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Advance Products & Systems Inc v. CCI Piping Systems L.L.C.

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lake Charles Division

January 24, 2018

ADVANCE PRODUCTS & SYSTEMS, INC.
v.
CCI PIPING SYSTEMS, L.L.C. D/B/A CCI PIPELINE SYSTEMS

          MAG. JUDGE, KATHLEEN KAY

          RULING

          ROBERT G. JAMES, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the Court is the Rule 1');">12(c) Motion for Partial Judgment on the Pleadings filed by Plaintiff/Counter-Defendant Advance Products & Systems, Inc. (“APS”). [Doc. No. 47]. APS seeks dismissal of count four of Defendant/Counter-Plaintiff CCI Piping Systems, LLC d/b/a CCI Pipeline Systems' (“CCI”) counterclaim, which alleges a violation of the Louisiana Unfair Trade Practices Act (“LUTPA”). CCI filed a memorandum in opposition [Doc. No. 49');">49], and APS filed a reply thereto. [Doc. No. 50]. For the following reasons, CCI's LUTPA claim is DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, and the motion is DENIED AS MOOT.

         I. FACTS & PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         APS brings this patent infringement suit against CCI relating to a “casing spacer, ” Patent No. 6, 736, 1');">166 (the “'1');">166 Patent”), seeking injunctive and monetary relief. [Doc. No. 1');">1, pp. 1');">1-2, ¶¶ 1');">1, 4]. CCI filed an answer and counterclaim, wherein it seeks declaratory relief and brings claims against APS for violations of LUTPA and breach of contract. [Doc. No. 1');">10, p. 6, ¶ 1');">1]. In support of its LUTPA claim, CCI alleges that APS knowingly and willfully misrepresented facts to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and as a result, deceptively procured the '1');">166 Patent and that APS now seeks to enforce the patent against CCI despite knowing the patent is unenforceable. [Doc. No. 1');">10. at p. 1');">14, ¶¶ 36-37].

         APS filed the instant Motion for Partial Judgment on the Pleadings, claiming that CCI's allegations, taken as true, do not support a finding of a LUTPA violation. [Doc. No. 47]. CCI opposes the motion, claiming it has pleaded sufficient facts and damages to support a LUTPA claim. [Doc. No. 49');">49, pp. 1');">1-2].

         II. LAW & ANALYSIS

         A. Standard of Review

         The standard for deciding a Rule 1');">12(c) motion is the same as a Rule 1');">12(b)(6) motion to dismiss. In re Katrina Canal Breaches Litig., 49');">495 F.3d 1');">191');">1');">49');">495 F.3d 1');">191');">1, 205 (5th Cir. 2007). In determining whether dismissal is appropriate, the court must decide whether the facts alleged in the pleadings, if true, would entitle the plaintiff to a legal remedy. Ramming v. United States, 1');">1 F.3d 1');">158');">281');">1 F.3d 1');">158, 1');">162 (5th Cir. 2001');">1); Cinel v. Connick, 1');">15 F.3d 1');">1338');">1');">15 F.3d 1');">1338, 1');">1341');">1 (5th Cir. 1');">1994). When considering a Rule 1');">12(c) motion, the Court must construe the allegations in the complaint in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, but conclusory allegations and unwarranted deductions of fact are not accepted as true. Tuchman v. DSC Commc'ns Corp., 1');">14 F.3d 1');">1061');">1');">1');">14 F.3d 1');">1061');">1, 1');">1067 (5th Cir. 1');">1994). Judgment on the pleadings is appropriate only if there are no disputed issues of material fact and only questions of law remain. Voest-Alpine Trading USA Corp. v. Bank of China, 1');">142 F.3d 887');">1');">142 F.3d 887, 891');">1 (5th Cir. 1');">1998).

         B. Analysis

         APS moves for judgment on the pleadings as to CCI's LUTPA counterclaim claiming: (1');">1) that APS's efforts to enforce its patent against CCI in litigation are not actionable under LUTPA; and (2) that CCI's only alleged losses are attorneys' fees and costs, which are only recoverable under LUTPA as ancillary remedies in the event that a plaintiff proves independent damages. [Doc. No. 47].

         Under LUTPA,

[a]ny person who suffers any ascertainable loss of money or movable property, corporeal or incorporeal, as a result of the use or employment by another person of an unfair or deceptive method, act, or practice declared unlawful by R.S. 51');">1:1');">1405, may bring an action individually but not in a representative capacity to recover actual damages.

         La. Rev. Stat. 51');">1:1');">1409(A). Louisiana Revised Statute 51');">1:1');">1405 makes unlawful “[u]nfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the conduct of any trade or commerce.” To establish a LUTPA claim, “a plaintiff must show that ‘the alleged conduct offends established public policy and is immoral, unethical, oppressive, unscrupulous, or substantially injurious.'” Quality Envtl. Processes, Inc. v. I.P. Petroleum Co., Inc., 201');">13-1');">1582, p. 21');">1 (La. 5/7/1');">14); 1');">144 So.3d 1');">101');">11');">1');">1');">144 So.3d 1');">101');">11');">1, 1');">1025 (quoting Cheramie Servs, Inc. v. Shell Deepwater Prod., 2009-1');">1633, p. 1');">11');">1 (La. 4/23/1');">10); 1');">1053');">35 So.3d 1');">1053, 1');">1059). However, LUTPA prohibits only fraud, ...


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