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Prestige Restaurants and Entertainment, Inc. v. Bayside Seafood Restaurant

February 22, 2010


The opinion of the court was delivered by: The Honorable Alan S. Gold United States District Judge


I. Introduction

THIS CAUSE is before the Court upon two Motions to Dismiss Plaintiff's Amended Complaint [DE 2]; [DE 9]. The first motion was filed by Defendants City of Miami, Officer Marta Cabana ("Cabana"), and Commander Lorenzo Whitehead ("Whitehead") (collectively, "the City Defendants"). See [DE 2]. The second was filed Defendants Bayside Seafood Restaurant, Inc. ("BSR"), Blue Green Bay Corporation ("Blue-Green"), Armando LaCasa ("A. Lacasa") and Carlos LaCasa ("C. Lacasa") (collectively "the Bayside Defendants"). Plaintiff Prestige Restaurants and Entertainment, Inc. ("Prestige" or "Plaintiff") filed responses in opposition to both motions [DE 13]; [DE 15], and the City Defendants filed a reply to Plaintiff's response. See [DE 22]. Having carefully considered the relevant submissions, the applicable law, and the oral arguments of the parties as presented to this Court on Friday February 5, 2010, I dismiss Plaintiff's federal claims with prejudice for the reasons that follow. Because Plaintiff has failed to state a claim over which I have original jurisdiction,*fn1 I also dismiss Plaintiff's state law claims, though these claims are dismissed without prejudice to Plaintiff's ability pursue them in state court. See

28 U.S.C. § 1367(c)(3).

II. Background*fn2

Plaintiff Prestige is a Florida corporation that organizes and promotes events with Caribbean musical and cultural themes. [DE 1 at p. 7]. Defendant BSR is a Florida corporation that occupies and oversees a combination restaurant-nightclub establishment ("the Bayside Hut") in Key Biscayne, Florida pursuant to a Revocable Permit provided by the City of Miami, the owner of the property on which the Bayside Hut is located. [Id. at pp. 7-8].Armando and Carlos Lacasa are Miami-Dade County residents and the shareholders of Defendant Blue-Green, a Florida corporation that operates the restaurant portion of the Bayside Hut. [Id.].

The nightclub portion of the Bayside Hut, on the other hand, has been operated by Plaintiff Prestige since July 2008 pursuant to a series of agreements ("the nightclub agreements") it entered into with non-party Bayside Management of Key Biscayne ("BMK"), whereby BMK assigned to Prestige its right to operate the nightclub portion of the Bayside Hut. [Id. at pp. 8-9]. Specifically, Prestige was assigned certain rights provided by a Management Agreement originally entered into between BMK and BSR ("the Management Agreement"), giving Prestige the right to "operate the [nightclub] fifty-two (52) weeks per year, seven (7) days per week, from 11:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m.," with certain restrictions that are immaterial for the purposes of this Order. [Id. at p. 37]. The Management Agreement provides that it is terminable (a) "without cause"; or (b) with cause "with ten (10) days prior written notice" in the event of certain uncured (or uncurable) material breaches. [Id. at pp. 39-40]. Pursuant to the nightclub agreements, Prestige became the exclusive manager and operator of the nightclub. [Id.].

In accordance with the nightclub agreements, Prestige "promoted and managed the [nightclub] for BMK without incident until October 2008." [Id. at p. 10]. Starting in October 2008, however, Defendant Blue-Green began to make renovations to the restaurant portion of the Bayside Hut, which allegedly interfered with the main bar located in the nightclub area. [Id.]. As a result of these renovations, Prestige lost profits and revenue from decreased patronage and liquor sales. [Id. at p. 11]. In November 2008, the relationships between BSR, Blue-Green, and Prestige "continued to degrade" and the tensions between the parties escalated. [Id.]. According to Plaintiff, Defendant Armando LaCasa would continuously refer to Prestige's patrons as "those type of people" and to the music Prestige played as "that type of music." [Id. at pp. 11, 12].

Though tensions remained high, Prestige continued its event operations at the nightclub without incident until March 10, 2009, when it received a letter from BSR declaring Prestige in breach of contract and revoking Prestige's authority to operate parties at the nightclub. [Id. at p. 83]. In response, Prestige sent BSR a letter on March 18, 2009 "den[ying] that BSR had a right to terminate the contract" and asserting that "because [Prestige] was not in breach of contract, it would continue to hold its events on the Premises and that any cease and desist order to the contrary must be issued by a court." [Id. at p. 13].

In accordance with its expressed written intent to continue holding events at the Bayside Hut, Prestige scheduled an event for April 25, 2009, for which it sold approximately $25,000 in advance tickets. [Id. at p. 14]. When Prestige went to set-up for the event, its representatives were met at the entrance by the Lacasas, Officer Carbana, and several guards, all of whom blocked Prestige's entrance to the premises. [Id.]. The Lacasas told Officer Carbana that they were entitled to possession of the premises and that Prestige was trespassing, at which point Officer Carbana reviewed documents presented to her by the Lacasas. [Id. at 14, 15]. When Prestige's representatives requested that Officer Carbana allow them to explain Prestige's position, Officer Carbana refused and proceeded made a telephone call to her supervisor, Commander Whitehead, to discuss the situation. [Id. at 15]. After speaking with Commander Whitehead, who discussed the matter with the City attorneys, Officer Carbana reported that the only names appearing in the City's records were the Lacasas', and that she had been ordered to remove Prestige from the premises. [Id.]. Accordingly, Prestige was forced to cancel the event. [Id.].

In addition to constituting a contractual breach, Prestige claims that the events of April 25, 2009 were "planned . . . calculated" and motivated by racial animus. [Id. at p.16]. Although Plaintiff alleges no direct nexus between the City Defendants and A. Lacasa's allegedly discriminatory remarks, it maintains that "Blue-Green, the Lacasas, Officer Carbana, Commander Whitehead, and [] the City, acting under color of state law . . . conspired to cause and did cause Prestige to be illegally deprived of its right of possession of the Premises and its chattels" and "unlawfully discriminat[ed] against Prestige in derogation [sic] of its civil rights" by preventing Plaintiff from entering the Bayside Hut on the evening in question. [Id. at 15-16].

As a result of these allegedly unlawful acts, Prestige filed a complaint in Miami-Dade County Circuit Court -- which was subsequently amended -- asserting numerous state and federal claims against Defendants. [Id. at pp. 1-31]. Counts one through six of Plaintiff's Amended Complaint assert state law claims for declaratory relief, breach of the nightclub agreements, tortious interference with contractual relations, wrongful eviction, trespass, and tortious conversion; counts seven through twelve are federal claims asserting violations of 42 U.S.C. § § 1983, 1981, 1982, 1985, and 1986. [Id.]. After the City Defendants removed this matter to federal court, see [DE 1], the Bayside Defendants and the City Defendants filed the instant motions to dismiss.

III. Standard of Review

For the purposes of a motion to dismiss, my review is "limited to the four corners of the complaint" and any documents referred to in the complaint which are central to the claim. St. George v. Pinellas Cty., 285 F.3d 1334, 1337 (11th Cir. 2002). Thus, for the purposes of deciding Defendant's motion, only the contents of Plaintiff's Amended Complaint and the attached exhibits will ...

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