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Rutherford v. Fia Card Services, N.A.

United States District Court, C.D. California

September 5, 2014

TERRANCE D. RUTHERFORD, individually and on behalf of other similarly situated individuals, Plaintiff,
v.
FIA CARD SERVICES, N.A., (Bank of America), ALASKA AIRLINES, INC. and HORIZON AIR INDUSTRIES, INC., Defendants.

ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS TO DISMISS

DEAN D. PREGERSON, District Judge.

Presently before the court are two Motions to Dismiss, one filed by Defendant FIA Card Services, N.A. ("FIA" or "the Bank") and the other by Defendants Alaska Airlines, Inc. ("Alaska") and Horizon Air Industries, Inc. (together with Alaska, the "Airlines"). Having considered the submissions of the parties and heard oral argument, the court grants the motions and adopts the following order.

I. Background

As described in detail in this court's earlier orders, Plaintiff works for Alaska. FIA operates Bank of America's credit card operations. The Airlines and FIA entered into a marketing partnership, under which FIA agreed to issue "Alaska Airlines" brand credit cards and make payments to the Airlines. The Airlines and Bank further agreed to establish an "Incentive Program, " under which airline employees would be trained by the airlines and paid by the Bank to market the Alaska credit cards to consumers.

Under the Incentive Program, Airlines employees would distribute credit card applications, which included a space for the employees' identifying information, to passengers and other third parties. Applicants could either submit the applications through the distributing Airlines employees or mail the applications directly to the Bank.

Employees were offered five dollars for each credit card application submitted to the Bank, so long as the application contained enough information to allow the Bank to accept or reject the application. Employees were offered forty-five dollars for applications that were ultimately approved. The Airlines would deposit these incentive amounts into employee bank accounts, along with wages. (Second Amended Complaint ("SAC") ¶ 40.)[1] The Airlines also encouraged employee participation in the incentive program by offering cash and other prizes to "top performers." (SAC ¶¶ 38-39).

The SAC alleges that Plaintiff distributes over 200 applications per month. (SAC ¶ 47.) The SAC lists several dozen instances in which, between January and September 2013, Plaintiff received credit card applications and forwarded them to the Bank. (SAC ¶ 51.) Plaintiff alleges, however, that the vast majority of people to whom applications are distributed do not return their applications to Plaintiff. (SAC ¶ 48.) Plaintiff does not know whether the Bank processed any of the applications submitted directly by applicants, with his identifying information. (SAC ¶¶ 54-55.) Plaintiff has, however, received incentive payments during the relevant period of $5, 260. (SAC ¶ 56.)[2] Plaintiff also alleges that he is ranked as a "top performer" in the incentive program. (SAC ¶ 55.)

Plaintiff alleges that he has not been paid the amounts due to him under the incentive program. (SAC ¶ 61.) His SAC alleges causes of action for an accounting, common count for the reasonable value of services rendered, and common count for a book account. Defendants now move to dismiss the SAC.

II. Legal Standard

A complaint will survive a motion to dismiss when it contains "sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Ashcroft v. Iqbal , 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly , 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). When considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, a court must "accept as true all allegations of material fact and must construe those facts in the light most favorable to the plaintiff." Resnick v. Hayes , 213 F.3d 443, 447 (9th Cir. 2000). Although a complaint need not include "detailed factual allegations, " it must offer "more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation." Iqbal , 556 U.S. at 678. Conclusory allegations or allegations that are no more than a statement of a legal conclusion "are not entitled to the assumption of truth." Id . at 679. In other words, a pleading that merely offers "labels and conclusions, " a "formulaic recitation of the elements, " or "naked assertions" will not be sufficient to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Id . at 678 (citations and internal quotation marks omitted).

"When there are well-pleaded factual allegations, a court should assume their veracity and then determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement of relief." Id . at 679. Plaintiffs must allege "plausible grounds to infer" that their claims rise "above the speculative level." Twombly , 550 U.S. at 555. "Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief" is a "context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense." Iqbal , 556 U.S. at 679.

III. Discussion

A. Whether the SAC Alleges an Amount Owed

Defendants first contend that the SAC must be dismissed because it fails to allege facts to support Plaintiff's contention that Defendants owe him any money. In response, Plaintiff contends that the facts alleged, specifically those regarding the number of applications he distributed and submitted, and the amount of compensation he ...


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