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American Marine Tech., Inc. v. World Group Yachting, Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. Florida

October 11, 2019

AMERICAN MARINE TECH, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
WORLD GROUP YACHTING, INC., et al., Defendants.

          Valle, Judge

          ORDER

          BETH BLOOM, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         THIS CAUSE is before the Court upon Plaintiff's American Marine Tech., Inc's (“American Marine”) Motion to Dismiss Counts I and III of Defendants' Counterclaim, ECF No. [42] (the “Motion”). The Court has carefully reviewed the Motion, all opposing and supporting materials, the record and applicable law, and is otherwise fully advised. For the reasons that follow, the Motion is granted.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The Plaintiff, American Marine, is a vessel repair and service facility and parts provider located in Palm Beach County, Florida. ECF No. [1], at ¶ 1. The M/Y ALCHEMIST, is a 1995 105' Mangusta recreational vessel, MMSI 368017950, call sign DJ8591 (the “Vessel”). Id. at ¶ 2. Defendant World Group Yachting, Inc. (“World Group”) is the owner of the Vessel. Id. at ¶ 5.

         Plaintiff alleges that in July 2016, Defendant World Group, through its agent and representative, Gary Blonder (“Blonder”) on behalf of Yacht Charter Group (“Yachter Charter”), entered into a service agreement (the “Service Agreement”) with American Marine to provide materials and services to the Vessel. Id. at ¶ 7. The materials and work contemplated by the Service Agreement included “a total engine repower from Dentz engines to two MTU 2000 V-16 M91 engines, and [the] associated and additional materials and services, including mechanical work [and] electrical work.” Id. Plaintiff has attached a copy of the Service Agreement to its Complaint, which has been executed by Blonder and Yacht Charter. See Exh. A, ECF No. [1-1].

         Plaintiff claims that it fully performed the services and materials as agreed upon in the Service Agreement. Id. at ¶¶ 10, 14. Plaintiff further alleges that World Group, Blonder, and Yacht Charter have failed to pay its outstanding balance of $55, 645.20 for services and materials provided by American Marine, despite repeated demands for payment. Id. at ¶¶ at 11-3. Plaintiff claims as a direct and proximate result of this failure to pay, it has incurred and paid significant expenses for salaries and wages, and materials. Id. at ¶ 15. Plaintiff has asserted a claim for Enforcement of Lien for Necessaries against the Vessel (Count I); a claim for breach of contract against the Vessel (Count II); and a claim for breach of contract against World Group Yachting (Count III) in its Complaint. See generally ECF No. [1].

         On July 1, 2019, Defendants World Group and the Vessel (collectively referred to as “Defendants”) filed their Amended Answer asserting three counterclaims against the Plaintiff. ECF No. [41] (the “Counterclaim”). The Counterclaim included claims for negligence (Count I); breach of implied warranty of workmanlike performance (Count II); and unjust enrichment (Count III) against the Plaintiff. Id.

         In the Counterclaim, Defendants allege that the Service Agreement was entered into by American Marine and Yacht Charter to perform certain work related to installing engines onboard the Vessel. Id. at 6. Defendants have also attached a copy of the Service Agreement to their Counterclaim. See ECF No. [41-1]. Defendants allege that American Marine initially agreed to complete the work promised in the Service Agreement for an estimated $86, 020.00. ECF No. [41], at 6. The Defendants claim that the Service Agreement also contains a provision, which states that the estimate would not “exceed more than 10% of the base amount without a signed authorization.” Id. The Defendants allege that American Marine agreed that the “Owner's staff [would] perform requested labor which will be subtracted from [the estimated amount].” Id.

         Defendants claim that once American Marine began performing the work promised in the Service Agreement, there were “numerous problems with the quality of AMT's workmanship.” Id. Defendants assert that the work was delayed far beyond the 8-10 weeks originally estimated by American Marine. Id. at 7. Defendants allege that American Marine was ultimately paid $96, 184.38. Id. Defendants contend that this amount reflected more than the additional 10% maximum that American Marine could charge without a signed authorization, and that a signed authorization was never executed. Id. at 7-8. Therefore, Defendants allege that American Marine has overbilled for the work that was done. Id. at 8. Defendants estimate that the amount overbilled is at least $1, 561.92 but is potentially “much higher” as they assert that the Plaintiff never credited the work done by the Owner's crew as previously agreed. Id.

         Plaintiff has now moved to dismiss the Defendants claims for negligence (Count I) and unjust enrichment (Count III) for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. ECF No. [42].

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         A pleading in a civil action 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). Although a complaint “does not need detailed factual allegations, ” it must provide “more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007); see Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (explaining that Rule 8(a)(2)'s pleading standard “demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation”). Nor can a complaint rest on “‘naked assertion[s]' devoid of ‘further factual enhancement.'” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557 (alteration in original)). “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.'” Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570).

         When reviewing a motion under Rule 12(b)(6), a court, as a general rule, must accept the plaintiff's allegations as true and evaluate all plausible inferences derived from those facts in favor of the plaintiff. See Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Fla. v. S. Everglades Restoration Alliance, 304 F.3d 1076, 1084 (11th Cir. 2002); AXA Equitable Life Ins. Co. v. Infinity Fin. Grp., LLC, 608 F.Supp.2d 1349, 1353 (S.D. Fla. 2009). However, this tenet does not apply to legal conclusions, and courts “are not bound to accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555; see Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678; Thaeter v. Palm Beach Cty. Sheriff's Office, 449 F.3d 1342, 1352 (11th Cir. 2006). Pleadings that “are no more than conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of truth. While legal conclusions can provide the framework of a complaint, they must be supported by factual allegations.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679; see also Sinaltrainal v. Coca-Cola Co., 578 F.3d 1252, 1260 (11th Cir. 2009) (“‘[U]nwarranted deductions of fact' in a complaint are not admitted as true for the purpose of testing the sufficiency of plaintiff's allegations.”). Moreover, “courts ...


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