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Total Marketing Technologies, Inc. D/B/A Air Ambulance Network v. Angel Medflight Worldwide Air Ambulance Services

January 6, 2012

TOTAL MARKETING TECHNOLOGIES, INC. D/B/A AIR AMBULANCE NETWORK, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ANGEL MEDFLIGHT WORLDWIDE AIR AMBULANCE SERVICES, LLC, AND ANGEL JET SERVICES, LLC, DEFENDANTS.



ORDER

This matter comes before the Court pursuant to the Motion to Dismiss Counts I, II and IV of Counterclaim and Third-Party Complaint, or in the alternative, Motion for More Definite Statement (Doc. # 28), filed on September 6, 2011, by Counterclaim-Defendant Total Marketing Technologies, Inc. d/b/a/ Air Ambulance Network ("Air Ambulance") and Third-Party Defendant Terri Peat. Counterclaim-Plaintiff/Third-Party Plaintiff Angel Jet Services filed a response in opposition on September 30, 2011 (Doc. # 32). For the reasons that follow, the Court grants the Motion in part and denies it in part.

I. Background

Air Ambulance filed suit against Angel Medflight on December 1, 2010, alleging breach of oral contract (Count I) and quantum meruit (Count II) with regard to Angel Medflight's handling of insurance reimbursement applications on Air Ambulance's behalf. Air Ambulance alleges that Angel Medflight failed to remit to Air Ambulance 50% of certain insurance reimbursements Angel Medflight received as required by the parties' oral contract. Angel Jet Services filed its Answer and Affirmative Defenses on January 17, 2011 (Doc. # 6), noting that Air Ambulance improperly named Angel Medflight as Defendant.

On August 1, 2011, Air Ambulance moved this court for leave to file an Amended Complaint and to add Angel Jet Services as a Defendant (Doc. # 18). Air Ambulance averred that Angel Medflight holds no assets and is used by Angel Jet Services as a d/b/a but sought to add Angel Jet rather than substitute parties due to uncertainty as to the corporate structure.*fn1 (Id. at ¶ 3). The Court granted that motion on August 2, 2011 (Doc. # 20), and Air Ambulance filed its Amended Complaint on August 9, 2011 (Doc. # 23).

Also on August 1, 2011, Angel Jet filed a Motion for Leave to File Counterclaim and Third Party Complaint (Doc. # 19). Angel Jet stated that it had discovered information giving rise to claims against Air Ambulance and Terri Peat that arise from the same or similar facts and circumstances as the original Complaint. (Id. at ¶ 3). The Court granted that motion on August 2, 2011 (Doc. # 21), and Angel Jet filed its Counterclaim and Third Party Complaint (Doc. # 25) on August 10, 2011.

Angel Jet asserts four counts: tortious interference with prospective business relationships against Air Ambulance and Peat (Count I), conversion against Peat and Air Ambulance (Count II), breach of duty of loyalty against Peat (Count III), and copyright infringement against Air Ambulance (Count IV). Air Ambulance and Peat move to dismiss Counts I, II and IV of the Counterclaim and Third-Party Complaint or, in the alternative, for a more definite statement (Doc. # 28).*fn2

II. Legal Standard

A motion to dismiss a counterclaim pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) is evaluated in the same manner as a motion to dismiss a complaint. Whitney Info. Network, Inc. v. Gagnon, 353 F. Supp. 2d 1208, 1212 (M.D. Fla. 2005). On a motion to dismiss, this Court accepts as true all the allegations in the counterclaim and construes them in the light most favorable to the counter-claimant. Jackson v. Bellsouth Telecomms., 372 F.3d 1250, 1262 (11th Cir. 2004). Further, this Court favors the counter-claimant with all reasonable inferences from the allegations in the counterclaim. Stephens v. Dep't of Health & Human Servs., 901 F.2d 1571, 1573 (11th Cir. 1990) ("On a motion to dismiss, the facts stated in [the counterclaim] and all reasonable inferences therefrom are taken as true.").

In Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, the Supreme Court articulated the standard by which claims should be evaluated on a motion to dismiss:

While a [counterclaim] attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds of his entitlement to relief requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do. Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level. 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (internal citations omitted). A plausible claim for relief must include "factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009).

Air Ambulance and Peat move, in the alternative, for a more definite statement. Where a complaint fails to sufficiently specify the allegations, the defendant's remedy is to move for a more definite statement under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(e): "A party may move for a more definite statement of a pleading to which a responsive pleading is allowed but which is so vague or ambiguous that the party cannot reasonably prepare a response. The motion . . . must point out the defects complained of and the details desired." However, motions for more definite statement are generally disfavored by federal courts. Palma Vista Condo. Assoc. of Hillsborough Co., Inc. v. Nationwide Mut. Fire Ins. Co., No. 8:09-cv-155-T-27EAJ, 2010 WL 2293265, at *1 (M.D. Fla. June 7, 2010).

III. Analysis

A. Tortious Interference

In Count I of the Counterclaim and Third-Party Complaint, Angel Jet alleges that Peat, during her last days of employment with Angel Jet, diverted calls from Angel Jet's existing and prospective customers to Air Ambulance. (Doc. # 25 at ¶ 16). Angel Jet asserts that Air Ambulance was aware of these prospective business relationships, and that such relationships were likely to provide economic benefit to Angel Jet had Air Ambulance and Peat not interfered. (Id. at ¶¶ 28-29). Angel Jet alleges that Air Ambulance ...


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