United States District Court, N.D. California, San Jose Division
ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART
DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS RE: DKT. NO. 128
J. DAVILA United States District Judge.
detailed in a companion order filed this same date,
Plaintiffs BladeRoom Group Limited (“BRG”) and
Bripco (UK) Limited (“Bripco”) (collectively,
“Plaintiffs”) allege that Defendants Facebook,
Inc. (“Facebook”), Emerson Electric Co., Emerson
Network Power Solutions, Inc. and Liebert
Corporation enticed them to reveal their data center
designs and construction methods with promises of acquisition
and partnership, only to then copy those designs and methods
and pass them off as their own.
jurisdiction arises pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331
and 1332. Presently before the court is the Emerson
Defendants' effort under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6) to dismiss Plaintiffs' Second Amended Complaint
(“SAC”). Dkt. No. 128. Plaintiffs oppose the
motion. Because some of the Emerson Defendants' arguments
are similar to unsuccessful ones made by Facebook, they fail
for the same reasons. As for those arguments not previously
addressed, only one succeeds. The Emerson Defendants'
motion will therefore be granted in part and denied in part
for the reasons explained below.
Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a) requires a plaintiff to plead
each claim with sufficient specificity to “give the
defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the
grounds upon which it rests.” Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (internal quotations
omitted). The factual allegations in the complaint
“must be enough to raise a right to relief above the
speculative level” such that the claim “is
plausible on its face.” Id. at 556-57. A
complaint that falls short of the Rule 8(a) standard may be
dismissed if it fails to state a claim upon which relief can
be granted. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). “Dismissal under
Rule 12(b)(6) is appropriate only where the complaint lacks a
cognizable legal theory or sufficient facts to support a
cognizable legal theory.” Mendiondo v. Centinela
Hosp. Med. Ctr., 521 F.3d 1097, 1104 (9th Cir. 2008).
deciding whether to grant a motion to dismiss, the court must
generally accept as true all “well-pleaded factual
allegations.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
664 (2009). The court must also construe the alleged facts in
the light most favorable to the plaintiff. See Retail
Prop. Trust v. United Bhd. of Carpenters & Joiners of
Am., 768 F.3d 938, 945 (9th Cir. 2014) (providing the
court must “draw all reasonable inferences in favor of
the nonmoving party” for a Rule 12(b)(6) motion).
However, “courts are not bound to accept as true a
legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation.”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.
the court usually does not consider any material beyond the
pleadings for a Rule 12(b)(6) analysis. Hal Roach
Studios, Inc. v. Richard Feiner & Co., 896 F.2d
1542, 1555 n. 19 (9th Cir. 1990). Exceptions to this rule
include material submitted as part of the complaint or relied
upon in the complaint, and material subject to judicial
notice. See Lee v. City of Los Angeles, 250 F.3d
668, 688-69 (9th Cir. 2001).
SAC, Plaintiffs assert claims against the Emerson Defendants
for: (1) misappropriation of trade secrets in violation of
the California Uniform Trade Secrets Act
(“CUTSA”), California Civil Code § 3426.1;
(2) violation of the Unfair Competition Law
(“UCL”), California Business and Professions Code
§ 17200 et seq., and (3) breach of contract. The Emerson
Defendants' arguments against these claims are discussed
Sufficiency of Allegations Against the Emerson
Emerson Defendants argue the SAC is generally defective
because it does not separately specify the alleged conduct
Plaintiffs attribute to each Emerson-affiliated defendant.
The court disagrees the SAC fails for that reason.
none of Plaintiffs' claims are subject to the heightened
standard mandated by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 9(b),
the SAC is governed by Rule 8(a)(2)'s notice pleading
requirement. Thus, the pleading must only contain “a
short and plain statement” of the claims showing that
Plaintiffs are “entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
8(a)(2). This liberal pleading rule simply requires
“that the averments of the complaint sufficiently
establish a basis for judgment against the defendant.”
Yamaguchi v. United States Dep't of the Air
Force, 109 F.3d 1475, 1481 (9th Cir. 1997).
SAC's detailed allegations satisfy Rule 8(a)(2). As they
explain in their opposition to this motion, Plaintiffs have
pled two categories of allegations against the Emerson
Defendants: those for which they believe those defendants are
jointly responsible, and those for which an individual
defendant is separately responsible. Those allegations are
sufficient to place the Emerson Defendants on notice of all
of the conduct forming the basis of Plaintiffs' claims
against them, whether the conduct was collectively ...