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Ward Chrysler Center, Inc v. Adp Dealer Services

August 14, 2012


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Herndon, Chief Judge:



Before the Court is defendant ADP Dealer Services, Inc.'s motion to dismiss the complaint (Doc. 9, Reply Doc. 18). As plaintiff Ward Chrysler Center, Inc., has responded, the motion is ripe for judicial resolution (Doc. 16). For the following reasons, defendant's motion is DENIED in part and GRANTED in part.


Plaintiff's three count complaint arises from a contract the parties entered into in April, 2009. Plaintiff, "contracted with [defendant] to provide hardware, software and services for installation of a fully integrated telephone system at [p]laintiff[']s automobile dealerships at Carbondale, Illinois and Cape Girardeau, Missouri" (Doc. 2-1, pp. 3-4). Plaintiff's complaint consists of Count 1: Negligent Misrepresentation; Count II: Negligence; and Count III: Breach of Contract (Doc. 2-1).

Pursuant to FEDERAL RULES OF CIVIL PROCEDURE 9(b), 10(b), and 12(b)(6), defendant instantly seeks dismissal of plaintiff's complaint in its entirety (Doc. 9). As to Counts I and II, defendant alleges the economic loss doctrine of Moorman Mfg. Co. v. Natl. Tank Co., 91 Ill.2d 69, 61 Ill.Dec. 746, 435 N.E.2d 443 (1982), bars plaintiff's requested relief.*fn1 As to Count III: Breach of Contract, defendant argues plaintiff has not stated a plausible claim for relief under RULE 12(b)(6). Plaintiff naturally disagrees with defendant's legal assertions and alternatively moves to amend its complaint should the Court feel plaintiff has not pled its claims with sufficient particularity.


1. Failure to State a Claim

FEDERAL RULE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE 8(a)(2) requires plaintiff provide a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that [she] is entitled to relief." A RULE 12(b)(6) motion challenges the sufficiency of the complaint to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Hallinan v. Fraternal Order of Police Chicago Lodge 7, 570 F.3d 811, 820 (7th Cir. 2009). The Supreme Court explained in Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007), that RULE 12(b)(6) dismissal is warranted if the complaint fails to set forth "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face."

In making this assessment, the district court accepts as true all well-pled factual allegations and draws all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor. See Rujawitz v. Martin, 561 F.3d 685, 688 (7th Cir. 2009); St. John's United Church of Christ v. City of Chicago, 502 F.3d 616, 625 (7th Cir. 2007). Even though Twombly (and Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009)) retooled federal pleading standards, notice pleading remains all that is required in a complaint. "A plaintiff still must provide only 'enough detail to give the defendant fair notice of what the claim is and the grounds upon which it rests and, through his allegations, show that it is plausible, rather than merely speculative, that he is entitled to relief.'" Tamayo v. Blagojevich, 526 F.3d1074, 1083 (7th Cir. 2008).

The Seventh Circuit has offered further direction on what (post- Twombly & Iqbal) a complaint must do to withstand dismissal for failure to state a claim. In Pugh v. Tribune Co., 521 F.3d 686,699 (7th Cir. 2008), it further reiterated: "surviving a Rule 12(b)(6)motion requires more than labels and conclusions;" the allegations must "raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Similarly, the court remarked in Swanson v. Citibank, N.A., 614 F.3d 400, 403 (7th Cir. 2010): "It is by now well established that a plaintiff must do better than putting a few words on paper that, in the hands of an imaginative reader, might suggest that something has happened to her that might be redressed by the law." Judge Posner later explained that Twombly and Iqbal:

[R]equire that a complaint be dismissed if the allegations do not state a plausible claim. The Court explained in Iqbal that "the plausibility standard is not akin to a 'probability requirement,' but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully." This is a little unclear because plausibility, probability, and possibility overlap.

But one sees more or less what the Court was driving at: the fact that the allegations undergirding a plaintiff's claim could be true is no longer enough to save it

[T]he complaint taken as a whole must establish a nonnegligible probability that the claim is valid, though it need not be so great a probability as such terms ...

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