United States District Court, N.D. West Virginia
RICK RICHARDS and ERNEST RICHARDS, II, Plaintiffs/ Counter Defendants,
OCTANE ENVIRONMENTAL, LLC, an Ohio limited liability company, TERENCE SEIKEL, CRAIG STACY, and JOSEPH SEIKEL, Defendants/Counter Claimants/ Third-Party Plaintiff/Counter Defendant,
JASON RICHARDS, AMANDA HUNT, AARON GILES, and JACOB RICHARDS, Third-Party Defendants/Counter Claimants against Octane Environmental, LLC.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO
DISMISS THIRD-PARTY COMPLAINT AGAINST JASON RICHARDS [ECF NO.
S. KLEEH UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the Court is a Motion to Dismiss the Third-Party
Complaint against Jason Richards [ECF No. 78]. For the
reasons discussed below, the Court grants the motion.
17, 2018, Rick Richards and Ernest Richards, II (together,
“Plaintiffs”) filed separate but related suits in
the Circuit Court of Harrison County, West Virginia, against
the Defendants, Octane Environmental, LLC
(“Octane”), Terence Seikel, Craig Stacy, and
Joseph Seikel (together, “Defendants”). On August
16, 2018, the actions were removed to the Northern District
of West Virginia. ECF No. 1. On August 23, 2018, Defendants
filed an Answer to the Complaint. ECF No. 7. On November 15,
2018, the Honorable Irene M. Keeley, United States District
Judge, entered an order consolidating the two cases through
the pretrial conference and designating 1:18-CV-158 as the
lead case. ECF No. 17. On December 3, 2018, the case was
transferred to the Honorable Thomas S. Kleeh, United States
January 16, 2019, the Court granted Defendants leave to file
a Third-Party Complaint against Amanda Hunt, Aaron Giles,
Jacob Richards, and Jason Richards. ECF Nos. 36, 37. The
Third-Party Complaints are docketed at ECF Nos. 38 and 39 in
CM/ECF. On April 5, 2019, Third-Party Defendant Jason
Richards moved to dismiss the Third-Party Complaint against
him. This Motion is ripe for consideration and is the subject
of this Memorandum Opinion and Order.
Third-Party Complaint against Amanda Hunt, Aaron Giles, Jacob
Richards, and Jason Richards [ECF Nos. 38, 39], Octane
alleges the following set of facts relating to Jason
Richards, which the Court regards as true for purposes of the
April 1, 2018, Octane implemented an employee handbook.
Third-Party Compl., ECF Nos. 38 and 39, at ¶ 12. Section
four (4) of the handbook provides, “Employees may not
use company systems in a manner that is unlawful, wasteful of
company resources, or unreasonably compromises employee
productivity or the overall integrity or stability of the
company's systems.” Id. ¶ 13. Nothing
in the handbook authorizes employees to delete information
and/or files from Octane-provided laptop computers.
Id. ¶ 14.
Richards worked for Octane from December 21, 2016, to May 14,
2018. Id. ¶ 21. During his tenure with Octane,
he primarily served as a crew leader until Rick Richards
promoted him to Supervisor on March 26, 2018. Id.
Jason Richards began working for a competitor of Octane
“days later” after ending his employment with
Octane. Id. ¶ 26.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure allows a
defendant to move for dismissal upon the ground that a
complaint does not “state a claim upon which relief can
be granted.” In ruling on a motion to dismiss, a court
“must accept as true all of the factual allegations
contained in the complaint.” Anderson v. Sara Lee
Corp., 508 F.3d 181, 188 (4th Cir. 2007) (quoting
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007)). A court
is “not bound to accept as true a legal conclusion
couched as a factual allegation.” Papasan v.
Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986).
motion to dismiss under Rule 12(6)(b) tests the “legal
sufficiency of a complaint.” Francis v.
Giacomelli, 588 F.3d 186, 192 (4th Cir. 2009). A court
should dismiss a complaint if it does not contain
“enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). Plausibility exists
“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). The factual allegations
“must be enough to raise a right to relief above a
speculative level.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 545.
The facts must constitute more than “a formulaic
recitation of the elements of a cause of action.”
Id. at 555. A motion to dismiss “does not
resolve contests surrounding the facts, the merits of a
claim, or the applicability of defenses.”
Republican Party of N.C. v. Martin, 980 F.2d 942,
952 (4th Cir. 1992).
brings three causes of action against Jason Richards: (1)
Breach of Duty of Loyalty; (II) Violation of the Computer
Fraud and Abuse Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1030; and (III) Civil
Conspiracy. Jason Richards moved to dismiss all three. As far
as the Court can tell, it is not necessary to delve into a
substantive discussion of the merits of these claims. Octane
has failed to allege any factual content indicating or
suggesting that Jason Richards engaged in any illegal or
actionable activity, much less the illegal activity described
in Counts (I)-(III) as alleged. Octane has merely stated in
its Third-Party Complaint that Jason Richards was employed at
Octane, was promoted, and worked “for one of
Octane's competitors” just “days later”
after he ended his employment with Octane. These allegations