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Reis v. Tavant Technologies, Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. California

November 5, 2019

CATHY REIS d/b/a CPS, Plaintiff,
v.
TAVANT TECHNOLOGIES, INC.; and HASSAN RASHID, Defendants.

          ORDER

          WILLIAM Q. HAYES, JUDGE:

         The matter before the Court is the Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint filed by Defendants Tavant Technologies (“Tavant”) and Hassan Rashid. (ECF No. 3).

         I. BACKGROUND

         On April 2, 2019, Plaintiff Cathy Reis d/b/a CPS, proceeding pro se, initiated this action by filing a Complaint. (ECF No. 1). Reis alleges that CPS entered into a contract with Defendant Tavant on or about January 12, 2013 (the “Agreement”).[1] Reis alleges that CPS expanded Tavant's client base. Reis alleges that Tavant “signed the prospect agreement for commissions and has failed to compensate CPS.” (ECF No. 1 at 2).

         Reis alleges that “The Copywrite Program LOANPlus” is “CPS trade secrets and ReisIP.” Reis alleges that she is the copyright holder and “assigned” the “1991 registered copyright model” to CPS. Reis alleges that she “introduced her 1991 copyright [] and CPS TRADE SECRET protected models to Tavant Technologies, as a way to increase its usage and began its implementation.” (ECF No. 1 at 2). Reis alleges that LOANPlus is an “exact replica” of Tavant's “finconnect velox program.” Reis alleges that the finconnect velox program has been adopted nationwide. Reis alleges that Tavant is using her copyright model without her express permission, along with others in the mortgage industry. Id.

         Reis alleges that prior to the Agreement with Tavant, she entered into a contract with Defendant Rashid. Reis alleges that her contract with Rashid is an “email MUTUAL NDA dated 2004.” Id.

         Reis alleges “VIOLATIONS OF THE PROVISIONS OF THE UNITED STATES COPYRIGHT ACT, 17 U.S.C. § 501, ET SEQ.; AND VIOLATION OF CPS TRADE SECRETS.” Id. Reis seeks injunctive relief and “royalties owed” for the “adoption of Reis 1991 Registered Copyright business model.” Reis also seeks damages and “related relief” against Tavant. (ECF No. 1 at 3).

         On June 26, 2019, Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) and 12(b)(3). (ECF No. 3). Defendants contend that Reis fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6). Defendants contend that Reis's Complaint is conclusory, fails to allege essential elements of the claims, and fails to allege facts establishing that Defendants engaged in wrongful conduct. Defendants contend that venue in this district is improper under Rule 12(b)(3). Defendants contend that Reis's claims are based on a contract with Tavant that contains a forum selection clause in which the Parties agreed to file suit in the Northern District of California. In the alternative, Defendants request that the Court order Plaintiff to provide a more definite statement under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(e). (ECF No. 3 at 1).

         On July 23, 2019, Reis filed a Response in Opposition to Defendants' Motion to Dismiss and a “Motions for Injunctions Declaration in Support of Motion for Injunctions.” (ECF No. 9). Reis contends that her Complaint meets the pleading standards of Rule 12(b)(6). Id. at 10. Reis contends that venue is proper because the registered copyright has a San Diego address. Reis is not a party to the Agreement with Tavant, so she is not bound by the forum selection clause. Id. at 6.

         On July 29, 2019, Defendants filed a Reply. (ECF No. 10).

         II. RULE 12(b)(6) - FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM

         Defendants move the Court to dismiss Reis' Complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). (ECF No. 3-1 at 13).

         A. Legal Standard

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) permits dismissal for “failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” In order to state a claim for relief, a pleading “must contain . . . a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) “is proper only where there is no cognizable legal theory or an absence of sufficient facts alleged to support a ...


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