United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT MUKUNDA'S MOTION TO
DISMISS DOCKET NO. 13
M. CHEN United States District Judge
to the complaint, Plaintiff Blueline Software Services, Inc.
(“Blueline”) had a contract with Defendant
Systems America, Inc. (“Systems America”) whereby
Systems America paid Blueline a fee for providing the
services of its employee (Defendant and Movant Anil Kumar
Mukunda) to Systems America's client, Infosys Ltd
(“Infosys”). Docket No. 1 (Complaint) at ¶
25; Ex. A to Complaint (Staffing Services Agreement). Mukunda
knew of this contract between Systems America and Blueline
and solicited and encouraged Systems America to violate its
Services Agreement by hiring Mukunda directly and allowing
him to continue providing services directly through Systems
America to the client. Docket No. 1 at ¶¶ 3, 29,
46. On or about September 15, 2016, Mukunda resigned from
Blueline. Id. at ¶ 26. After resigning from
Blueline, Mukunda continued to provide services at Infosys
through Systems America. Id. at ¶ 27. Plaintiff
alleges that Mukunda intended to (and did) induce Systems
America to breach its contract with Blueline and avoid paying
Blueline its fee based on Mukunda's services to Infosys,
Ltd. Id. at ¶¶ 29, 46.
brought a single count of tortious interference with contract
against Defendant Mukunda. Id. at ¶¶
45-47. Specifically, Blueline contends that Mukunda's
resigning from Blueline and continuing to work for Infosys
through Systems America interfered with Section 5.0 of the
Services Agreement, which provides:
Notwithstanding anything contained herein, company [Systems
America] agrees that during the terms of this contract and
for 2 years thereafter, it shall not directly or indirectly
solicit and/or hire on its payroll the designated contractor
or any of the contractor's consultants [Mukunda] that
have been introduced to the company or have worked on the
company issued SOW.
Id. at ¶ 23.
before the Court is Defendant's Mukunda's motion to
dismiss Plaintiff's verified complaint under Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(6). Docket No. 13. Mukunda moved “on the grounds
that (1) Mukunda is being sued because he left employment
with plaintiff . . . (Blueline) and accepted employment with
defendant . . . (Systems America); and (2) Mukunda had a
legal right to accept employment with Systems America
pursuant to California Business & Professions Code §
16600.” Docket No. 13 at 2. The Court DENIES the
Civ. P. 12(b)(6) provides: “Every defense to a claim
for relief in any pleading must be asserted in the responsive
pleading if one is required. But a party may assert the
following defenses by motion: (6) failure to state a claim
upon which relief can be granted.” A motion to dismiss
based on Rule 12(b)(6) challenges the legal
sufficiency of the claims alleged. See Parks Sch. of Bus.
v. Symington, 51 F.3d 1480, 1484 (9th Cir.1995). In
considering such a motion, a court must take all allegations
of material fact as true and construe them in the light most
favorable to the nonmoving party, although “conclusory
allegations of law and unwarranted inferences are
insufficient to avoid a Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal.”
Cousins v. Lockyer, 568 F.3d 1063, 1067 (9th Cir.
2009). While “a complaint need not contain detailed
factual allegations . . . it must plead 'enough facts to
state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.'” Id. “A claim has facial
plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that
allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the
defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 129 S.Ct. 1937,
1949, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009); see also Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 556, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d
929 (2007). “The plausibility standard is not akin to a
'probability requirement, ' but it asks for more than
sheer possibility that a defendant acted unlawfully.”
elements which a plaintiff must plead to state the cause of
action for intentional interference with contractual
relations are (1) a valid contract between plaintiff and a
third party; (2) defendant's knowledge of this contract;
(3) defendant's intentional acts designed to induce a
breach or disruption of the contractual relationship; (4)
actual breach or disruption of the contractual relationship;
and (5) resulting damage.” Pacific Gas &
Electric Co. v. Bear Stearns & Co., 50 Cal.3d 1118,
1126 (1990) (internal citations omitted).
motion focuses on the validity of the contractual restriction
at issue. In order to prevail on this motion to dismiss,
Mukunda must establish that Section 5.0 of the Services
Agreement, the basis of Plaintiff's legal claim, is
invalid under Business & Professions Code Section 16600.
Section 16600 provides: “Except as provided in this
chapter, every contract by which anyone is restrained from
engaging in a lawful profession, trade, or business of any
kind is to that extent void.” The Court, for the
reasons stated below, denies the motion. Docket No. 13 at
order to prevail, Mukunda must establish Section 5.0 is void.
The Court cannot, ...