United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
CATCH 26, LLC, an Illinois Limited Liability Company, GAS CAP FUELS, LLC, an Illinois Limited Liability Company, and GRAYSLAKE STOP & SHOP, LLC, an Illinois Limited Liability Company, Plaintiffs,
LGP REALTY HOLDINGS, LP, a Delaware Limited Partnership, as successor by assignment from PT, LLC, BAPA, LLC and STATE OIL COMPANY and LEHIGH GAS WHOLESALE, LLC, a Delaware Limited Liability Company, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
JOHNSON COLEMAN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE.
defendants' motion to dismiss  is granted in part and
denied in part. The plaintiffs' Petroleum Marketing
Practices Act (PMPA) claims are dismissed with respect to the
Grayslake and Woodstock locations. The plaintiffs' PMPA
claim as to the Ingleside location remains pending, and this
Court exercises its supplemental jurisdiction over all of the
remaining claims in this case.
background of this case is fully set forth in this
Court's prior rulings on the plaintiff's multiple
motions for preliminary restraining orders. The defendants
now move this Court, through a motion filed prior to those
rulings, to dismiss the plaintiffs' federal claims for
failure to state a claim, to decline to exercise supplemental
jurisdiction over the remaining claims, and accordingly to
dismiss this action.
motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6) tests the legal sufficiency of the complaint, not
the merits of the allegations. The allegations must contain
sufficient factual material to raise a plausible right to
relief. Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 569 n.14, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007).
Although Rule 8 does not require a plaintiff to plead
particularized facts, the complaint must allege factual
“allegations that raise a right to relief above the
speculative level.” Arnett v. Webster, 658
F.3d 742, 751-52 (7th Cir. 2011). Put differently, Rule 8
“does not require ‘detailed factual allegations,
' but it demands more than an unadorned,
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct.
1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009), see also Fed. R. Civ.
P. 8(a). When ruling on a motion to dismiss, the Court must
accept all well-pleaded factual allegations in the complaint
as true and draw all reasonable inferences in the
plaintiff's favor. Park v. Ind. Univ. Sch. of
Dentistry, 692 F.3d 828, 830 (7th Cir. 2012).
initial matter, the Court notes that the defendants offer a
conclusory argument that the plaintiffs' federal claims
must be dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction
under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1), based on the
plaintiffs' failure to satisfy the eligibility
requirements of the PMPA. The PMPA, however, does not contain
any language suggesting that compliance with the definitions
contained within it is a jurisdictional prerequisite to suit.
See Arbaugh v. Y&H Corp., 546 U.S. 500, 516, 126
S.Ct. 1235, 163 L.Ed.2d 1097 (2006) (“[W]hen Congress
does not rank a statutory limitation on coverage as
jurisdictional, courts should treat the restriction as
nonjurisdictional in character.”). Accordingly, the
plaintiffs' satisfaction of the statutory definitions of
the PMPA is not a prerequisite to this Court's exercise
of subject matter jurisdiction over their federal claims and
there is no basis for dismissing their claims pursuant to
Rule 12(b)(1). The Court accordingly turns to the question of
whether the plaintiffs are able to state a claim on which
relief may be granted under the PMPA.
defendants contend that the plaintiffs' PMPA claims as to
the Grayslake and Woodstock locations must be dismissed
because those locations are not subject to the PMPA. The
Court was already required to answer the question of whether
the PMPA applied to the Grayslake and Woodstock locations in
its October 27, 2017, opinion on the plaintiffs' motion
seeking a preliminary injunction under the PMPA. At that
time, the Court concluded that the express provisions of the
PMPA did not apply to the Grayslake and Woodstock locations
and that neither the defendants past conduct nor the
cross-default provisions contained in the plaintiffs'
contracts with the defendants were capable of altering that
outcome. The parties subsequently completed their briefing of
the present motion, adding further nuance to their arguments
on these points. The present motion to dismiss occupies a
different procedural posture than the prior motion, and this
Court accordingly will consider the parties' renewed
arguments as to the applicability of the PMPA.
speaking, the PMPA protects the interests of franchisees by
regulating when and how gas station franchises can be
terminated. Under section 2801(1)(A) of the PMPA, the term
franchise is defined as:
(1) between a refiner and a distributor,
(ii) between a refiner and a retailer,
(iii) between a distributor and another ...