United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Northern Division
HIGHLAND TRUCKING, LLC, SOUTHERN ARMOUR FREIGHT, INC., KK'S TRUCKING, LLC, JEB EXPRESS, LLC, and GAP TRUCKING, LLC, Individually and on behalf of themselves and Others similarly situated Plaintiffs,
FLEETMATICS, a Verizon Corporation d/b/a VERIZON CONNECT FLEET USA, LLC and VERIZON CONNECT FLEET USA, LLC, Defendants.
OWEN BOWDRE CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
1984, the fast food chain Wendy's introduced the
catchphrase “Where's the beef?” into the
American lexicon. See Wikipedia, Where's the
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Where%27s_the_beef%3F (as of
Jan. 23, 2019, 10:00 CST). The commercial featured three
elderly women examining a hamburger that featured “a
very big fluffy bun” but a disappointingly miniscule
patty. Today, the phrase typically expresses a skeptical
attitude toward something that offers fluff but no substance.
matter comes before the court on Defendants' motion to
dismiss Plaintiffs' complaint for failing to state a
federal cause of action. (Doc. 9). Despite invoking 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983, the complaint failed to identify a federally
protected right or to allege that Defendants acted under
color of law. So this court ordered Plaintiffs to show cause
why this court should not dismiss this case without prejudice
for lack of subject matter jurisdiction-its own way of asking
“where's the beef?” (Doc. 12). But
Plaintiffs' response, (doc. 13), and proposed amended
complaint, (doc. 15-1) did not provide any beef, only more
the reasons stated below, this court will DENY
Plaintiffs' motion to amend their complaint as futile and
will GRANT Defendants' motion to dismiss and will DISMISS
WITHOUT PREJUDICE Plaintiffs' complaint for lack of
subject matter jurisdiction.
Standard of Review
12(b)(1) motion to dismiss standard of review
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) permits a district court to
dismiss for “lack of subject-matter
jurisdiction.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1). “A
defendant can move to dismiss a complaint under Rule 12(b)(1)
for lack of subject matter jurisdiction by either facial or
factual attack.” Stalley v. Orlando Reg'l
Healthcare Sys., 524 F.3d 1229, 1232 (11th Cir. 2008).
For a facial attack, which Defendants bring, the court
accepts as true the factual allegations in the complaint and
merely looks to see “if the plaintiff has sufficiently
alleged a basis of subject matter jurisdiction.”
Id.at 1232-33 (quotation marks, citation, and
1331 of Title 28 of the United States Code provides that
“[t]he district courts shall have original jurisdiction
of all civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or
treaties of the United States.” 28 U.S.C. § 1331.
In general, “a case arises under federal law only if it
is federal law that creates the cause of action.”
Diaz v. Sheppard, 85 F.3d 1502, 1505 (11th Cir.
1996). The case may also arise under federal law if
“the right to relief under state law requires
resolution of a substantial question of federal law
in dispute between the parties.” Id.
(quotation marks omitted) (emphasis added). “[T]he mere
presence of a federal issue in a state cause of action”
is not substantial and does not confer subject matter
jurisdiction on the court. Id. (quotation marks
12(b)(6) motion to dismiss standard of review
move to dismiss Count One of Plaintiffs' complaint under
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). A Rule 12(b)(6)
motion to dismiss attacks the legal sufficiency of the
complaint. Generally, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
require only that the complaint provide “‘a short
and plain statement of the claim' that will give the
defendant fair notice of what the 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 plaintiff must provide the grounds of her
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 unadorned,
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 555, 557.
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 claim 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. Although “[t]he plausibility standard
is not akin to a ‘probability requirement, '”
the complaint must demonstrate “more than a sheer
possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.”
Id. “Where a complaint pleads facts that are
merely consistent with a defendant's liability, it
‘stops short of the line between possibility and
plausibility of entitlement to relief.'”
Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557). If
the court determines that well-pleaded facts, accepted as
true, do not state a claim that is plausible, the claim must
be dismissed. Id.
United States Congress enacted the Moving Ahead for Progress
in the 21st Century Bill in 2012. The bill governs federal
surface transportation spending and specifically includes a
provision requiring the Federal Motor Carrier Safety
Administration to develop a rule mandating that commercial
motor vehicles use electronic logging devices (ELDs) to
ensure drivers' compliance with Hours of Service
all private trucking and hauling companies, allege that they
contracted with Defendants, both private companies, to timely
install compliant ELDs in the Plaintiffs' fleet, as well
as provide necessary maintenance, training, customer service,
and monitoring. (Doc. 1 at ¶ 12). Despite the alleged