United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division
OPINION AND ORDER
L. Miller, Jr. Judge.
the dismissal of her first pro se complaint [Doc.
Nos. 31, 36], LaSandra Norman filed an amended complaint
against Black Entertainment Television LLC (sued as B.E.T.
Television) alleging copyright infringement. Ms. Norman
claims that she has a copyright to music and lyrics played by
B.E.T. She seeks a court order to bar B.E.T. from using her
copyrighted material and $2 billion in monetary damages for
her pain and suffering. B.E.T.'s motion to dismiss Ms.
Norman's amended complaint is before the court [Doc. No.
42], as is Ms. Norman's motion to proceed to trial [Doc.
No. 47]. For the following reasons, the court grants
B.E.T.'s motion to dismiss and denies as moot Ms.
Norman's motion to proceed to trial.
considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the court
construes the complaint in the light most favorable to the
nonmoving party, accepts all well-pleaded facts as true, and
draws all inferences in the nonmoving party's favor.
Reynolds v. CB Sports Bar, Inc., 623 F.3d 1143, 1146
(7th Cir. 2010). When a complaint is filed pro se,
the court “construe[s] it liberally, holding it to a
less stringent standard than formal pleadings drafted by
lawyers.” Perez v. Fenoglio, 792 F.3d 768, 776
(7th Cir. 2015). But Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2) “demands more
than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me
accusation.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)).
survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain
sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state
a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Bell
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). A claim is
plausible if “the plaintiff pleads factual content that
allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the
defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citing Bell
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556).
plaintiff must provide only enough detail to give the
defendant fair notice of what the claim is and the grounds
upon which it rests.” Def. Sec. Co. v. First
Mercury Ins. Co., 803 F.3d 327, 335 (7th Cir. 2015)
(quoting Reger Dev., LLC v. Nat'l City Bank, 592
F.3d 759, 763-64 (7th Cir.2010)). But a plaintiff “must
do better than putting a few words on paper that, in the
hands of an imaginative reader, might suggest that
something has happened to her that might be
redressed by the law.” Swanson v. Citibank,
N.A., 614 F.3d 400, 403 (7th Cir. 2010) (emphasis in
state a claim for direct copyright infringement, Ms. Norman
must plead sufficient facts to plausibly suggest “(1)
ownership of a valid copyright, and (2) copying of
constituent elements of the work that are original.”
Peters v. West, 692 F.3d 629, 632 (7th Cir. 2012)
(quoting Feist Publ'ns, Inc. v. Rural Tel. Serv.
Co., 499 U.S. 340, 361, (1991)). Ms. Norman's
amended complaint doesn't include a copyright
certification, but it does state that she “has
copyright to the lyrics” and her original complaint
included a Certificate of Registration for a copyright to
“The Real and True Beyonc'e (2005-2015).”
Consequently, for purposes of this motion to dismiss, the
court assumes that Ms. Norman owns a valid copyright.
Ms. Norman could demonstrate ownership of a valid copyright,
she still must plead facts plausibly suggesting that B.E.T.
copied elements of the copyrighted work that are original.
See Peters v. West, 692 F.3d 629, 632 (7th Cir.
2012). The amended complaint claims that “since the
early 2000's” B.E.T. “played sexual
material” containing “music and [lyrics]
belonging to Lasandra Norman who has copyright to the lyrics
… time and time again on show[s] like 106 and
[P]ark.” These allegations don't provide enough
detail to give B.E.T. fair notice of the factual basis for
her claims. See Def. Sec. Co. v. First Mercury Ins.
Co., 803 F.3d 327, 335 (7th Cir. 2015) (requiring that a
plaintiff provide “enough detail to give the defendant
fair notice of what the claim is and the grounds upon which
it rests”). Ms. Norman's amended complaint
doesn't identify the elements of the copyrighted work she
claims B.E.T. copied, such as the specific music and lyrics,
or offer any facts suggesting how B.E.T. allegedly infringed
on her copyrighted work. See Peters v. West, 692
F.3d 629, 632 (7th Cir. 2012). Accordingly, Ms. Norman's
amended complaint must be dismissed.
B.E.T.'s motion to dismiss was pending before the court,
Ms. Norman filed a motion to proceed to trial [Doc. No. 47].
Because the court is granting B.E.T.'s motion to dismiss
Ms. Norman's amended complaint, Ms. Norman's motion
to proceed to trial is moot.
court GRANTS B.E.T.'s motion to dismiss [Doc. No. 42] and
DISMISSES the amended complaint without prejudice. The motion