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Pyramid Instrumentation & Electric Corp. v. Hebert

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

March 14, 2018

PYRAMID INSTRUMENTATION & ELECTRIC CORP., ET AL.
v.
DWAYNE KEVIN HEBERT, ET AL.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          KATHLEEN KAY, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Before the court is a Motion to Dismiss [doc. 8] filed pursuant to Rules 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure by defendants Galaxy NA, LLC (“Galaxy”) and Erik Morgan (collectively, “defendants”)[1" name="FN1" id="FN1">1]. Plaintiffs Pyramid Instrumentation & Electric Corporation and PTW Energy Services, Incorporated (collectively, “plaintiffs”/”Pyramid”) oppose the motion [doc. 11] and the defendants have filed a reply [doc. 12]. Accordingly, the matter is now ripe for review.

         I.

         Background

         This matter arises as a dispute between defendants Dwayne Kevin Hebert, Erik Morgan, and their employer, Galaxy; and Hebert and Morgan's former employer, Pyramid.[2] Plaintiffs allege that defendants improperly competed against them while Hebert and Morgan were still employed by Pyramid. Doc. 1, pp. 1-8. Namely, they contend that Hebert and Morgan improperly diverted Pyramid employees, customers, and resources to Galaxy while still employed by Pyramid. Id.

         Plaintiffs filed a complaint against Hebert, Morgan, and Galaxy in this court, raising several claims under state and federal law. Id. at 1-17. Galaxy and Morgan now bring the instant motion to dismiss, alleging that plaintiffs have failed to state a claim on which relief can be granted under several of their causes of action. Doc. 8, att. 1. They also contend that, because 28 U.S.C. § 1331 is the sole basis cited for this court's original jurisdiction [see doc. 1, p. 2], this court will be deprived of subject matter jurisdiction once the federal law claims are dismissed. Id.

         II.

         Law & Analysis

         A. Rule 12(b)(6) Standard[3]

         Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure allows for dismissal of a claim when a plaintiff “fail[s] to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” When reviewing such a motion, the court should focus exclusively on the complaint and its attachments. Wilson v. Birnberg, 1');">667 F.3d 591, 595 (5th Cir. 2012). Such motions are also reviewed with the court “accepting all well-pleaded facts as true and viewing those facts in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.” Bustos v. Martini Club, Inc., 599 F.3d 458, 461 (5th Cir. 2010). However, “the plaintiff must plead enough facts ‘to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” In re Katrina Canal Breaches Litig., 191');">495 F.3d 191, 205 (5th Cir. 2007) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 127 S.Ct. 1955');">127 S.Ct. 1955, 1974 (2007)). “A pleading that offers labels and conclusions or a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do. Nor will a complaint suffice if it tends naked assertions devoid of further factual enhancement.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (cleaned up). Instead, the complaint must contain enough factual matter to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of each element of the plaintiff's claim. Lormand v. U.S. Unwired, Inc., 565 F.3d 228, 257 (5th Cir. 2009). Accordingly, the court's task in evaluating a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) is “not to evaluate the plaintiff's likelihood of success, ” but instead to determine whether the claim is both legally cognizable and plausible. Billups v. Credit Bureau of Greater Shreveport, 2014 WL 4700254, *2 (W.D. La. Sep. 22, 2014) (quoting Lone Star Fund V (U.S.), L.P. v. Barclays Bank PLC, 594 F.3d 383, 387 (5th Cir. 2010)).

         B. Review of Claims

         1. CFAA violation

         Defendants first challenge plaintiffs' claims under Count I of the complaint, which is based on violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”). See doc. 1, pp. 8-9. This act prohibits, inter alia, unauthorized access of a “protected computer” for the purposes of obtaining information, causing damage, or perpetuating a fraud.[4] 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a). Plaintiffs' CFAA claims arise from the following factual allegations:

20. On July 27, 2017, a person using Hebert's Pyramid computer accessed and copied Pyramid's confidential and proprietary property, including, among other things, Pyramid's quality assurance and quality control manuals created specifically for Pyramid's customers. Upon information and belief, that person was Hebert. Upon information and belief, Hebert provided Morgan and/or Galaxy with Pyramid's confidential and proprietary ...

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