Brasfield v. Apple et al
MEMORANDUM OF OPINION. Signed by Judge L Scott Coogler on 8/19/2016. (PSM)
2016 Aug-19 PM 02:18
U.S. DISTRICT COURT
N.D. OF ALABAMA
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
APPLE, et al.,
Memorandum of Opinion
Plaintiff Scottie O’Keith Brasfield (“Brasfield”) filed this action against
Apple, Google Play, and Amazon 1 (collectively “Defendants”), alleging what
appears to be a claim for either fraud, misrepresentation, or breach of contract.
Before the Court is Apple’s Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss the
complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. (Doc. 2.)
This Court entered an order on July 27, 2016, allowing Brasfield an additional
fourteen (14) days to respond to the motion (Doc. 9), but Brasfield filed no
response. For the reasons stated below, Apple’s motion (Doc. 2) is due to be
It appears from the record that Defendants Google Play and Amazon were never served in the action.
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Brasfield seeks payment of $13 billion dollars from Defendants, alleging that
he is entitled to that money for work he performed for Defendants. Specifically,
Brasfield’s allegations, in their entirety, state as follows:
I studied and completed a website development course for Apple,
Google Play, and Amazon. I did receive an app to submit online and, I
received a[n] electronic check for 13 billion dollars
[$]13,000,000,000.00. I was told to deposit the check by Apple. When
I attempted to deposit the check I was told that it had no routing
number by the bank. I did not receive funds. I would like to receive
funds for being an Apple developer in the amount of the check that I
received, thirteen billion dollars, $13,000,000,000.00 and all other
funds that I am [e]ntitled to.
(Doc. 1-1 at 6.) Brasfield alleged no further facts and did not attach any documents
to his complaint.
Standard of Review
A pleading that states a claim for relief must contain “a short and plain
statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed. R. Civ.
P. 8(a)(2). However, the facts alleged in the complaint must be specific enough that
the claim raised is “plausible.” See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (“To
survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter,
In ruling on Apple’s motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), this Court must accept all facts in
Brasfield’s complaint as true and construe them in his favor. Chaparro v. Carnival Corp., 693 F.3d
1333, 1335 (11th Cir. 2012) (quoting Cinotto v. Delta Air Lines Inc., 674 F.3d 1285, 1291 (11th Cir.
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accepted as true, to state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face.” (emphasis
added) (internal quotations omitted)). A claim for relief is plausible on its face
when the complaint’s “factual content . . . allows the court to draw the reasonable
inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Resnick v.
AvMed, Inc., 693 F.3d 1317, 1325 (11th Cir. 2012) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678).
Conclusory statements of law may “provide the framework of a complaint,” but
the plaintiff is required to support them with “factual allegations.” Iqbal, 556 U.S.
The process for evaluating the sufficiency of a complaint has two steps. This
Court “begin[s] by identifying pleadings that, because they are no more than
conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of truth.” Id. Conclusory
statements and recitations of a claim’s elements are thus disregarded for purposes
of determining whether a plaintiff is entitled to survive a motion to dismiss. See
Randall v. Scott, 610 F.3d 701, 709 (11th Cir. 2010) (citing Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 687).
Next, this Court “assume[s] [the] veracity” of “well-pleaded factual allegations”
and “determine[s] whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief.”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679. A complaint’s factual matter need not be detailed, but it
“must . . . raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007).
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In reviewing the complaint, this Court “draw[s] on its judicial experience
and common sense.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679. Nonetheless, “[a] well-pleaded
complaint may proceed even if it strikes a savvy judge that actual proof of [the facts
alleged] is improbable.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556. Generally, this Court considers
only “the face of the complaint and attachments thereto” in order to determine
whether the plaintiff states a claim for relief. Starship Enters. of Atlanta, Inc. v.
Coweta Cnty., 708 F.3d 1243, 1252 n.13 (11th Cir. 2013). Generally, the complaint
should include “enough information regarding the material elements of a cause of
action to support recovery under some ‘viable legal theory.’” Am. Fed’n of Labor &
Cong. of Indus. Orgs. v. City of Miami, Fla., 637 F.3d 1178, 1186 (11th Cir. 2011)
(quoting Roe v. Aware Woman Ctr. for Choice, Inc., 253 F.3d 678, 683–84 (11th Cir.
2001)). Moreover, Courts are to “give liberal construction to the pleadings of pro se
litigants.” Albra v. Advan, Inc., 490 F.3d 826, 829 (11th Cir. 2007).
If Brasfield is bringing a claim for fraud, then his complaint fails to meet Rule
8’s pleading standards. The elements of fraud under § 6-5-100 of the Alabama
Code are (1) a “false representation [usually] concerning an existing material fact,”
(2) the defendant knew that the representation was false when made or the
defendant acted recklessly in making the representation, (3) the plaintiff was
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deceived by and relied on the representation, (4) the plaintiff’s reliance was
justified, and (5) the reliance proximately caused the plaintiff to be damaged. Patel
v. Hanna, 525 So. 2d 1359, 1360 (Ala. 1988).
Brasfield has perhaps alleged that Apple made a false representation by
sending him a check for $13 billion, thus representing that the check would be
honored when deposited at Brasfield’s bank, and that representation was false
because the check lacked the necessary routing number. However, Brasfield’s
complaint is bereft of any facts or allegations indicating that Brasfield was damaged
by Apple’s representation. Brasfield alleges that he was an Apple developer, but he
does not allege that he performed any work for Apple. While Brasfield alleges that
he received an “app” to submit online, he does not allege that he produced or
designed any website or phone applications on Apple’s behalf. Further, Brasfield
fails to allege that after receiving the check and believing that he would receive the
money he acted in any manner that resulted in damages. Thus, the complaint fails
to state a claim for fraud.
Similarly, if Brasfield is bringing a claim for fraudulent misrepresentation, his
complaint fails to sufficiently allege it. The elements of a fraudulent
misrepresentation claim are (1) the existence of a false representation, (2) the
representation concerned a material fact, (3) the plaintiff relied on the
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representation, and (4) the representation proximately caused the plaintiff to be
damaged. See Billy Barnes Enters., Inc. v. Williams, 982 So. 2d 494, 499 (Ala. 2007).
For the same reasons Brasfield’s complaint fails to state a claim for fraud because it
lacks allegations of damages, the complaint also fails to state a claim for fraudulent
Finally, Brasfield fails to state a claim for breach of contract. The elements of
a breach of contract claim are (1) the existence of a valid, binding contract, (2) the
plaintiff has performed under that contract, (3) the defendant has failed to perform,
and (4) that nonperformance caused the plaintiff to incur damages. See Reynolds
Metals Co. v. Hill, 825 So. 2d 100, 105 (Ala. 2002). Brasfield’s complaint fails to
allege facts establishing the first element of a breach of contract claim—the
existence of a valid, binding contract. “The basic elements of a contract are an offer
and an acceptance, consideration, and mutual assent to the essential terms of the
agreement.” Merchants Bank v. Head, 161 So. 3d 1151, 1155 (Ala. 2014). Here,
assuming that Apple sent Brasfield the “app” he received to submit online
contained information constituting an offer, and assuming that Brasfield submitted
the “app” in a manner constituting acceptance of the offer, the complaint lacks any
indication of consideration. As Alabama courts have stated,
A test of good consideration for a contract is whether the promisee at
the instance of the promisor has done, forborne or undertaken to do
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anything real, or whether he has suffered any detriment, or whether in
return for the promise he has done something he was not bound to do,
or has promised to do some act or to abstain from doing something.
Id. Brasfield’s complaint lacks facts showing that in return for the check for $13
billion he suffered any detriment, did something he was not bound to do, or
abstained from doing something he otherwise had a right to do. Without facts or
allegations showing the existence of consideration, Brasfield’s complaint fails to
state a claim for breach of contract. 3 Because Brasfield’s complaint fails to state a
claim for fraud, fraudulent misrepresentation, or breach of contract, it is due to be
Brasfield lists Google Play and Amazon as additional defendants in the
action, but he makes no allegations against them in the text of his complaint. The
complaint as against Google Play and Amazon is therefore due to be dismissed for
failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
For the reasons stated above, Apple’s motion to dismiss for failure to state a
claim upon which relief can be given (Doc. 2) is due to be granted and this case
Further, even if a valid contract existed, Brasfield’s complaint lacks allegations showing that
Brasfield performed under the contract’s terms. Without such allegations, the complaint fails to
state a claim for breach of contract.
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dismissed. A separate order consistent with this opinion will be entered
DONE and ORDERED on August 19, 2016.
L. Scott Coogler
United States District Judge
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