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Fractional Villas, Inc. v. Tahoe Clubhouse

January 22, 2009

FRACTIONAL VILLAS, INC., PLAINTIFF,
v.
TAHOE CLUBHOUSE; GOT IT! REAL ESTATE AND DEVELOPMENT CORP.; DOES 1 THROUGH 25; DEL LAFOUNTAIN; RENE BREJC; WEBRESULTS; LARRY DRAUT, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Irma E. Gonzalez, Chief Judge United States District Court

ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS AND DENYING MOTION FOR MORE DEFINITE STATEMENT (Doc. No. 15.)

Presently before the Court is a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss of defendants Tahoe Clubhouse, Got It! Real Estate, Rene Brejc, and Del LaFountain. (Doc. No. 15.) Alternatively, defendants request a more definite statement pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(e). Defendants WebResults and Larry Draut did not join this motion. Plaintiff opposed and defendant replied.

BACKGROUND

The following factual background is based upon allegations contained in plaintiff's complaint.

A. The Parties

Plaintiff is a California corporation that provides real-estate marketing services to sellers of fractional ownership shares in real property. Fractional ownership involves buyers obtaining title as tenants in common with other buyers.

Defendant Del LaFountain is an individual and owner of Defendant Tahoe Clubhouse, a California entity doing business in Southern California. Defendant Rene Brejc is an individual who owns Defendant Got It! Real Estate and Development Corp. Defendant Larry Draut is an individual who works as a web designer for Defendant WebResults.

B. Factual Background

Plaintiff promotes its services on its website, www.fractionalvillas.com ("plaintiff's website"). On October 11, 2007, plaintiff obtained a federally registered copyright for the material on its website. Plaintiff's website includes information regarding fractional ownership, frequently asked questions, relevant legal issues, pricing, and available properties. Each page of plaintiff's website includes a prominent notice of registered copyright protection.

Moving defendants are plaintiff's competitors in the fractional ownership market and promote themselves on the website www.TahoeClubhouse.com ("defendants' website"). Defendants' website copied extensive portions of plaintiff's website verbatim, including the information regarding fractional ownership, frequently asked questions, and relevant legal issues. Defendants allegedly did not have permission to use any portion of the protected content of its website.

C. Procedural

On July 31, 2008, plaintiff filed a complaint alleging copyright infringement of United States Copyright No. TX-6-613-055, federal unfair competition violations, and California state unfair competition violations. (Doc. No. 1.)

On December 1, 2008, defendants LaFountain, Tahoe Clubhouse, Brejc, and Got It! Real Estate filed the present motion to dismiss pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) or, alternatively, for a more definite statement pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(e). Plaintiff opposed the motion.

LEGAL STANDARD

A. Motion to Dismiss

A motion to dismiss pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) tests the legal sufficiency of the claims asserted in the complaint. Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). To avoid a Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal, a complaint need not contain detailed factual allegations; rather, it must plead "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.544 (2007). The court's review is limited to the contents of the complaint and must accept all factual allegations pled in the complaint as true, drawing all reasonable inferences from them in favor of the nonmoving party. Cahill v. Liberty Mutual Ins. Co., 80 F.3d 336, 337-38 (9th Cir.1996). In spite of this deference, it is not proper for the court to assume that "the [plaintiff] can prove facts which [he or she] has not alleged." Associated General Contractors of California, Inc. v. California State Council of Carpenters, 459 U.S. 519, 526 (1983). ...


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