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Sibel Products, Inc. v. Gaming Partners International Corp.

January 4, 2010

SIBEL PRODUCTS, INC., PLAINTIFF,
v.
GAMING PARTNERS INTERNATIONAL CORPORATION AND GUILFORD MILLS, INC., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: J. Phil Gilbert District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

This matter comes before the Court on Defendant Guilford Mills, Inc.'s (hereinafter "Guilford") Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 47). Plaintiff Sibel Products, Inc. (hereinafter "Sibel") filed a Response (Doc. 56), to which Guilford filed a Reply (Doc. 60). In its motion, Guilford seeks dismissal of Count IV, alleging tortious interference with a contractual/business relationship,*fn1 of Sibel's Second Amended Complaint (Doc. 25).

BACKGROUND

For purposes of a motion to dismiss, courts must accept all factual allegations in the complaint as true and draw all reasonable inferences from those facts in favor of the plaintiff. Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007); Tricontinental Indus., Ltd. v. PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP, 475 F.3d 824, 833 (7th Cir. 2007). The Court, accepting all of Sibel's allegations as true and drawing all reasonable inferences in its favor, finds as follows:

I. Facts

On November 3, 2005, Sibel and Gaming Partners International Corporation (hereinafter "GPIC") entered into an Exclusive Supply Agreement (hereinafter "ESA"), whereby Sibel was to supply certain cloth to GPIC for gaming table layouts. Under the ESA, GPIC was to order certain quantities and varieties of cloth at set prices from Sibel on a monthly basis for five years.*fn2

An addendum to the ESA was signed by Sibel and GPIC on June 18, 2008, which, inter alia, amended the purchasing requirements of GPIC and extended the parties' agreement until 2013. In order to fulfill its requirements under the ESA and addendum thereto, Sibel obtained its cloth from Guilford, which Sibel then treated so that it could be used for GPIC's purposes. While Sibel and Guilford maintained a separate exclusive supply agreement, its terms expired in December 2008, shortly after the signing of the addendum between Sibel and GPIC.

Guilford was well-aware of the contracts between Sibel and GPIC and decided to get a piece of the action. Rather than renew its contract with Sibel, Guilford induced GPIC to break the ESA with Sibel by promising to be its exclusive and direct seller of the gaming table cloth; thereafter, since at least June 2009, Guilford has supplied GPIC with said cloth. Put another way, Sibel unexpectedly lost its middleman status despite an eight-year business relationship with GPIC.

II. Procedural Posture

GPIC removed this case on January 30, 2009, on grounds of diversity jurisdiction. However, the claim at issue, which added Guilford as a defendant to the litigation, was not raised until Sibel's most recent complaint.*fn3

The Court notes that Count IV is labeled "tortious interference with prospective economic advantage", and the corresponding prayer for reliefasks "[t]his Court [to] find Defendant Guilford tortuously interfered with Plaintiff's business relationship and prospective economic advantage with Defendant GPI[C]."(Doc. 25, p. 12; p. 15, ¶ A.). As one would expect, Guilford addressed this tort and relevant precedent in the instant thirteen-page motion. However, in responding to said motion, Sibel informed Guilford, GPIC, and the Court that Count IV should have read "tortious interference with a contractual/business relationship". Subsequently, Guilford was forced to address Sibel's "new claim" in its reply brief, which could not exceed five pages without leave of court.

This is unacceptable, especially in light of the fact that Sibel is represented by counsel and its most recent complaint represents the third submitted to the Court. Guilford, GPIC, and the Court should not have to waste time reviewing inapplicable and unintended claims due to the carelessness of counsel. The Court admonishes Sibel and its counsel that any more "mistakes" will not be tolerated.

ANALYSIS

I. Motions to Dismiss ...


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