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Asharf Haroun and Saad Haroun v. Hany Haroun; Christine Haroun; Jj Corporation of the Florida Keys

February 8, 2012

ASHARF HAROUN AND SAAD HAROUN, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
HANY HAROUN; CHRISTINE HAROUN; JJ CORPORATION OF THE FLORIDA KEYS; SOUTHEAST QUALITY FOODS, INC.; AND DOES 1-100, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Ronald S.W. Lew Senior, U.S. District Court Judge

ORDER Re: Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Complaint [5]

Before the Court is Defendants Hany Haroun, Christine Haroun, JJ Corporation of the Florida Keys, Southeast Quality Foods, Inc.'s ("Defendants") Motion to Dismiss Complaint [5]. This Motion was set for hearing on December 13, 2011 and taken under submission on December 5, 2011. Having reviewed all the papers and arguments submitted pertaining to this Motion, THE COURT NOW FINDS AND RULES AS FOLLOWS:

The Court hereby GRANTS Defendants' Motion to Dismiss and DISMISSES the Complaint without leave to amend due to lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

I. BACKGROUND

At the heart of this action is a family dispute regarding the proper use of family trust fund money. Including the current Action, there are three different cases that arise out of the same set of facts. The following cases have been filed in three separate jurisdictions: (1) an initial action in Florida state court filed by Defendants, (2) a California Superior Court action filed by Plaintiffs, and (3) the current federal court Action in which Plaintiffs assert the same claims as in the California Superior Court action.

First, regarding the Florida state court action, on September 16, 2010, Defendant Hany Haroun (hereafter "Defendant Hany") filed a complaint ("Florida complaint") in Florida State Court against Plaintiff Ashraf Haroun (hereafter "Plaintiff Ashraf"). In the Florida complaint, Defendant Hany alleges that he and Plaintiff Ashraf entered into a partnership agreement to purchase real property in Florida for the construction of a Denny's restaurant ("the Florida property"). Defendant Hany alleges that he was the only financier of the Florida property and that Plaintiff Ashraf stole $400,000, earmarked for the Florida property, for his own personal use. In the Florida complaint, Defendant Hany asserts claims for

(1) Breach of Florida Revised Uniform Partnership Act and (2) civil theft. The Florida action is currently set for trial in Florida state court on March 20, 2012.

Second, regarding the California Superior Court action, on November 3, 2010, Plaintiffs filed a lawsuit in California Superior Court making allegations that arise from the same factual circumstances as the Florida Complaint. However, in the California Superior Court Complaint ("California complaint"), Plaintiffs allege that Defendants conspired to own the Florida property for themselves by misappropriating family trust fund money. Plaintiffs allege that Defendants withdrew more that $513,000 from family trust funds and are now claiming that the money is their own. Plaintiffs allege that Defendant have used the family trust fund money without permission to purchase the Florida property. As such, Plaintiffs asked the California Superior Court to order Defendants to hold the Florida property in constructive trust for the benefit of Plaintiffs. Plaintiffs have also asked for partition of the Florida property. On February 7, 2011, Defendants moved for a stay of the California Superior Court Action. On April 5, 2011, the California Superior Court granted Defendants' Motion to Stay "due to the pending Florida action."

On September 30, 2011, Plaintiffs filed a Complaint in this Court against Defendants, which upon review, is essentially the same as the California complaint [1]. On November 14, 2011, Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss, alleging that this Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction because the Florida State Court is currently exercising jurisdiction over the Florida property [5].

II. DISCUSSION

A. Judicial Notice

Defendants request that the Court take judicial

notice of ten documents associated with the California and Florida state court proceedings. Generally, a court may not consider material beyond the complaint in ruling on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b). However, "[a] court may take judicial notice of 'matters of public record' without converting a motion to dismiss into a motion for summary judgment," as long as the facts noticed are not "subject to reasonable dispute." Lee v. City of Los Angeles, 250 F.3d 668, 689 (9th Cir. 2001) (citations omitted).

Pursuant to this standard, the Court hereby GRANTS Defendants' Request for Judicial Notice of the ten court documents from both the California and Florida state proceedings. The Court finds that these documents are a matter ...


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