United States District Court, D. Columbia.
For United States Telesis Incorporated, Plaintiff: Joshua R. Furman, LEAD ATTORNEY, PRO HAC VICE, JOSHUA R. FURMAN LAW CORPORATION, Sherman Oaks, CA USA; Matthew B. Kaplan, LEAD ATTORNEY, The Kaplan Law Firm, Arlington, VA USA.
For Neil S. Ende, Technology Law Group LLC, Defendants: Laura Nachowitz Steel, WILSON ELSER MOSKOWITZ EDELMAN & DICKER, LLP, Washington, DC USA.
Royce C. Lamberth, United States District Judge.
Plaintiff United States Telesis, Inc. (" UST" ) seeks damages for alleged legal malpractice, negligence, and breach of fiduciary duty by Neil S. Ende and his law firm Technology Law Group LLC (" TLG" ) arising out of TLG's representation of plaintiff in a 2005 breach of contract case in the United States District Court for the Western District of New York (" WDNY" ). UST alleged that TLG failed to take reasonable steps to avoid reasonably foreseeable risks in the litigation of the underlying case, that TLG was negligent in representing UST, and that TLG breached its fiduciary duties owed to UST. Defendants seek dismissal of plaintiff's First Amended Complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim. Upon consideration of the filings and the relevant law, defendants' Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint will be granted.
On November 30, 2012, UST filed a Complaint in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. The Complaint alleged three causes of action against defendants
Ende and TLG, including legal malpractice, negligence, and breach of fiduciary duty for which is seeks $10,000,000 in damages. On January 7, 2013, the case was removed to this Court on diversity jurisdiction grounds. Notice of Removal, ECF No. 1. Ende and TLG moved to dismiss the Complaint for the first time on January 14, 2013. Defs.' Mot. to Dismiss, ECF No. 4. UST filed an amended complaint on April 8, 2013, and defendants moved to strike the First Amended Complaint on April 9, 2013. First Am. Compl., ECF. No. 20; Mot. to Strike Am. Compl., ECF No. 21. On August 16, 2013, this Court denied the initial Motion to Dismiss and Motion to Strike without prejudice. Order, ECF No. 26. Defendants again moved to dismiss UST's First Amended Complaint on August 30, 2013. Mot. to Dismiss Pl.'s First Am. Compl., ECF No. 28. UST filed its Opposition to the Motion to Dismiss on September 16, 2013. Mem. in Opp'n to Mot. to Dismiss Pl.'s First Am. Compl., ECF No. 29. Defendants filed their Reply to the Opposition on September 26, 2013. Defs.' Reply Mem. of P. & A. in Supp. of Mot. to Dismiss Pl.'s First Am. Compl., ECF No. 30.
II. LEGAL STANDARD
A complaint must contain " a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). A motion to dismiss is appropriate when a complaint fails " to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). Failure to state a claim occurs when a complaint is so factually deficient that the plaintiff's claim for relief is not plausible on its face. Bell A. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007). Though facts of a complaint need not be detailed, Rule 8 " demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009). The Court must accept all factual statements alleged in the Complaint as true when deciding a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss. Id. However, conclusory legal allegations devoid of any factual support do not enjoy the same presumption of truth. Id. at 679. " Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. A complaint that tenders " naked assertions" devoid of " further factual enhancement" will not suffice. Id. at 557; Ashcroft, 556 U.S. at 678.
In addition to the factual statements alleged in the Complaint, a court may take judicial notice of facts on the public record. Covad Commc'ns Co. v. Bell A. Corp., 407 F.3d 1220, 1222, 366 U.S.App.D.C. 24 (D.C. Cir. 2005). In particular, this Court may consider the undisputed facts and the underlying case record from the WDNY. Veg-Mix, Inc. v. U.S. Dept. of Agric., 832 F.2d 601, 607, 266 U.S.App.D.C. 1 (D.C. Cir. 1987) (" [I]t is settled law that the court may take judicial notice of other cases including the same subject matter or questions of a related nature between the same parties." ) (internal citations omitted).
To plead a cause of action for legal malpractice, UST must have pleaded that it would have fared better in the underlying case had TLG and Ende acted appropriately. Even assuming that TLG and Ende acted negligently and breached their fiduciary duty to UST, the First Amended Complaint does not allege sufficiently that UST would have achieved a ...