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Bruzzone v. Intel Corp.

United States District Court, E.D. California

December 16, 2019

MICHAEL A. BRUZZONE, Plaintiff,
v.
INTEL CORPORATION, Defendant.

          FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

          EBORAH BARNES, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff Michael Bruzzone is proceeding in this action pro se. This matter was referred to the undersigned in accordance with Local Rule 302(c)(21) and 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). Pending before the undersigned are defendants' motions to dismiss the second amended complaint and defendants' motions to declare plaintiff a vexatious litigant. (ECF Nos. 45 & 48.) For the reasons stated below, the undersigned will recommend that defendants' motions to dismiss be granted, the second amended complaint be dismissed without leave to amend, and defendants' motions to declare plaintiff a vexatious litigant be denied.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff, proceeding pro se, commenced this action on April 10, 2018, by filing a complaint and a motion to proceed in forma pauperis. (ECF Nos. 1 & 2.) The undersigned granted plaintiff leave to file an amended complaint on September 28, 2018, and again on April 2, 2019. (ECF No. 3 & 15.) On April 30, 2019, plaintiff filed a second amended complaint. (ECF No. 17.) And on May 30, 2019, plaintiff paid the required filing fee.[1]

         Although nearly impossible to decipher, the second amended complaint alleges, generally, that the “[d]efendants portray[ed] Plaintiff['s] claims [as] merit-less appear (sic) a blacklisting technique on malicious slander, libel, fraud and contract interference[.]” (Sec. Am. Compl. (ECF No. 17) at 6.[2]) On June 24, 2019, defendant Intel Corporation (“Intel”) filed a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(3) and Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. (ECF No. 26.) On June 26, 2019, defendant Intel filed a motion to declare plaintiff a vexatious litigant. (ECF No. 28.) On July 19, 2019, defendant ARM, Inc., and ARM Holdings PLC, (“ARM”), also filed a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(3) and Rule 12(b)(6), as well as a motion to declare plaintiff a vexatious litigant. (ECF Nos. 34 & 35.)

         On July 19, 2019, plaintiff filed an opposition to defendant Intel's motion to dismiss. (ECF No. 39.) Defendant Intel filed a reply on August 2, 2019. (ECF No. 42.) On August 2, 2019, plaintiff filed an opposition to defendant ARM's motion to declare plaintiff a vexatious litigant. (ECF No. 46.) Defendant ARM filed a reply on August 9, 2019. (ECF No. 47.) Plaintiff filed a sur-reply on August 15, 2019.[3] (ECF No. 49.)

         STANDARD

         I. Legal Standards Applicable to Motions to Dismiss Pursuant to Rule 12(b)(3)

         Rule 12(b)(3) allows a defendant to challenge a complaint for improper venue. “Once a defendant has challenged venue, the plaintiff has the burden of demonstrating that venue is proper in the chosen district.” United Tactical Systems LLC v. Real Action Paintball, Inc., 108 F.Supp.3d 733, 751 (N.D. Cal. 2015) (citing Piedmont Label Co. v. Sun Garden Packing Co., 598 F.2d 491, 496 (9th Cir. 1979)). “When there are multiple parties and/or multiple claims in an action, the plaintiff must establish that venue is proper as to each defendant and as to each claim.” Allstar Marketing Group, LLC v. Your Store Online, LLC, 666 F.Supp.2d 1109, 1126 (C.D. Cal. 2009) (quotation omitted). Where an action is filed in the wrong division or district the court “shall dismiss, or if it be in the interest of justice, transfer such case to any district or division in which it could have been brought.” 28 U.S.C. § 1406(a).

         II. Legal Standards Applicable to Motions to Dismiss Pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6)

         The purpose of a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) is to test the legal sufficiency of the complaint. N. Star Int'l v. Ariz. Corp. Comm'n, 720 F.2d 578, 581 (9th Cir. 1983). “Dismissal can be based on the lack of a cognizable legal theory or the absence of sufficient facts alleged under a cognizable legal theory.” Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990). A plaintiff is required to allege “enough facts 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 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, 678 (2009).

         In determining whether a complaint states a claim on which relief may be granted, the court accepts as true the allegations in the complaint and construes the allegations in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Hishon v. King & Spalding, 467 U.S. 69, 73 (1984); Love v. United States, 915 F.2d 1242, 1245 (9th Cir. 1989). In general, pro se complaints are held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972). However, the court need not assume the truth of legal conclusions cast in the form of factual allegations. United States ex rel. Chunie v. Ringrose, 788 F.2d 638, 643 n.2 (9th Cir. 1986). While Rule 8(a) does not require detailed factual allegations, “it demands more than an unadorned, the defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. A pleading is insufficient if it offers mere “labels and conclusions” or “a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555; see also Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 676 (“Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.”). Moreover, it is inappropriate to assume that the plaintiff “can prove facts which it has not alleged or that the defendants have violated the . . . laws in ways that have not been alleged.” Associated Gen. Contractors of Cal., Inc. v. Cal. State Council of Carpenters, 459 U.S. 519, 526 (1983).

         In ruling on a motion to dismiss brought pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), the court is permitted to consider material which is properly submitted as part of the complaint, documents that are not physically attached to the complaint if their authenticity is not contested and the plaintiff's complaint necessarily relies on them and matters of public record. Lee v. City of Los Angeles, 250 F.3d 668, 688-89 (9th Cir. 2001).

         ANALYSIS

         I. Defendants' Motions to Dismiss

         A. Venue

         Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b):

A civil action may be brought in--
(1) a judicial district in which any defendant resides, if all defendants are residents of the State in which the district is located;
(2) a judicial district in which a substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to the claim occurred, or a substantial part of property that is the subject of the action is situated; or (3) if there is no district in which an action may otherwise be brought as provided in this section, any judicial district in which any defendant ...

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