United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
N. STIVERS, CHIEF JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT.
matter is before the Court on Defendant's Motion to
Dismiss (DN 8). The matter is ripe for adjudication. For the
reasons provided below, the motion is GRANTED IN PART and
DENIED IN PART.
Shrikanth Nekkanti (“Nekkanti”) is a resident of
Aurora, Illinois, and was formerly employed by the
information technology employee placement firm, Cognizant.
(Compl. ¶¶ 1, 11). Nekkanti alleges Defendant
V-Soft Consulting Group (“V-Soft”) is a business
headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, which also places
skilled information technology employees with firms in need
of such workers. Firms pay V-Soft directly for the
employees' services, and V-Soft in turn pays the
employees a percentage of this payment. (Compl. ¶¶
Yerramneni (“Yerramneni”) was employed by V-Soft
when he was placed with health insurance firm, Anthem, on a
project under the supervision of Nekkanti in Atlanta,
Georgia. (Compl. ¶¶ 8-11). In August 2018,
Yerramneni allegedly approached Nekkanti to ask him to sign
an affidavit describing Yerramneni's job responsibilities
so that he could give it to V- Soft's immigration
department for filing with the United States Citizenship and
Immigration Services (“USCIS”) to extend
Yerramneni's H1B visa. (Compl. ¶¶ 11-13).
completed and signed the affidavit, and Yerramneni provided
it to V-Soft. (Compl. ¶¶ 15-16). Nekkanti alleges
V-Soft then wrote an entirely different affidavit and placed
an Anthem logo at the top of each page. (Compl. ¶ 17).
Nekkanti alleges V-Soft used his signature from the affidavit
it acquired from Yerramneni to forge his signature on this
second affidavit. (Compl. ¶ 18). V-Soft then allegedly
filed this second affidavit with USCIS in its application to
extend Yerramneni's H1B visa. (Compl. ¶ 19).
alleges V-Soft's filing of this affidavit triggered an
audit of Anthem, who then contacted Cognizant. (Compl.
¶¶ 20-22). Cognizant subsequently terminated
Nekkanti because it believed he forged Anthem's
letterhead onto the affidavit. (Compl. ¶¶ 23-24).
When presented with yet another version of the incriminating
document with the Anthem logo, Nekkanti stated he did not
prepare either version of the affidavit with Anthem's
logo. (Compl. ¶ 26).
first asserts three claims of interference with business
advantage regarding contracts with Cognizant, Anthem, and
multiple other unnamed businesses. (Compl. ¶¶ 31,
35, 41). Next, Nekkanti asserts a claim of forgery against
V-Soft, arguing it intentionally deceived USCIS by affixing
his signature to an affidavit containing Anthem's logo,
which resulted in lost income. (Compl. ¶¶ 46-48).
Finally, Nekkanti asserts a claim for negligent supervision
for failing to exercise ordinary care in preventing his
signature from being forged by V-Soft's employees.
(Compl. ¶ 51).
has moved to dismiss Nekkanti's claims under Rule
12(b)(6). (Def.'s Mot. Dismiss 1, DN 8). Regarding his
tortious interference claims, V-Soft argues Nekkanti failed
to plead any nonconclusory facts supporting the allegation
that it knew of the contract or that it intended to cause
breach. (Def.'s Mot. Dismiss 4-6). Concerning
Nekkanti's forgery claim, V-Soft contends his claims must
fail because he is not within the class of people protected
by Kentucky's forgery statute. (Def.'s Mot. Dismiss
6-7). Finally, V-Soft urges the Court to dismiss
Nekkanti's negligent supervision claim because he fails
to allege in his Complaint that V-Soft knew or should have
known there was a risk any of its employees would forge his
signature. (Def.'s Mot. Dismiss 8). In his response,
Nekkanti repeatedly refers to the Kentucky Civil Rules to
defend his claims because he is only required to
“simply submit a short and plain statement of claims
showing that he . . . is entitled to relief.”
(Pl.'s Resp. Def.'s Mot. Dismiss 1, DN 9 [hereinafter
Court has jurisdiction because there is complete diversity
between the parties and the value of the asserted claims
exceeds $75, 000. 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1).
STANDARD OF REVIEW
the parties disagree regarding the applicable standard of
review in this case. Plaintiff repeatedly refers to
Kentucky's Civil Rules, while Defendant relies on the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. (Pl.'s Resp. 1, 3, 5;
Def.'s Mot. Dismiss 1). Federal courts sitting in
diversity apply state law to substantive “rules of
decision” under which claims are adjudicated but apply
federal law to procedural issues governing only “the
manner and the means” by which litigant's rights
are enforced. See Shady Grove Orthopedic Assocs., P.A. v.
AllState Ins. Co., 559 U.S. 393, 406-07 (2010) (citation
omitted). Accordingly, the Court will apply Kentucky
substantive law to Nekkanti's claims for interference
with business advantage, forgery, and negligent supervision,
but will apply federal standards pertaining to procedure. See
survive dismissal for failure to state a claim under
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), “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) (internal quotation
marks omitted) (citation omitted). A claim is facially
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.”
Id. When considering a defendant's motion to
dismiss, the Court will “accept all the
[plaintiff's] factual allegations as true and construe
the complaint in the light most favorable to the
[plaintiff].” Hill v. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of
Mich., 409 F.3d 710, 716 (6th Cir. 2005). “A
pleading that offers labels and conclusions or a formulaic