be granted. The original complaint will be dismissed, but without prejudice to the motion to amend at docket 14.

B. Motion at Docket 14

The FAC appears at docket 14-1 as an attachment to CP's motion to amend. BBB argues that the proposed amendment is futile because the FAC still does not ...


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