Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Smith v. Rubicon Advisors, LLC

United States District Court, District of Columbia

June 1, 2017

TODD W. SMITH, Plaintiff & Counter-Defendant,
v.
RUBICON ADVISORS, LLC, Defendant & Counter-Claimant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION Re Document No. 5

          RUDOLPH CONTRERAS United States District Judge.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff Todd W. Smith formerly worked as a lobbyist for Defendant Rubicon Advisors, LLC. Mr. Smith seeks damages from Rubicon on a variety of theories. Rubicon's partial motion to dismiss challenges Mr. Smith's claims for unjust enrichment and interference with prospective business opportunities.[1] Because Mr. Smith has stated a claim on both theories, the Court denies the motion.

         II. BACKGROUND [2]

         Mr. Smith worked as a lobbyist for Rubicon from 2011 until he was fired in 2016. Compl. ¶¶ 6-18, ECF No. 1. Rubicon is a lobbying firm with its principal place of business in Washington, D.C. Compl. ¶ 3. According to Mr. Smith, his employment agreement bound Rubicon to pay him “a base salary, plus health benefits and a retirement contribution of between $15, 000 and $25, 000 each year.” Compl. ¶¶ 1, 7, 8, 41-45. In addition, Mr. Smith asserts that the agreement entitled him to “additional compensation calculated at 50% of revenue for business [Rubicon and Mr. Smith] pitch together and 70% of revenue for business [Mr. Smith] bring[s] in without [Rubicon's] assistance.” Compl. ¶ 7 (internal quotation mark omitted). Only the retirement compensation and “additional compensation” are at issue in this lawsuit.[3]

         As to the retirement compensation, Mr. Smith claims that Rubicon failed to pay him “retirement benefits for 2014, 2015, or 2016.” Compl. ¶¶ 1, 13, 39. As to the additional compensation, Mr. Smith asserts that he helped recruit two clients to Rubicon in 2013. Compl. ¶ 9; Mem. Opp'n Def.'s Mot. Dismiss (Pl.'s Opp'n) at 2, ECF No. 8; Def's Reply at 5-6, ECF No. 10. According to Mr. Smith, both clients were pitched collaboratively with Rubicon and Mr. Smith was therefore entitled to additional compensation in the amount of 50% of the revenue from both. Compl. ¶ 9. Both remained clients for several years, and Mr. Smith was initially satisfied with the compensation he received. Compl. ¶¶ 9-10. However, in 2015 Mr. Smith claims that he was not paid the $90, 000 in additional compensation that he should have received based on the $60, 000 and $120, 000 in revenue brought in by the two clients. Compl. ¶ 11. Again, in 2016 Mr. Smith asserts that he was not paid the $45, 000 in additional compensation which should have flowed to him based on the $90, 000 that one of the clients paid Rubicon. Compl. ¶¶ 12-13. Mr. Smith claims that he asked to be paid these amounts, but was rebuffed.[4] Compl. ¶¶ 14-18.

         Mr. Smith's worsening employment situation came to a head in 2016 when he received an email giving him “13 minutes” of notice that he was being fired. Compl. ¶ 17. After receiving the email, Mr. Smith claims that he was denied access to his email account and office, except for a brief visit with an office manager, and that he continues to be denied access to “files and commissions relevant to his representation of his clients.” Compl. ¶ 19. He also asserts that Rubicon misleadingly left Mr. Smith's biography on their website for at least eight weeks and did not provide his updated contact information to clients. Compl. ¶ 20.

         Based on these events, Mr. Smith seeks relief on five theories. After answering the complaint and asserting counterclaims, see generally Partial Answer, Affirmative Defenses Countercl.'s (Answer), ECF No. 4, Rubicon brought the instant motion to dismiss Mr. Smith's claims for unjust enrichment (Count IV) and interference with prospective business opportunities (Count V)[5] under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim. Mem. Supp. Def.'s Mot. Partially Dismiss Pl.'s Compl. (Def.'s MTD), ECF No. 5-1. Because the Court finds that Mr. Smith has properly stated a claim for both unjust enrichment and interference with prospective business opportunities, the Court denies Rubicon's motion.

         III. LEGAL STANDARD

         A motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) does not test a plaintiff's ultimate likelihood of success on the merits; rather, it tests only whether a plaintiff has properly stated a claim. See Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974), abrogated on other grounds by Harlow v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 800 (1982). Nevertheless, “[t]o 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, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). This means that a plaintiff's factual allegations “must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level, on the assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true (even if doubtful in fact).” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555-56 (citations omitted). “Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, ” are therefore insufficient to withstand a motion to dismiss. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. A court need not accept a plaintiff's legal conclusions as true, see id., nor must a court presume the veracity of the legal conclusions that are couched as factual allegations, see Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555.

         IV. DISCUSSION

         Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), Rubicon moves to dismiss Mr. Smith's claims of unjust enrichment and interference with prospective business opportunities.[6]The Court considers each in turn.

         A. Unjust Enrichment

         Rubicon argues that Mr. Smith cannot claim unjust enrichment while simultaneously “rel[ying] on the existence of the specific contract payment terms” for his breach of contract claims.[7] Def.'s Reply at 2, see also Def.'s MTD at 4. The Court agrees with Mr. Smith that he may advance unjust enrichment as an alternative theory of recovery at this stage of the litigation, ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.