United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Southern Division
OWEN BOWDRE CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
fraud and breach of contract case comes before the court on
Plaintiff Ronald Riggins's “Motion to Dismiss P. I.
& I.'s Counterclaims” (doc. 20). The court will
GRANT IN PART AND DENY IN PART Mr. Riggins's motion to
dismiss the counterclaim.
court will GRANT the motion as to P. I. & I.'s unjust
enrichment claim because P. I. & I. consents to its
dismissal. The court will DISMISS WITH PREJUDICE P. I. &
I.'s unjust enrichment allegation. However, for the
reasons discussed below, the court will DENY Mr.
Riggins's motion to dismiss the counterclaim in all other
evaluate a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss a counterclaim
using the same standard as a motion to dismiss a complaint.
Generally, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require only
that a counterclaim provide “‘a short and plain
statement of the claim' that will give the [counterclaim
defendant] fair notice of what the [counterclaim
plaintiff's] claim is and the grounds upon which it
rests.” Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47
(1957) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)). A counterclaim plaintiff
must provide the grounds of his entitlement, but Rule 8
generally does not require “detailed factual
allegations.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley, 355 U.S. at
47). It does, however, “demand[ ] more than an
accusation.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009). Pleadings that contain nothing more than “a
formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of
action” do not meet Rule 8 standards nor do pleadings
suffice that are based merely upon “labels or
conclusions” or “naked assertions” without
supporting factual allegations. Twombly, 550 U.S. at
Supreme Court explained that “[t]o 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.'” Iqbal, 556 U.S.
at 678 (quoting and explaining its decision in
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). To be plausible on its
face, the counterclaim must contain enough facts that
“allow[ ] the court to draw the reasonable inference
that the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.
court takes the facts as alleged in P. I. & I.'s
countercomplaint (doc. 11) as true. P. I. & I. provides
truck drivers for U.S. Steel's plant in Fairfield,
Alabama. Mr. Riggins was, for a time, one of those truck
2010, Mr. Riggins and P. I. & I. entered into a contract.
Mr. Riggins promised to haul steel and related materials for
U.S. Steel in Fairfield. In exchange, P. I. & I agreed to
pay Mr. Riggins based on “shipping logs and hourly time
records” that Mr. Riggins submitted to P. I. & I.
reflecting the time he worked at U.S. Steel's plant.
the arrangement, Mr. Riggins submitted his shipping logs and
hourly time records to P. I. & I., and P. I. & I.
forwarded them to U.S. Steel. U.S. Steel then paid P. I.
& I. for Mr. Riggins's work, and, finally, P. I.
& I. paid Mr. Riggins. Mr. Riggins worked for P. I. &
I. and U.S. Steel from May 2010 through March 2015.
March 9, 2015, U.S. Steel told P. I. & I. that Mr.
Riggins could no longer work at the Fairfield plant. U.S.
Steel told P. I. & I. that Mr. Riggins had been
falsifying his shipping logs and time records, leading to
U.S. Steel's overpaying P. I. & I.
& I. initially maintained that Mr. Riggins's
records-and U.S. Steel's payments to P. I. & I. under
their contract-were proper. However, in a November 2016
meeting, U.S. Steel told P. I. & I. that it overpaid P.
I. & I. $350, 000 between January 2012 and December
2014.And P. I. & I. learned that U.S. Steel
had been “track[ing] the logistics of all deliveries
entering and leaving its Fairfield plant including the number
of hours each owner operator spent within the Fairfield
plant.” (Doc. 11 at 9). This evidence convinced P. I.
& I. that Mr. Riggins falsified the documents.
P.I. & I.'s Counterclaim Allegations
& I. alleges that Mr. Riggins committed fraud, breached
their contract, and unjustly enriched himself by his actions.
As noted above, P. I. & I. consents to dismissal of its
unjust enrichment allegation.
fraud, P. I. & I. alleges that Mr. Riggins knowingly and
intentionally submitted falsified time logs and shipping
documents to U.S. Steel. P. I. & I. adds that Mr. Riggins
owed it a duty to report these logs and documents accurately
under their contract. P. I. & I. states that it relied on
those documents in requesting and receiving payment from U.S.
Steel. In addition, P. I. & I. states that ...