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Rule v. Mainstreet Capital Partners LLC

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

February 13, 2019

NED P. RULE, Plaintiff,
v.
MAINSTREET CAPITAL PARTNERS LLC, MAINSTREET INVESTMENT COMPANY LLC, MAINSTREET DEVELOPMENT COMPANY LLC, MAINSTREET HEALTH LLC, MAINSTREET HEALTH MANAGEMENT COMPANY, LLC, MAINSTREET ASSET MANAGEMENT, INC., PAUL EZEKIEL TURNER, JASEN COLDIRON, Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS COLDIRON AND TURNER'S MOTION TO DISMISS

          James Patrick Hanlon United States District Judge

         Defendants Jasen Coldiron and Paul Ezekiel Turner have filed a motion to dismiss Count II of Plaintiff's amended complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Dkt. [25]. For the reasons that follow, that motion is GRANTED. Defendant Scott Fankhauser also moved to dismiss Count II, incorporating Defendants Coldiron and Turner's arguments. Dkt. [29]. Because Defendant Fankhauser has since been dismissed from this case, dkt. 90, dkt. 93, that motion is DENIED as moot.

         Factual and Procedural History

         Because Defendants Coldiron and Turner have moved for dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6), the Court “accept[s] the well-pleaded facts in the complaint as true.” McCauley v. City of Chicago, 671 F.3d 611, 616 (7th Cir. 2011).

         Mainstreet-a collection of corporate entities specializing in real estate development, value investments, and health care-hired Plaintiff Ned P. Rule in September 2015 as its “Managing Director - Investment.” Dkt. 7 at 5 ¶ 30. Plaintiff's employment contract with Mainstreet included various guarantees, including a compensation package “guaranteed for three years, ” except in the case of his termination “for cause.” Dkt. 7-1. Plaintiff was terminated around November 15, 2017-a little over two years after his employment began. Dkt. 7 at 10 ¶ 72. No. “cause” was given. Dkt. 7 at 11 ¶¶ 88-90.

         Plaintiff now alleges three causes of action against several Mainstreet defendants. Dkt. 7 at 1-3 ¶¶ 2-14, 11-16 ¶¶ 81-135. Defendants Coldiron and Turner move solely for dismissal of Count II. Dkt. 25 at 1. They are the only defendants remaining in Count II; a third defendant-Scott Fankhauser- has been dismissed by joint stipulation of the parties, dkt. 90, dkt. 93.

         In Count II, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants Coldiron and Turner tortiously interfered with his employment contract when they “purposely sought out a way to avoid [Mainstreet's] contractual obligation” to Plaintiff. Dkt. 7 at 13 ¶ 107. Specifically, Defendants attempted to “induce [Mainstreet] to terminate Plaintiff's employment in accordance with their own desires, ” dkt. 7 at 14 ¶ 109; “sought to find or invent a ‘cause' to terminate Plaintiff even though no such ‘cause' existed, ” dkt. 7 at 13 ¶ 108; and, when they could not find or invent a “cause, ” fired him without one, dkt. 7 at 14 ¶ 109. By doing so, Plaintiff claims, Defendants Coldiron and Turner tortiously interfered with his employment contract. Dkt. 7 at 14 ¶ 114.

         Defendants Colidiron and Turner filed this motion to dismiss Count II under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Dkt. 25.

         Analysis

         I. Legal Standard

          Defendants may move under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) to dismiss claims for “failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.” Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 12(b)(6). To survive a Rule 12(b)(6) 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. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). A facially plausible claim is one that allows “the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id.

         When ruling on a 12(b)(6) motion, the Court will “accept the well-pleaded facts in the complaint as true, ” but will not defer to “legal conclusions and conclusory allegations merely reciting the elements of the claim.” McCauley v. City of Chicago, 671 F.3d 611, 616 (7th Cir. 2011).

         II. Discussion

         Count II is governed by Indiana law. See Land v. Yamaha Motor Corp., 272 F.3d 514, 516-17 (7th Cir. 2001). To state a claim for tortious interference with a contract, plaintiffs ordinarily must allege: “(1) the existence of a valid and enforceable contract; (2) defendant's knowledge of the existence of the contract; (3) defendant's intentional inducement of breach of the contract; (4) the absence of justification; and (5) damages resulting ...


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