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Byram Healthcare Centers, Inc. v. Rauth

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

May 15, 2017

BYRAM HEALTHCARE CENTERS, INC.
v.
CHRISTI RAUTH

         SECTION: “J” (3)

          ORDER AND REASONS

          CARL J. BARBIER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the Court is a Motion to Dismiss Defendant's Counterclaim (Rec. Doc. 31) filed by Plaintiff, Byram Healthcare Centers, Inc. (“Byram”), an opposition thereto (Rec. Doc. 32) filed by Defendant, Christi Rauth (“Rauth”), and a reply (Rec. Doc. 35) filed by Byram. Having considered the motion, the parties' submissions, the record, and the applicable law, the Court finds, for the reasons expressed below, that the motion should be DENIED.

         PROCEDURAL HISTORY AND BACKGROUND FACTS

         Byram is a company that sells medical products in the area of urology, incontinence, diabetes, and ostomy. Rauth began working for Byram in October 2013. Around that time, the parties entered into a Confidentiality/HIPAA Agreement (“confidentiality agreement”) whereby Rauth agreed not to disclose any confidential information to any third parties. (Rec. Doc. 31 at 2.) During the course of her employment, Rauth was promoted to Product Manager for Urology and Incontinence, where she was responsible for short and long-term strategic marketing of these products. On November 21, 2016, Rauth informed Byram that she had accepted employment with a company called United Seating and Mobility, LLC d/b/a Numotion (“Numotion”), which competes directly with Byram in the field of urology and incontinence medical supplies. This litigation arises from circumstances surrounding Rauth's transition from Byram to Numotion.

         Rauth's last day of employment at Byram was December 2, 2016. Rauth alleges that she intended to begin working at Numotion on December 12, 2016. However, Byram filed suit against Rauth in this Court on December 5, 2016, alleging that she misappropriated certain confidential information belonging to Byram in preparation for her employment with Numotion. Byram alleges that between August and September of 2016, Rauth sent twenty-four emails containing confidential or trade secret information to her personal email account for her use after she left Byram. (Rec. Doc. 1 at 4-9.) Byram further alleges that Rauth's actions breached the terms of the confidentiality agreement. Id. at 14. Along with its verified complaint for injunctive relief and damages, Byram also filed a motion for a temporary restraining order requesting, among other things, that Rauth be enjoined from working at Numotion until it could be determined whether Rauth had disclosed any confidential information. (Rec. Doc. 2 at 4.)

         Before the Court ruled on the motion for a temporary restraining order, the parties filed a motion for a joint stipulated order on December 13, 2016, which the Court granted the next day. (Rec. Docs. 17, 18.) The joint stipulated order withdrew Byram's request to preclude Rauth from working at Numotion. (Rec. Doc. 18 at 2.)

         On February 7, 2017, Rauth filed a counterclaim. Rauth alleges that Byram violated the Louisiana Unfair Trade Practices Act (“LUTPA”) by requesting a temporary restraining order enjoining Rauth from working at Numotion and that it breached the confidentiality agreement in bad faith.

         Byram filed the instant motion to dismiss Rauth's counterclaim pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) on March 21, 2017. This motion is now before the Court on the briefs and without oral argument.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         Under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a complaint 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). The complaint must “give the defendant fair notice of what the claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.” Dura Pharm., Inc. v. Broudo, 544 U.S. 336, 346 (2005). The allegations “must be simple, concise, and direct.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(d)(1).

         “Under Rule 12(b)(6), a claim may be dismissed when a plaintiff fails to allege any set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief.” Taylor v. Books A Million, Inc., 296 F.3d 376, 378 (5th Cir. 2002) (citing McConathy v. Dr. Pepper/Seven Up Corp., 131 F.3d 558, 561 (5th Cir. 1998)). To survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the plaintiff must plead enough facts to “state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). A claim is facially plausible when the plaintiff pleads facts that allow the court to “draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. A court must accept all well-pleaded facts as true and must draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff. Lormand v. U.S. Unwired, Inc., 565 F.3d 228, 232 (5th Cir. 2009); Baker v. Putnal, 75 F.3d 190, 196 (5th Cir. 1996). The court is not, however, bound to accept as true legal conclusions couched as factual allegations. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. “[C]onclusory allegations or legal conclusions masquerading as factual conclusions will not suffice to prevent a motion to dismiss.” Taylor, 296 F.3d at 378.

         DISCUSSION

         I. ...


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