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Delta Fuel Co. Inc. v. Taylor

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Alexandria Division

September 28, 2018

DELTA FUEL CO. INC., Plaintiff
v.
SCOTT TAYLOR, Defendant

          DRELL, JUDGE

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          Joseph H.L. Perez-Montes, United States Magistrate Judge

         Before the Court is a “Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction and Failure to State a Claim, and Alternatively, a Motion to Transfer under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a)” (Doc. 6), filed by Defendant Scott Taylor (“Taylor”) (“Taylor's Motion”). Plaintiff Delta Fuel Co., Inc. (“Delta Fuel”) opposes Taylor's Motion to Dismiss, and consents to Taylor's Motion to Transfer. (Doc. 13). Taylor replied. (Doc. 15).

         Taylor's Motion (Doc. 6) should be granted in part, denied in part, and deferred in part. Because it is more convenient to the parties and witnesses, and in the interest of justice, Taylor's Motion to Transfer (Doc. 6) should be granted. Taylor's Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction (Doc. 6) should be denied as moot given the recommendation to transfer. This court defers to the Western District of Texas for a ruling on Taylor's 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim (Doc. 6).

         I. Background

         On June 20, 2018, Delta Fuel filed a Verified Petition for Temporary Restraining Order (“TRO”) and Injunctive Relief (with exhibits) against Taylor in the Seventh Judicial District Court, Concordia Parish, State of Louisiana. (Doc. 1-2). Taylor is the sole named defendant. (Doc. 1-2). Delta Fuel alleges it is incorporated under Louisiana law and maintains its principal place of business in Ferriday, Louisiana. (Doc. 1-2). Delta Fuel further alleges Taylor resides in Coahoma, Texas. (Doc. 1-2).

         Delta Fuel alleges Taylor was an employee until his resignation on January 12, 2018. (Doc. 1-2). Delta Fuel alleges Taylor was the Branch Manager for the Midland, Texas office. (Doc. 1-2). Delta Fuel alleges Taylor made regular trips to Ferriday, Louisiana for trainings and meetings with other executives and managers of Delta Fuel. (Doc. 1-2). Delta Fuel alleges Taylor was a highly trusted member of Delta Fuel's leadership team, and received confidential information regarding its customers, operations, and business practices. (Doc. 1-2). Delta Fuel further alleges Taylor interacted with Delta Fuel's drivers and sales force, and was responsible for the sale of Delta Fuel's products and services to its customers. (Doc. 1-2).

         Delta Fuel asserts that on March 20, 2017, Taylor entered into a Confidentiality and Restrictive Covenant Agreement with Delta Fuel (the “Agreement”), which set forth expectations of Taylor as an employee and former employee. (Doc. 1-2). Delta Fuel also asserts Taylor entered an At-Will Employment Agreement on June 13, 2016, that also contained restrictive covenants prohibiting Taylor from competing with Delta Fuel or interfering with its relationships with its customers, suppliers, or employees. (Doc. 1-2).

         Delta Fuel alleges the Agreement prohibited Taylor from disclosing confidential information, and included two-year non-competition, non-solicitation, and non-recruitment agreements. (Doc. 1-2).

         Delta Fuel alleges Taylor abruptly resigned on January 12, 2018, and became employed at Xcalibur Logistics, LLC (“Xcalibur”). (Doc. 1-2). Delta Fuel alleges Taylor conducted activities in direct contradiction to his obligations under the Agreement. (Doc. 1-2). Delta alleges Taylor was engaging in activities for Xcalibur's sister company, Fuelco Energy LLC (“Fuelco”), a competitor of Delta Fuel. (Doc. 1-2). Delta further alleges they began to see employees resign and take employment with Xcalibur and Fuelco. (Doc. 1-2). Delta Fuel asserts it sent a cease and desist letter on May 16, 2018, but Taylor refused. (Doc. 1-2). Delta Fuel claims it is entitled to injunctive relief under the Agreement. (Doc. 1-2). Delta Fuel seeks a TRO against Taylor, preliminary and permanent injunctive relief, damages, attorneys' fees, expert fees, and costs. (Doc. 1-2).

         Taylor removed based upon diversity jurisdiction.[1] (Doc. 1). Taylor now seeks dismissal based on Fed. R. Civ. Proc. 12(b)(2) and 12(b)(6) for lack of personal jurisdiction and failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, respectively. (Doc. 6). Alternatively, and “only in the event that the Court does not dismiss Taylor, ” then Taylor seeks transfer to the Western District of Texas under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). (Doc. 6). Taylor filed a declaration in support of his motions. (Doc. 6-2).

         Delta Fuel responded, consenting to his Motion to Transfer and asserting that Taylor's Motion to Dismiss should be denied. (Doc. 13).

         II. Law and Analysis

         A. Transfer is appropriate under either 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a) or § 1406(a), even if ...


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