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Wills v. United Parcel Service (UPS)

United States District Court, N.D. California

July 8, 2019

CYNTHIA S. WILLS, Plaintiff,
v.
UNITED PARCEL SERVICE (UPS), HANSON BRIDGETT, LLP, and FIRST REPUBLIC BANK, Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS TO DISMISS; DISMISSING UPS FROM THIS CASE RE: DKT. NOS. 7, 10, 14

          NATHANAEL M. COUSINS UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Pro se plaintiff Cynthia Wills brings claims for breach of contract, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and intentional infliction of emotional distress against defendants United Postal Service, Hanson Bridgett LLP, and First Republic Bank arising out of two checks that she alleges were not delivered. Dkt. No. 1, Ex. 1. Because all claims against UPS are preempted by the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act, they are DISMISSED without leave to amend and UPS is DISMISSED from this case. Because Wills fails to allege sufficient facts to state any claims against Hanson Bridgett or First Republic Bank, all claims against these defendants are DISMISSED with leave to amend.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Cynthia Wills filed this case in state court against defendants United Postal Service, Hanson Bridgett LLP, and First Republic Bank. Dkt. No. 1, Ex. 1 (Complaint). Defendants removed the case to federal court. Dkt. No. 1. This Court denied Wills's motion to remand. Dkt. No. 39.

         Wills's complaint alleges that she entered into “written, oral and implied in fact contract(s)” with First Republic Bank on May 10, 2018, that obligated the bank “to secure timely delivery of a $10, 000 check to American Express” for payment on her account. Compl at 6. She alleges that the Bank failed to “secure timely delivery” of the check. Id. She also alleges that she and the Bank entered into another “written, oral and implied in fact contract” on July 13, 2018, for the Bank to deliver an $800 check to her. Compl. at 7. She alleges that on July 24, 2018, the Bank failed to deliver her that check. Id. Wills alleges that between July 13 and July 17, 2018, the Bank retained its counsel Hanson Bridgett LLP for a “nuts and sluts” defense against her. Compl. at 10, 14. She sent a fax to Hanson Bridgett's managing partner on July 24, 2018, “putting the law firm on notice with regard to secure timely delivery of the $800 check.” Id. She alleges that Hanson Bridgett intentionally refused to deliver the $800 check. Id. Wills brings claims for breach of contract, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligent infliction of emotional distress against all defendants. Id. at 10-17. Wills seeks compensatory, punitive, and exemplary damages. Id. at 14.

         All three defendants moved to dismiss the entire complaint. Dkt. Nos. 7, 10, 14. Wills filed her opposition to the motions to dismiss five days past the Court's extended deadline. Dkt. No. 32. The Court nonetheless considers her opposition in deciding this Order. Additionally, the Court held a hearing on the motions to dismiss. Dkt. Nos. 27, 40.

         All parties consented to magistrate judge jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 636(c). Dkt. Nos. 11, 15, 16, 20, 30.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         A motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6) tests the legal sufficiency of a complaint. Navarro v. Block, 250 F.3d 729, 732 (9th Cir. 2001). On a motion to dismiss, all allegations of material fact are taken as true and construed in the light most favorable to the non-movant. Cahill v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co., 80 F.3d 336, 337- 38 (9th Cir. 1996). The Court, however, need not accept as true “allegations that are merely conclusory, unwarranted deductions of fact, or unreasonable inferences.” In re Gilead Scis. Secs. Litig., 536 F.3d 1049, 1055 (9th Cir. 2008). Although a complaint need not allege detailed factual allegations, it must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to “state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). A claim is facially plausible when it “allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).

         If a court grants a motion to dismiss, leave to amend should be granted unless the pleading could not possibly be cured by the allegation of other facts. Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1127 (9th Cir. 2000). Leave to amend should be granted liberally to pro se plaintiffs. Id. at 1128.

         III. DISCUSSION

         A. Breach of Contract

         To plead a claim for breach of contract, a plaintiff must allege: (1) the existence of a contract, (2) plaintiff's performance or excuse for nonperformance; (3) defendant's breach; and (4) resulting damages to the plaintiff. Oasis W. Realty, LLC v. Goldman, 51 Cal.4th 811, 821 (2011). A contract can be created orally, in writing, or through conduct. Cal. Civ. Code §§ 1620-1622. An implied-in-fact contract can be inferred from the parties' conduct. Division of Labor Law Enforcement v. Transpacific Transportation Co., 69 Cal.App.3d 268, 275 (1977). To establish third-party beneficiary status in relation to a contract, the plaintiff must demonstrate that “[t]he contracting parties . . . intended to confer a benefit on the third party.” Neverkovec v. Fredericks, 74 Cal.App.4th 337, 348 (1999).

         1. First ...


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