United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
CHRISTOPHER L. HARRIS Plaintiff,
U.S. BANK, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
HERNDON, DISTRICT JUDGE
before the Court is defendant U.S. Bank's motion to
dismiss plaintiff's second amended complaint (Doc. 39)
pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).
Plaintiff concedes to several of U.S. Bank's arguments,
but still ultimately opposes the motion (Doc. 44). For the
reasons explained below, the Court GRANTS
defendant's motion to dismiss (Doc 39).
Christopher L. Harris initially filed his complaint in the
Circuit Court of Madison County, Illinois, on September 27,
2016 (Doc. 1-1). Thereafter, on November 2, 2016, this case
was removed to the United States District Court for the
Southern District of Illinois by Defendant U.S. Bank National
Association (improperly identified as “US Bank, 3303
Nameoki Road, Granite City, IL 62040”) (hereafter
“U.S. Bank”), (Doc. 1). Subsequent to removal, on
December 30, 2016, Harris filed his amended complaint (Doc.
13). Plaintiff's amended complaint alleges that
“this is a suit for conversion of a negotiable
instrument pursuant to Universal Commercial Code
(“U.C.C.”) § 3-419(1), unjust enrichment and
breach of simple contract.” (Doc. 13). Plaintiff
alleges that he executed and delivered a Purchase Agreement
and Credit Order to U.S Bank “extending the amount of
$797, 588.00 in Plaintiff's credit upon acceptance and
presentment at the Federal Reserve discount or acceptance
window or open market desk.” (Doc. 13). Thus, he claims
that he “acted in the capacity of a lending or banking
institution, and the issued instrument at Document 1-1, ID
#14 is similar or equivalent to money, which may be treated
as a deposit of money when received and accepted by U.S.
Bank.” (Id. at (¶8).
aforementioned Purchase Agreement listed “special
conditions” that stated: “If Seller chooses to
refuse payment, Seller MUST, dishonor payment under
days of grace, 72 hours, by returning the original instrument
with its Certificate of Dishonor made under the hand and seal
of the United States Consul or notary public or other person
authorized to certify dishonor by the law of the place where
dishonor occurs stating the reasons given for refusal.”
(Doc. 39-1, pg.2). Thus, plaintiff argues that based on the
fact that U.S. Bank received his offer to purchase and did
not dishonor and return the original instrument, then a valid
agreement was formed between the two parties. The amended
complaint specifically sets forth claims for breach of
contract, unjust enrichment, theft of property mislaid
pursuant to Model Penal Code § 223.5, and constitutional
tort all based on the Purchase Agreement.
filed the pending motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) on January 25, 2017 (Doc. 39). In
the motion, defendant contends that plaintiff's breach of
contract, unjust enrichment, theft, and constitutional tort
claims all fail as a matter of law (Doc. 39). Naturally,
plaintiff disagrees with defendant's assertions (Doc. 44)
and has since moved to amend his complaint (Doc. 59). The
Court will address each count of the complaint individually.
Motion to Dismiss
12(b)(6) permits a motion to dismiss a complaint for failure
to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
Hallinan v. Fraternal Order of Police Chicago Lodge No.
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
federal pleading standards were retooled by Twombly
and Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009), 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.3d 1074, 1083 (7th Cir.
2008) (citation omitted).
Seventh Circuit offers further guidance on what a complaint
must do to withstand 12(b)(6) dismissal. The Court in
Pugh v. Tribune Co., 521 F.3d 686, 699 (7th Cir.
2008), reiterated the standard: “surviving a Rule
12(b)(6) motion requires more than labels and
conclusions;” the complaint's allegations must
“raise a right to relief above the speculative
level.” A plaintiff's claim “must be
plausible on its face, ” that is, “the complaint
must establish a non-negligible probability that the claim is
valid.” Smith v. Medical Benefit Administrators
Group, Inc., 639 F.3d 277, 281 (7th Cir.2011). With this
in mind, the Court turns to plaintiff's complaint.
Plaintiff's Unjust Enrichment and Breach of Contract
first claim, Harris alleges that defendant breached a
contract for the sale of land. Defendant moves to dismiss
this count on the basis that the agreement is unenforceable
under the Statute of Frauds. Defendant, in their motion to
dismiss, argues that plaintiff's unjust enrichment and
breach of contract claims fail as a matter of law because
plaintiff's amended complaint fails to allege that U.S.
Bank accepted plaintiff's purchase offer. Additionally,
and in the alternative, defendant argues that the Statute of
Frauds bars recovery based on the fact that defendant never
signed plaintiff's Purchase Agreement pertaining to the
sale of land. Ultimately, defendant argues that there was no
acceptance or formation of a contractual agreement, thus