United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
F&M MAFCO, INC.
OCEAN MARINE CONTRACTORS, LLC and OCEAN MARINE RENTALS, LLC
ORDER AND REASONS
L. C. EELDMAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is intervenor ECapital LA Industrial I, LLC's
motion to dismiss Count III of the plaintiff's
counterclaim. For the reasons that follow, the motion is
GRANTED in part, as to F&M's claim for treble
damages, and DENIED in part, as to F&M's claim for
actual damages under LUTPA.
lawsuit began as an action to enforce an Ohio default
judgment but has evolved into a security rights dispute.
summer of 2017, F&M Mafco, Inc. sued Ocean Marine
Contractors, LLC and Ocean Marine Rentals, LLC in Ohio state
court, asserting claims arising out of the performance of two
contracts. The Ohio state court entered a default judgment in
favor of F&M the following spring. When the Ocean Marine
entities failed to satisfy that judgment, F&M turned to
this Court for enforcement.
January of 2019, this Court granted F&M's motion for
summary judgment, seeking recognition and enforcement of the
Ohio default judgment pursuant to Louisiana's Enforcement
of Foreign Judgments Act. F&M then moved for entry of a
final judgment, contending it had become aware that two
creditors assert claims in property that F&M owns and
that relates to the subject of this action. ECapital LA
Industrial I, LLC (one of the creditors asserting a security
interest in three cranes that F&M allegedly purchased
from the Ocean Marine entities) intervened for the limited
purpose of opposing F&M's motion for entry of
judgment. Finding that F&M requested relief beyond that
provided for in the Ohio default judgment, the Court granted
F&M's motion for entry of judgment, in part, only
insofar as it sought relief consistent with this Court's
January 9, 2019 Order and Reasons. The Court also entered a
final judgment in F&M's favor on February 20, 2019.
later, ECapital moved to intervene in this action to
adjudicate its purported security interests in the cranes.
The Court granted ECapital's unopposed motion to
intervene on April 12, 2019. Because ECapital asserts a
security interest in property implicated in the contractual
disputes that gave rise to the Ohio default judgment, the
Court found a sufficient factual overlap between this matter
and ECapital's claim to justify permissive intervention
under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 24(b)(1)(B).
its intervention complaint, ECapital requests the following
relief: (1) recognition and enforcement of its security
interests in the cranes; (2) seizure and sale of the cranes
under ordinary process; and (3) interest and attorneys'
response, F&M filed an answer and counterclaim, in which
it contests the validity of ECapital's security interests
and alleges that ECapital “has wrongly seized
F&M's Cranes, failed to maintain those cranes, and
prevented F&M from exercising its ownership rights with
regard to those cranes.” F&M claims that it
purchased the cranes from the Ocean Marine entities on
November 30, 2015 for $1, 000, 000, after which the equipment
remained on premises controlled by OMC. It is further alleged
that “[b]y October 15, 2018, ECapital had unilaterally
seized F&M's Cranes and moved them from land
controlled by OMC (or affiliated individuals or businesses)
onto land owned by ECapital.” F&M submits that it
“made amicable demand on ECapital to return
F&M's Cranes to F&M, as rightful owner, ”
but “ECapital refused and asked F&M to dation its
property to ECapital.” Finally, F&M alleges that
upon gaining access to inspect the cranes in March of 2019,
it discovered that they had suffered considerable damage due
to neglect and lack of maintenance. Based on this conduct,
F&M asserts three causes of action against ECapital: (1)
wrongful acts; (2) conversion; and (3) violation of the
Louisiana Unfair Trade Practices Act. F&M also seeks to
recover treble damages under LUTPA.
now moves to dismiss Count III of F&M's counterclaim
for failure to state a claim. It contends that all of
F&M's counterclaims will necessarily fail upon the
recognition of ECapital's continuing security interest in
the cranes but urges the Court to dismiss F&M's LUTPA
claim at the pleading stage.
12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure allows a
party to move for dismissal of a complaint for failure to
state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Such a motion
is rarely granted because it is viewed with disfavor. See
Lowrey v. Tex. A & M Univ. Sys., 117 F.3d 242, 247
(5th Cir. 1997) (quoting Kaiser Aluminum & Chem.
Sales, Inc. v. Avondale Shipyards, Inc., 677 F.2d 1045,
1050 (5th Cir. 1982)).
Rule 8(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a
pleading must contain a “short and plain statement of
the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to
relief.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678-79 (2009) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 8). “[T]he pleading
standard Rule 8 announces does not require ‘detailed
factual allegations,' but it demands more than an
accusation.” Id. at 678 (citing Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). Stated