United States District Court, S.D. Florida, Miami Division
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS WITH
LEAVE TO AMEND
FEDERICO A. MORENO UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
case arises out of a purported business relationship between
Plaintiff Jean Paul and Defendant William Ray Norwood, Jr.,
also known as Ray J. Plaintiffs filed a seven-count Complaint
in the Circuit Court of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit of
Florida and Defendants timely removed to this Court.
Plaintiff Jean Paul is the president of I Ride 4 Me, Inc. I
Ride 4 Me, Inc. is a Florida corporation that sold scooter
bikes featuring the brand "iRide4Me." Defendant
Norwood is allegedly the principal of Defendants Raytroniks
Inc. and Rajun Cajun Inc., companies that sell electric
scooter bikes featuring the brand "Scoot-E-Bike."
Plaintiffs allege that Norwood agreed to become an investor,
celebrity endorser and seller of Plaintiffs' iRide4Me
electric scooter. Plaintiffs further allege that on October
10, 2015, Plaintiffs entered into a business plan agreement
for the sale and distribution of iRide4Me electric scooter
bikes with a China-based manufacturing company: Dong Guan
LEHE Intelligent Technology Co. Ltd. Pursuant to the business
plan agreement, Jean Paul and Norwood purportedly finalized
their agreement to enter into a business venture for the sale
and promotion of the iRide4Me scooter in November 2015.
were allegedly short on funding to carry out the business
plan agreement, so in December 2015, Jean Paul submits that
he traveled to New York City and hand delivered two iRide4Me
scooters to Norwood, to be used to obtain financing to
fulfill the first order of scooters contemplated by the
business plan agreement. On December 6, 2015, Jean Paul
purportedly sent Norwood the business plan agreement along
with a separate investor's agreement where Norwood would
tender $25, 000 for the purpose of ordering the first set of
iRide4Me scooters. Plaintiffs submit that Norwood never
signed the agreement but instead made it his own by
completing a contract with LEHE for the distribution and sale
of a similar electric scooter bike, marketed under the name
filed a seven-count Complaint under Florida law alleging: (I)
Tortious Interference with Advantageous Business
Relationship; (II) Civil Theft; (III) Unlawful Conversion;
(IV) a violation of the Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices
Act; (V) Unfair Competition; (VI) Defamation; and (VII)
Unjust Enrichment. Defendants move to partiallydismiss the
Complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief can
be granted. For the following reasons, the Court grants the
Motion with leave to amend the Complaint.
pleading that states a claim for relief must contain ... a
short and plain statement of the claim showing that the
pleader is entitled to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2).
When ruling on a motion to dismiss, a court must view the
complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff and
accept the plaintiffs well-pleaded facts as true. See St.
Joseph's Hosp., Inc. v. Hosp. Corp. of Am.,
795 F.2d 948, 954 (11th Cir. 1986). To survive a motion to
dismiss, a "complaint must contain sufficient factual
matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief
that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). Detailed
factual allegations are not required, but a pleading must
offer more than "labels and conclusions" or "a
formulaic recitation of the elements of the cause of
action." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555; Jackson
v. BellSouth Telecomm., 372 F.3d 1250, 1263 (11th Cir.
2004) ("To survive a motion to dismiss, plaintiffs must
do more than merely state legal conclusions; they are
required to allege some specific factual bases for those
conclusions or face dismissal of their claims."). In
short, the complaint must not merely allege misconduct, but
must demonstrate that the pleader is "entitled to
relief." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 677-78.
argue that Plaintiffs' claims fail because Florida law
prohibits lawsuits for the theft of ideas, absent a signed
writing. The Complaint alleges that Defendants "usurped
Plaintiffs' Business Plan Agreement, Plaintiffs'
concept of the celebrity endorsed electric scooter bike, and
Plaintiffs' ability to have the sole selling privilege in
the United States of the LEHE Kl electric scooter bike."
D.E. 1-2 Ex. A ¶ 29. Defendants rely on Florida Statute
501.972, a section titled "Actions based upon use of a
creation that is not protected under federal copyright law,
" that states in relevant part:
(1) Except as provided in subsection (2), the use of an idea,
procedure, process, system, method of operation, concept,
principle, discovery, thought, or other creation that is not
a work of authorship protected under federal copyright law
does not give rise to a claim or cause of action, in law or
in equity, unless the parties to the claim or cause of action
have executed a writing sufficient to indicate that a
contract has been made between them governing such use.
(2) Subsection (1) does not affect or limit:
(a) Any cause of action based in copyright, trademark,
patent, or trade secret; or
(b) Any defense raised in connection with a cause of action
described in paragraph (a).
claim $30, 000, 000 in damages for the theft and unauthorized
use of (1) Plaintiffs' business plan agreement; (2) two
iRide4Me scooters; and (3) the concept of the celebrity
endorsed electric scooter bike. D.E. 1-2 Ex. A ¶ 56.
Thus, the Court must analyze whether the relief sought by
Plaintiffs is preempted by ...