United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Paducah Division
THOMAS B. RUSSELL, District Judge.
This matter is before the Court upon the Motion to Dismiss of Defendants Danny A. Toth, Brian Vossler, Craig Barker, and Data RX Management, Inc. (collectively "Data RX Management" or "the Company"). (Docket No. 5.) Plaintiff Terry McIntosh then filed a documented entitled "Motion to Dismiss Defendant's Motion to Dismiss." (Docket No. 6.) Although the governing civil rules do not provide for such a motion, the Court will construe this filing as a motion seeking to amend Plaintiff's original Complaint and will consider the contents of both documents. Data RX Management submitted a response, which will be construed as an amended Motion to Dismiss. (Docket No. 7). McIntosh then submitted a "Response to Defendant's Continued Misdirection of Claim" in further support of his previous filings, (Docket No. 8), to which Data RX Management has responded (Docket No. 9).
This matter is now ripe for adjudication. For the reasons that follow, Data RX Management's Motion to Dismiss will be GRANTED.
Data RX Management processes payments made with prescription savings cards on behalf of hundreds of companies. Among its clients are Donald Snider, who owns Free RX Discount Drug Card. Snider distributes his cards, the Company processes the resultant claims, and both earn money from the processing fees remitted by various pharmacies. (Docket No.7 at 2.)
Seeking to distribute as many cards as possible, Snider contracted with a number of individuals to expand his business. Snider and McIntosh formed one such contract. McIntosh's own business, Free Prescription Card Data RX, solicits associates to purchase and distribute pharmacy cards. (Docket No. 1, Complaint, at Introduction.) McIntosh alleges that Snider agreed to give him a portion of the processing fees associated with any cards that McIntosh distributed. When he learned that Snider was not making the agreed upon payments, McIntosh sued Snider in McCracken Circuit Court and won a default judgment. McIntosh has filed neither a garnishment nor any other type of enforcement action related to the Snider state court proceeding, and the Company was not a party to it. ( See Docket No. 5, Exhibit A.)
McIntosh now alleges that the Company intentionally defrauded him by agreeing to "restore his business"-i.e., allocate customers from Snider's account to his own-once he obtained a judgment against Snider. McIntosh explains that he would have included the Company in his state court action but for this promise. (Docket No. 1-1 at 7.) McIntosh argues that the state court judgment obligate the Company to redirect Snider's profits to him instead, regardless of the fact that this would cause the Company to breach its contract with Snider. McIntosh further alleges that the Company and Snider have conspired to defraud him by soliciting his existing clients and "enticing them with higher commissions and free cards." (Docket No. 1-1 at 9.)
McIntosh's complaint does not allege that the Company itself owes him money. Rather, he demands that the Company remit Snider's indebtedness to him. (Docket No. 1, Complaint, at Introduction.) McIntosh insists that this lawsuit is not an attempt to collect the money owed to him by Snider or reimburse him for any loss he incurred; rather, he seeks punitive damages in an effort to deter the Company from similar conduct in the future. (Docket No. 6-1 at 2.)
Although the parties do not dispute that Data RX Management does not employ Snider, McIntosh alleges that because Data RX Management "authorizes and collaborates with Mr. Snider to solicit business, " Snider is effectively an agent of Data RX Management. (Complaint at ¶ 5.) Data RX Management denies that Snider was authorized to commit Data RX to a contract or sign a contract in Data RX Management's name. (Docket No. 5-1 at 1-2.)
A motion to dismiss pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) tests the sufficiency of the plaintiff's complaint. The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require that pleadings, including complaints, contain a "short plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). A defendant may move to dismiss a claim or case because the complaint fails to "state a claim upon which relief can be granted." Fed R. Civ. P. 12(b). When considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the Court views the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff and must accept as true all well-pleaded factual allegations contained within it. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)).
Even though 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." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (citations omitted). Instead, the plaintiff's "[f]actual 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)." Id. (citations omitted). A complaint should contain enough facts "to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Id. at 570. A claim becomes plausible "when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). If, from the well-pleaded facts, the court cannot "infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged-but it has not show[n]'-that the pleader is entitled to relief.'" Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2).
In addition, federal courts hold pro se pleadings to a less stringent standard than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972); Jourdan v. Jabe, 951 F.2d 108, 110 (6th Cir. 1991). However, "[o]ur duty to be less stringent' with pro se complaints does not require us to conjure up unpled allegations." McDonald v. Hall, 610 F.2d 16, 19 (1st Cir. 1979) (citation omitted). Accordingly, this Court is not required "to explore exhaustively all potential claims of a pro se plaintiff, " as this would "transform the district court from its legitimate advisory role to the improper role of an advocate seeking out the strongest arguments and most successful strategies for a party." Beaudett v. City of Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1278. Only well-pled factual ...