United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division
OPINION AND ORDER
matter is before the Court on the Counter-Defendant's
Motion to Dismiss Counterclaim Pursuant to Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) or for a More Definite Statement
Pursuant to Rule 12(E) and to Strike Pursuant to Rule 12(F),
filed by Counter-Defendant, Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad
Company, on December 14, 2017 (DE #21). For the reasons set
forth below, the Motion (DE #21) is GRANTED IN PART
AND DENIED IN PART. The Motion is
GRANTED as to the Motion for a More Definite
Statement Pursuant to Rule 12(e) and United Rail is
ORDERED to file an amended counterclaim
within 14 days from the date of this Order that adequately
pleads sufficient factual matter to state claims that are
plausible on their face, provides notice to Indiana Harbor of
its claims, and satisfies Rule 10(b) by setting forth each
claim in a separate count. The Motion is DENIED
WITHOUT PREJUDICE to refiling at a later time as to
the Motion to Dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) and the
Motion to Strike pursuant to Rule 12(f).
Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad (hereinafter “Indiana
Harbor”), filed a complaint in this case on July 3,
2017 (DE #1), pursuant to 49 U.S.C. § 10101 et
seq., to collect certain freight, demurrage and storage
charges for railcars delivered to Defendants, United Rail
Service, Inc. and United Transportation Group, Inc.
(hereinafter “United”). The deliveries in
question were made to defendants at their facility in East
Chicago between July 2014 and October 2016. (Id.
filed an answer and counterclaim on October 26, 2017. (DE
#13.) The counterclaim does not specify the damages
requested, and seems to invoke a number of legal theories
(including breach of contract, negligence, trespass, and
monopoly), but without setting forth separate counts.
Harbor seeks dismissal pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6), or alternatively, a more definite
statement pursuant to Rule 12(e), and to strike pursuant to
Rule 12(f). In response, United argues that it has set forth
the specific elements and factual support to defeat any
challenge under Rule 12(b)(6) for negligence, breach of
contract, damages, trespass, monopoly, and estoppel. (DE
#25.) Indiana Harbor filed a reply on January 3, 2018 (DE
#26). Therefore, this motion is fully briefed and ready for
sufficiency of a complaint can be tested in several ways
under Rule 12, including a motion to dismiss for failure to
state a claim pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6); a motion for a more
definite statement of a vague or ambiguous complaint pursuant
to Rule 12(e), or a motion to strike redundant, immaterial,
impertinent, or scandalous matter in a complaint pursuant to
Rule 12(f). In this case, Indiana Harbor has invoked all
three of these avenues in the same motion. However, Indiana
Harbor largely argues that the counterclaim does not contain
sufficient factual allegations to put it on notice of any
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) allows a complaint to be
dismissed if it fails to “state a claim upon which
relief can be granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6).
Allegations other than fraud and mistake are governed by the
pleading standard outlined in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
8(a), which requires a “short and plain
statement” that the pleader is entitled to relief.
Maddox v. Love, 655 F.3d 709, 718 (7th Cir. 2011).
order to survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the complaint
“must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as
true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on
its face'.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct.
1937, 1949 (2009)(quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). All well-pleaded
facts must be accepted as true, and all reasonable inferences
from those facts must be resolved in the plaintiff's
favor. Pugh v. Tribune Co., 521 F.3d 686, 692 (7th
Cir. 2008). However, pleadings consisting of no more than
mere conclusions are not entitled to the assumption of truth.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678-79. This includes legal
conclusions couched as factual allegations, as well as
“[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of
action, supported by mere conclusory statements.”
Id. at 678 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at
Rail points to the following material facts in the
counterclaim (actually, they point to all of the allegations
in the counterclaim in its entirety), contending they have
sufficiently complied with Rule 8, and sufficiently stated
1.IHB delivered rail cars to URS under an agreement among URS
and IHB from 1986 through June 2014.
2. URS and UTG never had the ability to call in particular
rail cars or groups of rail ...